JUST A GIRL WHO RIDES MOTORCYCLES: @HANNA.C.JOHANSSON
By Paul Strubell of Dirt Orca’s – 8/20/18
For the eighty seventh installment in our ongoing interview series here at Dirt Orca’s, we are pleased to share the adventure of Hanna Johansson. Self described as a “girl who rides motorcycles and enjoys life.” You may know her as @hanna.c.johansson.
Hanna is a Swedish motorcycle enthusiast who completed a 10 week / 20 country tour back in 2017. I started to follow her adventure around that time through her Instagram account. Her ongoing travels have repaid the decision to follow her in spades.
(Editors note: Hanna has released a wonderful website since publication of this interview. You can view it here www.hannacjohansson.com)
I was very pleased when she recently connected with Dirt Orca’s alumni, Tim Burke. (Check out his interview here and you’ll also notice some of his photos are showcased below).
Hanna is an inspiring rider for a few reasons.
One, she is obviously a woman. Being a female traveler makes you no less capable of taking great adventure rides, but there does seem to be a prevailing thinking that a female rider might be less safe or less prepared for this kind of thing. Our experience here at Dirt Orca’s does not support that thinking. However, it is important to note that, true or not, female riders still have to overcome that bias and hit the road. We applaud Hanna’s ability to follow her passions regardless of “conventional wisdom”.
Second, I think it is also very cool that Hanna has chosen to ride bikes that she feels a connection with on these trips instead of what convention might suggest.
Finally, Hanna is an inspiration because she has traveled to amazing places and made her journey her own. We should all take note of this. This is where we all ultimately want to be. Your trip might look a bit different, but making it happen and having the experience is the ultimate goal.
Please check out our interview below.
You’ll see photo’s from @hanna.c.johansson, @timburkephoto, and @jettman_photography where noted.
What do you consider to be your place of work?
I quit my job as a Campaign Manager two years ago because I wanted to travel and be free. My dream was to be able to work and travel at the same time, so I worked hard for that and I was lucky enough to find the company XLmoto who lets me write copy, designing online banners and creating content for their social media remotely. I don’t earn as much as I used to – but I’m free to go wherever I want whenever I want!
Tell me about your bike. What do you call it?
My beloved Triumph Bonneville. My heart gets warm just by thinking of her. She’s from 2009 and her name is Bonnie.
When and how did you get it?
I found it online only 4 weeks before I left for my trip through Eastern Europe. I had already booked a ferry ticket from Stockholm to Estonia even if my garage was still empty. I needed a dead line and a date to work after. Luckily I found her right in time.
Is there just one?
No, bad boy Clyde came into my life earlier this spring. A Triumph Street Scrambler 2018 that Triumph Scandinavia let me ride during the summer. We went to North Cape together, so it feels a bit sad that I have to give him back next week. It’s a great bike.
What other vehicles did you consider and what made you ultimately pull the trigger on the one you bought?
My mom actually asked me when I booked the ticket “But Hanna, what if you don’t find a motorcycle until the ferry leaves?” and I answered “Well, then I’ll bring my bicycle. I’m going!”. I’ve always loved traveling, it doesn’t matter by what vehicle. But combining motorcycles and traveling is just the perfect match for me.
Have you made any upgrades or changes to it?
Yes, I changed Bonnie completely as a winter project. I wanted her to look more unique and upgraded her to a real tough girl. New look, new suspensions, rebuilt the airbox, new exhaust system etc.
What is your favorite part about it living off of your bike?
There’s something about that feeling I get when accelerating towards a new place somewhere. I could describe it as freedom, but it’s more than that. When it’s just me and my bike, the wind and 74HP. It’s like dreaming while being awake.
What is your least favorite part about it?
When you get woken up from that dream with a dead fuse or a battery that doesn’t want to cooperate.
What is the best place you have taken it?
The mountains in Macedonia. The air was so fresh, the view was spectacular and I wouldn’t had gone there without a bike. I have Bonnie to thank for that experience.
Favorite road you’ve driven?
So hard to answer… But I think I have to say road SH38 in Albania.
In one word, what describes your approach to life?
If you could give a person one piece of advice when thinking about living off of a bike, what would you tell them?
Follow your own gut feeling. Always listen to other people, but remember that it’s your life, your dreams and your decisions in the end. When it comes to what kind of bike you want to ride, where you want to ride and what to bring. Everything. Do it as YOU want to do it!
It takes a special kind of person to recognize that the journey, not the destination, is the point of life. Travelers know this. Was there a point in your life where you became conscious that you were one of those people?
My parents took me and my brother on a long road trip through Europe when we were kids. Then we went backpacking in South East Asia when I was 14 and my brother 12. It has always been a part of my life to travel, so I can’t really remember a moment when I got bitten by the travel bug. I guess I was infected by birth.
You have found a strong place in the community of adventure riders. What values do you think your home or family instilled in you, that you take on the road?
As I mentioned above, my parents showed me and my brother early that the world is more than the four walls around us. When they took us traveling we never stayed at the big hotels or ate at the fancy restaurants. We hung out with locals and took the bus or train. I think that made me want to travel differently as well.
I admire your outside the box approach to career and home. Do you see yourself as people who took a leap of faith to live in an unconventional way or do you think it kind of just happened?
I took a leap of faith, for sure. And I’m so happy I did. I haven’t regretted it once. It’s scary to change your life like that, and it takes a lot of work and sometimes sacrifices.
Where do you want to go next?
I just booked tickets to Australia. I have no idea what awaits me there, but just knowing that I’m going to see a new continent gives me butterflies in my stomach! I’ll be gone for 3 months. My career? It has to wait. 🙂
Great interview! I’m always impressed with women to just get out there and travel. With so many naysayers today putting fear in everyone, it takes courage to ‘take the leap’ and go get your own experiences and expand personal horizons. Well done!
And, that Scrambler is just gorgeous!