This couple are driving around the globe with three rescue canines

Angelena Iglesia


Their shared love of journey was one of many important matters of dialog throughout their first date again in 2004.

However apart from a “couple of cruises,” Janell and Stu Clarke, each from Australia, had barely traveled past their house nation practically a decade later.

As soon as Janell bought her motorcycle license in 2009, after some mild persuasion from longtime rider Stu, they started taking bike journeys all through Australia with their canine Skyla, and had been eager to broaden their horizons.

“I’d type of tried to go backpacking once I was 18, however I used to be far too younger,” says Stu, who beforehand labored as an engineer within the Australian navy. “It was all the time one thing that I actually needed to do. I used to be ready till my obligation with the navy had ended.”

This couple are driving around the globe with three rescue canines

When he left the navy in 2014, the couple, who’ve been married since 2009, determined that, not solely was it lastly time to get on the market and see the world, they might see all of it “in a single go.”

In accordance with Janell and Stu, one of many important causes they selected to take an prolonged journey was because of the price of flights to and from Australia.

“We figured as quickly as you get out of Australia, it’s finest to simply be gone for so long as you possibly can afford to be,” explains Stu. “As a result of it’s so costly to depart Australia.”

Whereas they initially supposed to journey for six months, this was prolonged to 18 months, after which two years whereas they had been planning.

There was one small downside. Neither may bear the considered leaving Skyla behind for that lengthy.

When the couple seemed into the potential of taking her with them, they quickly realized that it “wasn’t as unimaginable as others had led us to consider” and started making preparations for a world tour with their pooch in tow.

“It [the planning] was throughout Skyla,” explains Stu. “We had the import permits accomplished for her to enter each nation that we supposed to go to. We needed to verify she was utterly coated.”

However as their epic bike journey drew nearer, the Clarkes had been left devastated when their beloved pet was recognized with most cancers.

Whereas this was undoubtedly a serious setback, Skyla obtained chemotherapy and underwent a bone marrow transplant and was ultimately deemed wholesome sufficient to go on the journey.

“Whereas the chances had been in opposition to her, we had each cause to consider she may go on to stay a full, joyful, wholesome life,” says Janell, a civil engineer.

In February 2014, they flew from Australia to Dallas, Texas, the place they might start their journey.

The couple bought two motorbikes, Janell went for a 2006 BMW F650GS, whereas Stu opted for a 2012 G650GS, whereas in Texas.

“Bikes are costly in Australia,” explains Janell. “After which you might have the price of the transport. So it simply made sense to purchase the bikes once we had been beginning our journey.”

They set off on their model new bikes in March, with Skyla touring alongside them comfortably in a bike canine service they’d designed themselves to go well with her wants.

“She was our primary concern,” provides Janell. “Our important focus earlier than we left was ensuring that she was going to be comfy.”

The Clarke's beloved dog Skyla, seen with Stu in Belize back in 2014, passed away a few months into their trip.

As they rode in direction of Mexico, Janell and Stu tried to place the stress of Skyla’s sickness behind them and deal with the mammoth journey forward.

Nevertheless, a short time after they crossed the border into Mexico, they realized that Skyla’s most cancers had returned, and little may very well be completed this time.

“Then, our solely possibility was chemotherapy medication and spending as a lot time along with her and giving her the highest quality of life we may,” explains Janell.

They continued on throughout Mexico into Central America, driving via Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, the place they crossed the border over to Panama.

As soon as they reached Panama, they took a ferry to South America to keep away from having to place Skyla in a crate for a flight. As they entered the continent, Skyla’s situation worsened, and the pair ready themselves for the inevitable.

“We had been surrounded by individuals who had been making an attempt their finest to assist us and look after Skyla,” says Janell. “However we simply actually felt a great distance from house at that time. It was a troublesome time.”

When Skyla handed away in Venezuela on September 10, 2014, the couple had been so devastated that they thought of packing up and returning to Australia.

“I simply needed to go house,” admits Janell. “It simply felt prefer it was throughout. I used to be actually, actually in a foul place.”

They determined to take a while out, and went on a climbing journey up the table-top mountains in Venezuela to “get away from every little thing” and provides themselves a while to replicate.

“All we needed to do was carry our luggage and hike and never assume an excessive amount of,” provides Janell. “It was a extremely good approach to grieve.”

As soon as the hike was over, they took a couple of extra weeks off to course of issues, earlier than in the end deciding to maintain going.

The pair, who have been on the road for nearly ten years, picked up disabled dog Weetie in Venezuela in 2014.

Nevertheless, their perspective had modified utterly by then, and Janell and Stu, who’ve been chronicling their travels on their web site, The Pack Observe, vowed to method the remainder of the journey in a really completely different approach.

“After we misplaced Skyla, we determined that we’d decelerate,” says Stu. “We might consider our relationship – as a result of that [Skyla’s cancer] had been actually onerous on our relationship – and we wouldn’t have an finish date for the journey.”

Shortly earlier than they left Venezuela, the couple returned to go to the vet who had handled Skyla throughout her last days and requested if they may meet Weeti, a blended breed, whose blood had been given to their pet throughout a transfusion.

“After we stated, ‘Good day’ to her, the vet stated, ‘Would you prefer to undertake her? And we stated, ‘Sure,’” Janell says of their resolution to tackle the disabled canine. “We didn’t put any thought into that, which was a bit loopy.”

From Venezuela, they continued on via South America, “driving all the way in which to the underside.” Whereas passing via Colombia in August 2015, they picked up their second rescue canine, Shadow.

