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.
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…