Ramona Schwarz

Ramona Schwarz
39, travel writer and photographer, Germany
– free spirit, addicted to two-wheeled adventures with open end –
Born and raised in East Germany my post-Wall-coming-down wanderlust took the form of riding a motorbike around the world.
After my linguistic studies and working in a nine-to-five job for three years, I’d realized that a “conventional life” wasn’t for me. I was curious to find out what existed beyond the traditional horizon. Consequently, I resigned, sold everything I owned and bought my first bike, a KTM 640 LC4 Adventure. For a start, I had to learn how to ride it. The day after I’d passed my test in November 2000, it snowed heavily and I put my KTM in the garage for hibernation. Four months later, with a total riding experience of 80 kilometers, I embarked on my self-imposed rookie mission – crossing the Sahara.
Yes, I was completely new to the sport, but I was determined. Family and friends shook their heads in disbelief declaring me crazy. “You’ll be back defeated three weeks from now at the latest!” Their prediction of worst-case scenarios reached just the opposite – I wanted to have the last laugh and proof them wrong!
It wasn’t until I faced the vastness of the desert at 125°F that I grasped the full meaning of my enterprise. The first year was hard. Africa was a culture shock. I lost count of the amount of times I crashed the bike. Again and again, I jumped back on and kept riding.
The notion that two panniers could hold all my worldly possessions fascinated me. The world became my home. I wrote travel tales for international bike magazines and took on the odd job, like running a pub in Cuzco, Peru, while the owner was holidaying. I learned to get by with very little. I slept under the stars, bathed in cold rivers, and found warmth & comfort on cold nights by the fire. Wonderful people crossed my path. The enduro always being a door-opener, a starting point of conversation: “Where from and where to?”
160,000 kilometers, 38 countries and six years later I met my future husband Herbert. For a film project that involved riding a prototype BMW G 650 Xchallenge off-road from Canada to Mexico, he was looking for a woman who “likes to suffer”. He asked me two questions: “Do you know how to make a fire?” and “Do you snore?”
“Yes” and “No” were my answers and life took its course. Long story short – CAN2MEX was the end of my RTW trip and the beginning of something new.
Meanwhile, I’m based in the Black Forest as a mother of two young boys. The process of being “recivilized” continues. Jobwise, I’m involved in DVD projects, photoshootings, marketing and journalism. Despite raising our kids, Herbert and I manage to get away to some remote places for one month every year. On these so-called “film & photo trips”, we also test the latest Touratech accessories under extreme conditions.
Having kids hasn’t slowed us down. Not at all in fact. As soon as they were big enough, Herbert had a sidecar built on his GS 1200. That way the whole family can travel together. He’s riding the outfit, while I’m still on my bike. To date, we have explored over 20 countries on two – and three wheels. Traveling, I believe, is a beautiful gift and the best education you can provide for your kids … and for yourself …

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