“She stepped out onto the highway in entrance of me,” says Stu. “I bought round her, however the automobile behind me went straight excessive of her.”

When he went again to verify on her, Stu realized that the canine was nonetheless alive, and requested round to attempt to discover out if she had an proprietor.

After studying that she was apparently a part of a gaggle of strays, Stu and Janell put the injured canine with Weeti of their canine service, and rode on to Bogota, the place they took her to see a vet.

Though they’d initially deliberate to attempt to re-home Shadow, a miniature pinscher, within the Colombian capital, the pair had been knowledgeable that this was unlikely as a result of quantity of strays there, and she or he “wouldn’t stand a lot of an opportunity” in the event that they left her behind.

“She’s so tiny,” says Janell. “So we had been similar to, ‘Nicely, we’re already touring with one canine. So as to add one tiny little canine wouldn’t be too unhealthy.”

Once they reached Ecuador a couple of months later, they returned to the US, treating themselves to a luxurious cruise to the UK on board Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 (QM2,) the one ship on the earth that permits pets to cruise with their house owners.

The Clarkes' second rescue dog, Shadow, joined their group in 2015 and they found their third, Azra, in Turkey in 2021.

After a seven-day journey to UK metropolis Southampton, they bought again on their bikes, rode to mainland Europe and ultimately sailed over to Morocco, earlier than making their approach to West Africa, and driving right down to the underside of South Africa.

“Africa was very difficult for us,” admits Stu. “We actually did wrestle as we had been doing it. However trying again, it’s one in all our highlights.”

The couple then rode to Egypt, the place they shipped their bikes again to the UK and made their approach to acquire them.

However after spending a couple of months touring Europe in 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and Stu and Janell had been compelled to remain in a single place.

“We had been caught in Portugal till June or July,” says Stu. “It wasn’t terrible in any respect. However it actually did sluggish us down.”

As soon as restrictions started to carry, they had been capable of get on the transfer once more, and spent months “bouncing round Europe,” avoiding large cities as a lot as they may as a result of infectious illness, which was nonetheless rising at fast charges in numerous international locations all through the world.

After one other journey again to the UK when “issues bought worse with Covid,” they headed to Japanese Europe.

The Clarkes picked up their third rescue canine, Azra, additionally a blended breed, when she ran out within the highway in entrance of them whereas they had been driving via Turkey in December 2021.

“I walked to the village along with her to see if anybody acknowledged her, or if there was a mum round,” Janell explains.

Once they had been as soon as once more unable to seek out an proprietor, the couple requested an area farmer if he would take the pet, however he was unwilling.

Quite than go away the canine “by the aspect of the highway,” they opted to trip to the following metropolis and take her to a rescue heart.

Nevertheless, they are saying they had been instructed the pet had a extremely contagious virus, and the vet treating her was solely prepared to proceed in the event that they adopted her.

Now, after setting off from Australia with one canine, Janell and Stu are getting ready to complete their journey virtually 10 years later with three totally completely different canines.

“They’re all black, and so they’re all ladies,” notes Janell, earlier than admitting that taking over a pet has been difficult.

The pair are looking forward to bringing their

“We’ve by no means had a pet,” she provides. “They alter a lot as they develop up. And so they’re so needy and energetic.”

They needed to stay in Turkey for round three months with a purpose to get the entire mandatory paperwork to journey onwards with Azra.

“Having canines slows us down,” explains Janell. “You need to take into consideration their welfare. We are able to push ourselves, but it surely’s not honest to push them. So it’s important to decelerate a bit.”

Apart from having to maneuver at a barely slower tempo, touring with three canines could cause points in terms of place to remain, and there are numerous actions they’ve been unable to do, corresponding to go to museums.

“You’re fascinated with them on a regular basis,” says Stu. “You’re fascinated with them going to the bathroom, stopping for water.

“Whether or not the lodging is pet pleasant, and if the rooms that we’re staying in are comfy for them. That’s additionally there.”

The couple stress that they by no means really feel like they’re lacking out on something by touring with their “ladies.”

In reality, having Weeti, Shadow and Azra alongside for the trip has introduced them an enormous sense of consolation, significantly now they’ve been on the highway for thus lengthy.

“When simply the 2 of us exit, and we go away them in a lodge room. We come again and open the door, and it’s similar to coming house,” says Stu. “Three wagging tails ready to see us.”

The couple launched a small enterprise promoting their redesigned canine bike service, the Pillion Pooch, geared toward small to medium sized canines, a couple of years in the past.

Now nearing the top of their practically decade lengthy journey, Janell and Stu, who had been in South East Asia on the time of writing, have traveled 240,000 kilometers (150,000 miles) and rode via 108 international locations.

The couple are presently on the point of ship their bikes to the US, the place they’ll spend a couple of months getting the documentation collectively and going via the mandatory channels that may enable them to re-enter Australia in early 2024 with their canines.

Sadly, the foundations round bringing pets into Australia have modified since they’ve been away, so Weeti, Shadow and Azra might want to spend 30 days in quarantine, slightly than 10 days, which was the requirement earlier than March.

They intentionally selected to fly from the US in order that they and their pets would be capable to journey on to Australia.

Though Janell and Stu, who hope to write down a sequence of books about their travels sooner or later, say they haven’t any particular plans past that time, there’s one factor they’re decided to do as soon as they’re again Down Underneath.

“We need to tour Australia, as a result of we’ve by no means completed that on motorbikes,” says Janell. “I feel it’d be a pleasant approach to end the journey.

“To do a tour round our personal nation with the women on the bikes after which retire. Retire the bikes and retire the women.”

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