Christopher Many on Puck
I met Christopher and his partner, Laura, while they were embarking on an 18 month trip around Australia, not only the mainland but also taking in the beautiful isle of Tasmania. They had spent some time in Sydney celebrating, the new year with friends and family then heading south towards the Great Ocean Road linking Melbourne to Adelaide, which indeed is some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world.
But Laura and Christopher are no stranger to beauty and breathtaking scenery, they have in fact been doing this for years. I enjoyed their company, as they fussed over my Dalmatian (Jackson) and Chris spent some quality time with him, citing that the lifestyle didn’t allow for pets and they both love dogs.
Simon and Jackson in the Adelaide Hills. Me taking a photo of him taking a photo of Jackson with a tourist.
We did a few months of touring around Victoria and SA last year and Laura shared some special moments they have had on their travels. Some special moments for Laura included watching Sex and the City reruns on her phone, under a clear starlit sky next to the pyramids. I had been chatting with a lot of travellers over the course of a few weeks, garnishing tips and stories, and I was amazed at their campsite. They were very apt at finding a beautiful setting, complete with seating areas, a lovely tent and a comfortable bed, dining and entertainment, (thanks to the mobility of iPads and phones now). These 2 were impressive and comfortable in this lifestyle. Laura continued to chat away as she prepared a meal of sauce and spaghetti, myself amazed that this comfortable camp setup could be packed onto 2 bikes that they fondly call Puck and Pixie.
Christopher continued to chat and pet my Dalmatian when I piped up and asked for an interview. The energy these 2 bring to an evening was fascinating to say more, and my interest was awakened as I realised, these were seasoned travellers.
Christopher Many was born in New York, in 1970 to an American father and a German mother. His mother later returned to Germany, and he identifies with his German heritage.
In 1981, Chris started to collect maps of Algeria. At the tender age of 11 a dream is beginning to form, but due to wars, Algeria was shelved for some time.
Chris taking in the panorama of Tasmania, Australia, 2018
As the travelling dream takes hold of him, Chris starts to pester his parents, eventually they relent letting him to backpack over the summer, but no more than 6 weeks at a time due to his school commitments. He worked part-time out of school hours, enabling him to become financially independent and fund his trips. Thus establishing what would become a lifestyle for him later on in adulthood.
Still, in his mid-teens, a Kayaki is found on a rubbish heap, spurring on a decision to cross the English channel (as you do at 15 or 16). Not to be deterred Chris ventured off on his English channel crossing adventure, which he now admits was probably not overly safe but he did do it anyway.
Finally, at age 17 he decides to move out of the family home. Which was relatively normal in our age bracket I left home at 16 and began a career in media at 17. He had learnt financial independence, having been working since his early teens in part-time work and he is not a massive lover of debt but is a saver. Deciding early on he bought a camper at 17 and starts saving. He pointed out to me that he had solid goals at this point in his life, he obtained employment and saved over 50,000 euro over a few years. His job included some travel, with travel steadily becoming a strong theme in his life.
In 1997 a Yamaha XTZ 660 Tenere was purchased, and a first big international adventure was rising. At 26 years of age, the first trip took 4 years. From Germany to Singapore, then shipping the bike and getting himself to Perth, Australia. From Australia, New Zealand was just a step away.
Venturing to the Stans, including Afghanistan, these areas were safe then, taking that first trip to 4 years in total.
Flying the bike to Scotland, Chris finds himself in Europe where he then picks up a Land Rover complete with the crank starter for 700 pounds. He finds employment saving more money again, continues venturing around the place and then leaves Scotland in 2002 for an 8-year trip.
From 2005-2010 he starts writing, just using paper and pen to capture his thoughts and to journal. He also keeps diaries to account for travel and dates, the organised part of Chris pushes him forward to the next stage of his life, becoming a published author.
From the humble beginnings of paper and pen, he purchases a cheap laptop and some floppy disks. The journaling and diaries become a first book published in 2011.
During this period of his life, he meets his partner Laura, spends 4 years in Afric and discovers that the extended travel does bring about thoughts and contemplation, probably mixed with personal philosophy, as he continues his journalling.
