Who is Vagabondesss?

This bad-ass rider shares her experience of her solo trip across the country—on a Kawasaki Ninja—her favourite stops in Ontario.

Roadtrips. They’re what motorcycles were made for and what we live for. The word alone conjures up memories of adventure and excitement. What’s more thrilling than riding through places you’ve never been before or making friends with people you meet on the road? And wouldn’t it be a dream come true if you could do that for a living? I know someone who does.

Safia, a.k.a. Vagabondesss, at the peak of Fairview mountain, Banff National Park, Alberta. Photo: Vagabondesss

I met Safia, a.k.a. Vagabondesss, at the L&L bike meet in Toronto back in 2015. I first noticed her bright pink hair, then her computer that had “Vagabondesss Motorcycle Travel Blog” stickers on it. I liked her instantly. At the time, she had just been on the road for six months travelling across the US, and we chatted about our respective experiences of travelling by motorcycle. She has more, and better, stories.

Fast forward to this past summer when she packed her whole life up onto her motorcycle and hit the road, this time for good. She travelled across Canada and is currently staying in British Columbia (this was written in December 2017 - she is in Thailand as of March 2018). Along the way, she’s camped beside a waterfall, slept at the edge of a cliff, and my favourite: found a deer skull with a full set of antlers and mounted it on the front of her bike! Even if I tried, I couldn’t be as badass as her. 

Her steed, Cardinal, is a 2012 Kawasaki Ninja 250R, is proof you don't need a fancy or expensive ADV bike to live on the road. 

And by the way, she’s not doing this on a BMW 1200GS with aluminum panniers and expensive brand-name Gore-Tex gear—she’s doing this on a 2012 Kawasaki Ninja 250R, which she named “Cardinal,” with very modest gear  (which includes mermaid leggings), on a shoestring budget.

The ride along Lake Superior

Riding from Toronto to Vancouver on the Trans-Canada Highway, about half the distance she rode was spent in Ontario (2,000 kilometres out of 4,400). Here’s what seasoned motorcycle traveller Vagabondesss says about Ontario:

“I wish I had known Ontario was so wonderful … There is so much space, so if you’re a big fan of spending time alone in nature, this is perfect.”

In her words, her favourite sites across Ontario are:

  • Pukaskwa National Park: Magical! I loved sitting on top of epic rapids on the suspension bridge contemplating my life, the rocky hikes, the beach trail, and watching the sunset over the beach amongst driftwood and rocks.

Sunsets from Pukaskwa National Park are magical! Photo: Wobblycat

One cannot help but be inspired when chatting with Safia. Her honesty about the harshness and worries of living on the road contrasts with her excitement and hope. It’s a perfect paradox. For example, one thing she’s said is: “living on the road is uncomfortable and unpredictable but it’s the only time I feel like I am ALIVE!”

Amazing camping spot in Wawa, Ontario

For Vagabondesss, living on the road is about personal growth and experiencing the world and people in something of a pure way. No baggage (literally and figuratively), no being weighed down for 40 hours a week by “the man” and less worry about bills. Which means more living in the moment and more freedom to do and go where she wants. And a constantly changing environment provides different perspectives and an appreciation of those.

It’s not all sunshine and smiles though: living on the road is hard work. There was the time she was sick and spent a week and a half convalescing in her tent at a roadside rest area. Then there was the time her wallet was stolen (and subsequently returned) which is an inconvenience for most of us, but disastrous for someone with no local address or support.

The absolutely gorgeous Ouimet Canyon. Photo: Wobblycat

The journey she’s on is not just a roadtrip—it’s a journey of self-discovery, personal growth, and independence. Her favourite part of her lifestyle is not a particular place or the road itself, but rather the sense of accomplishment. Having been a self-described “city girl,” with the conveniences of urban life, and now knowing she can be self-reliant, capable, and able to get through any situation wherever she is on her own. Is it all worth it? “Feeling free is my favorite feeling in the whole world,” she says.

Vagabondesss in riding mode. Photo: Vagabondesss

“Life on the road is more intense, and a lot more interesting” Vagabondesss says, and I myself have no doubt about it. A final quote, that I can only hope will inspire you to get out there and experience life on two wheels: “This lifestyle is exhausting, stressful, and very uncomfortable—but it is LIFE, for me. It is my euphoria, and now that I’ve experienced this, nothing else is good enough.”

Solitude is camping solo at the top of a cliff with a view like this! Horsethief Canyon, Alberta. Photo: Vagabondesss

Follow Vagabondesss (3 s’s) on her blog , Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

About Wobblycat

James Bai, aka Wobblycat, knows riding. Hailing from the Greater Toronto Area, he traded in his office desk for handlebars in 2016 and is now location-independent, travelling on his motorcycle across North America, from Mexico to the Arctic Ocean and the roads (and off-roads) in between.

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