A Little More About Us…

Norman Magowan


I hail from the beautiful city of Belfast, Northern Ireland, where I worked in the aerospace industry for 10 years before moving to Stevenage in England in 1989 to take up gainful employment in the UK Space industry.  In 2003 I decided to quit my role as Quality Manager on a leading space programme to take up the challenge of the Pan-American bike trip.

Since returning from the Americas in 2006, I have written two books, Leprechauns in Latin America and Leprechauns in Alaska, which relate the story of that Pan-American trip.  This was followed by a return to work as Quality Manager for the highly successful MIRI Instrument programme, one of the four instruments that will fly on the James Webb Space Telescope (successor to Hubble).  With MIRI delivered to NASA, I then worked on a number of ESA programmes, including Aeolus and EarthCARE, before deciding to return to the road for this latest two-wheeled adventure.

MagsMaggie Magowan

I am a native of Holywood, County Down and a qualified Pilates and Yoga instructor.  I have been passionate about travel from an early age and we have been fortunate that Norman’s job provided ample opportunity to live and work abroad.

We met when we were 17 and there were two major influences on our early lives together:

The first was a hefty dose of inspiration from the book ’Jupiter’s Travels’ by Ted Simon, read by just about everyone who ever travelled anywhere on a motorcycle.

The second major influence came in 1981 when we set off, together on a little single cylinder Kawasaki Z200, to undertake a 3,000 mile round trip from Belfast to the South of France. It was our first adventure and left us well and truly bitten by the travel bug. Since then motorcycles have taken us around most of Europe, across North Africa, coast to coast across the USA and of course on that epic Pan-American journey spanning some 15-months and 35,500 miles on the road…



19 thoughts on “A Little More About Us…

  1. Hi guys,
    Found you via a link from Sam Manicom on Facebook and look forward to following your trip. I would be particularly interested to hear about your plans for Iran, as I started to plan my own trip there a couple of months ago, but abandoned it when I was advised that independent travellers from the UK had to be accompanied by an official guide! (Thanks Messrs. Bush and Blair!)….How are you planning to manage this?


    • Hi John,

      Thanks for contacting us. As you will soon see (when I finish & publish the blog) – we have now passed through Iran. As UK passport holders, we bit the bullet and had to pay for a guide for our two weeks there. There was no other way to keep going east without a diversion north that would take us to out of the way places and lead us into China where we’d need another guide anyway. Our guide was absolutely fantastic and it made for a whole new travel experience; he really brought the country to life for us. But things are changing. On 23rd August the respective embassies re-opened in Tehran and London so maybe next year the guide requirement will disappear. No one in Iran asked where our guide was both at the borders and when we were in country. We reckon you could easily turn up at the border without a guide to get in with no hassle; the only problem is getting an Iranian referee for your visa (you need this on the application), a service the tour company provided for us. We are currently in Dubai (reached by ferry from bandar Abbas in Iran) sorting out onward moves to India.


      Norman & Maggie


  2. hi Norman and Maggie this is Bhanu Peri who met you today in Road Safety Awareness programme , i am working with Dr.reddys as Operations Head and also a President for Lions Club doing social activites . I was excited to knwo about your world tour and wish you good luck , keep in touch and lets be friends .


    • Thanks for the contact Bhanu! Great day today and we were only too glad to be part of your programme if only for today! Certainly keep in touch and you can follow us on the website or on Facebook!


  3. Hi MAGGIE AND NORMAN,I am Radhika ,your colleague Rad;s niece.You guys have met me back in kerala.I wanted to contact you guys through email but didn’t find one.I am not so good with words.But i am still sorry that i didn’t know that you guys were working for a better lives of cancer patients, and i just wanted to say thankyou for working for them.I have always supported cancer related patients and have wanted to be an oncologist in the future.So thankyou again and sorry for the late realization.Best of luck and have a safe journey.


    • Hi Radhika,

      Really lovely to hear from you and thanks for the comment! Sadly we have lost a lot of close family to cancer in the last decade or so. It is a horrible disease, especially in it’s terminal forms. We wanted to fight back and not just be victims so we write and tell stories about our travels and life on the road. Any money we can make from this we donate to Cancer Research UK. Our travels also have the benefit of inspiring others to actually go out to chase their dreams and lead fulfilling lives. Maggie and I both wish you every success in your chosen career. It is such a worthwhile profession 🙂 Please stay in touch as we think often of the great (even if it was short) time we spent with you all in Kerala! A truly memorable occasion…


  4. Hi Norman & Maggie!
    A quick message from the crazy Spanish cyclists to say hi and pass our details on to you. You have a great website! We’ll have to spend quite some time going through it to absorb only a fraction of the info… We are currently in Bagan, suffering the heat, but enjoying the place all the same. I hope you are doing fine…, difficult task, since you are surely missing us sooo much!
    Have fun and hope to see you on the road.
    Hugo & Bego


    • Great to hear from you guys and we were thinking of you as we rode to Bagan. What a great spot! We moved on to Mandalay and are settling in with our tour group. Today we ride to Kalaw. Sadly we could spend a lot of time here in Myanmar but have only the 2 weeks – it is such a breath of fresh air after crazy India (although the fresh air is hot!). Ride safe and have fun! Norman & Maggie


  5. Hey Cregan! Great to hear from you… We are currently in Singapore, headed back to Malaysia in a couple of weeks. We’re sitting out monsoon season before heading to Indonesia around Feb / March on our way to Oz / NZ then (if there is any dosh left) back through the Americas to complete round the world. Been a hoot – Hope all is well with you!


  6. Yes all good just had enough of the miserable weather at home so moved over here in April and love it. Great for motorcycling. CLARK working in New York and JOANNA in London so not much sense being in Belfast. Enjoy the rest of the trip.


  7. Hi Norm & Mags Just looking you up to see what’s happening and no surprise still on the road. I admire you both and long may your travel continue which you obviously love. Don’t worry the Space Industry has survived without you but not as well as it could have done if you were there at the wheel of course – All the best to you both and good luck.

    John Gannon


    • Hi John,

      Really big thanks for getting in touch and lovely to hear from you! Yes we have just started our third year on the road a few days back… a lot of miles and a lot of smiles. We have reached East Timor, as far south and east as we can go in Asia. Next stop Australia!!! Say hi to everyone from us and we do miss you all!



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