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North Korean Motorcycle Diaries

5 Motorcyclists Travel North Korea

For the past decade, Joanne and Gareth Morgan, two semiretired motorcyclists from New Zealand have been living the lifestyle of their dreams. They’ve probably been living the lifestyle of your dreams, too. They’ve been traveling the world on motorcyclists with their closest friends, and have ridden across all seven continents. Are you jealous? You will be. Some of their routes included Venice to Beijing, Florida to Alaska, and South Africa to the United Kingdom.

Years ago Joanne and Gareth decided to ride the Baekdudaegan, a mountain range that stretches the length of North and South Korea. Korea has been divided for almost 70 years since the end of the Second World War. Though relatively short compared to their previous travels, such a journey would require countless hours of careful navigation through the peculiarities of Korean politics and international relations.

Motorcyclists Ride Across North Korea

The Morgans and their friends were finally granted permission. This would be the first expedition through North and South Korea in nearly 70 years since the creation of the two countries. It was being done on a motorcycle, and one of the riders was a woman, no less surprising to the North Korean citizens, according to Joanne.

Joanne and Gareth faced situations and conditions particular to traveling through North Korea. Their GPS units were confiscated. Certain camera equipment which contained GPS technology were also confiscated. They also faced difficult roads, and challenging terrains including river crossings as they travelled through the mountainous Baekdudaegan range.

Despite the harshness of the terrain they faced a welcoming and the experience of traveling with a North Korean envoy with them, they were always treated with welcome. This video from Vice.com, a web site dedicated to “exploring uncomfortable truths and going to places we don’t belong” shares the experience of traveling through North and South Korea. It gives us a small insight into certain social aspects of the adventure. It’s not nearly about motorcycling as it a social commentary, but is fascinating nonetheless.

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