Laughing and chatting around the campsite Laura and Chris are great for company. Telling of their stories while in the Middle East they tell stories fo people sharing all their meals in the East and while on their way (I think it was Turkey) to another city by ferry chatter about the golden arches and McDonald’s start to fill the boat. In Western society, McDonald’s is sometimes frowned upon, but in the East, it is a refuge. A walled safe place to eat, where the food is safe from nasty bugs and possible diseases, and they can enjoy a burger and meal to themselves without the social taboo of not sharing a meal. To them, McDonald’s is a welcome relief.
They shared their adventures of the day with us and chatted about Victor Harbour and Kangaroo Island (or K.I. to the locals). Laura is refreshing company, they look well rested enjoying the shade of a 150-year-old gum tree in South Australia. Making use of a picnic table at the campsite, Laura begins preparing the evening meal.
Chatting and cooing over Jackson (my Dalmatian) Laura and I get girly, talking about life events, highlights and lowlights about travel, spending time outdoors is always on my to do list and socialising in the cool of a beautiful park with the creek gurgling on by, near us, I enjoy Laura’s company. A fun life loving girl, we eventually turn to the important things like comfort, shoes and making a bed. The insider information is she has at least 3-4 pairs of shoes that she manages to squeeze unto a bike. A pair of boots she wears while biking, a pair for going out, sneakers and a pair of comfortable, presentable shoes for getting around in.
She makes a bed, complete with a mattress, linen and pillows, I do the same, finding that sleeping bags are not always that comfortable but great sometimes in the very cold.
The Bedroom by Laura
Laura’s ability to set up an instant home is impressive. There are some tricks, a chair for comfort and recreation, a little bit of internet or your favourite show downloaded on an iPad mini or similar, complete with a meal and a comfy bedroom your are off and living.
Tonight they are feasting on her Italian heritage of pasta, and she uses those collapsible tiny portable gas stoves when they are not using a campfire.
I asked Chris about his favourite destinations and food. For him, sharing his life with Laura makes the every day an adventure, not just a journey or travel. They are well suited, having the same goals in their life. To Chris he knows what he wants his life and enjoys sharing it with Laura, making life interesting. Bratkartoffeln, potatoes with bacon, is one of his favourite meals. It is a traditional meal often served at the festive time of the year, during winter. He chatted about his love of German food, being a real foodie he likes to try different things, but of course, his German heritage is yummy food that he could enjoy every day. We recommended visiting Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills, which is an old German village established in the 19th Century, along with that there are still 2 traditional pubs selling the German fare. He was eager to visit and try the food.
As much as 1997 was a memorable moment and the beginning of a journey, so to was 2010 a defining moment. A lot of changes can be seen in travel now as people like Many gain a platform both through his website and books, but also through interviews and social media.
After meeting Laura, they both returned to Germany in 2010, as Chris focused his attention on his writing. The second trip had been a defining trip as well as life-changing, with the pursuit of a new career and sharing life with a new partner. Spending time at home with family and friends in Germany allowed for some quiet time and reflection on his book. His first book, “Left Beyond the Horizon – A Land Rover Odyssey” became a bestseller in Germany and was then released in the English translation. His second book is available on Kindle through the website.
His 3rd book will begin in Australia, as he continues to write on the road.
As a published author and with an international online presence, visas have been easier to get. We are in a golden age of travel and people are curious about how others live.
Now in the present, he jokes that he now lives a time travelling life, whereby he is working and writing on the road, writing about adventures from yesterday for his current book while making new adventures for his next book to write. That is indeed the tightrope of the writer, perpetually living life while scribbling down notes and putting work together that comes into the mind.
Many makes good use of his Facebook page posting regularly of what he and Laura are up to or milestones, such as crossing the Equator. His Facebook page can be found here but don’t ask me how to pronounce it because my German is something like 5 words.
Laura and Christopher
Thanks to the magic of social media, it enables the adventurous couple to stay connected with people, they don’t always post in English, but the Facebook translator does a reasonable job of letting the reader know what they are generally saying.
I always enjoy the posts seeing their adventures, Chris’s graphs of how they spend money, their travel tips and a general catch up on where they are in the world now.
The second book Right Beyond the Horizon is available on his website (available in Kindle format too) as we all wait with anticipation for the third book of adventures and travel with Christopher Many.
His website can be found at Christopher Many
The latest Facebook posts do go to his website, or if you would like to follow him on Facebook, he and Laura can be found here. The Facebook page works well as a companion to the books as we can follow their adventures in real time. These 2 are the real deal out there exploring our fantastic world. I hope you enjoy their insight and stories as much as I have.