When embarking on an adventure, it is always wise to have a companion. For content creator, Jess Stone, her beloved dog Moxie is the perfect road companion to travel the world with.
"Every car that rides up beside us, they [the people inside] take out their phones, almost causing accidents because they're trying to get the shot," she explains. "It's hilarious."
10 months into an epic world-wide trip across 90 countries, they will travel through North, Central, and South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Stone's husband completes the trio by riding on his own bike alongside Jess. "I am always in the front," explains Stone. "I want to go through the obstacles first."
The couple met in Liberia, where her husband Greg taught her to ride a motorcycle. Just eight months into marriage, they set off on an eight-month motorcycle trip from North to South America. Just a few years later they would move to Guatemala and Moxie would come into their lives. "She picked me 100%," Stone says, recounting the moment she first laid eyes on the canine while viewing a litter of German shepherd puppies in one of the neighboring towns. "She was there at my heels just waiting for me to love her."
They both wanted to include Moxie on their travels, but did not like sidecars because of the effect it has on the dynamics of the bike. Instead, they designed the K9 Moto Cockpit, a motorcycle dog carrier they manufacture in Guatemala, along with a range of outdoor dog gear, through their company Ruffly.
"Everybody always asks how long it takes to teach your dog how to ride," says Stone. "Honestly, it took Moxie the weekend. It took me a lot longer to feel comfortable having that much weight on the back, because I'd never rode with a passenger."
Jess decided that it was time to hit the open road for another long trip, but wanted it to have meaning. She decided to partner with the Girl Up non-profit, which is a women-centered leadership development initiative. "Obviously I wanted to travel the world," says Stone, who aims to raise $100,000 for Girl Up's global empowerment projects. "But I also wanted to show people that you can do it with a big dog."
"It's like you get to experience the adventure twice," she explains. "You experience it for yourself. And then you experience it from her perspective, because she's right behind me. I see her [Moxie] in my mirror all the time. Her head is right up against my side. Sometimes she even rests her big snout on my shoulder with her chin up there. It makes me feel so happy that she's really experiencing everything. It's always new sights, sounds and smells that she's looking at and experiencing."
Traveling with a dog does come with its challenges. For instance, they must partake in wild-camping so that Moxie can roam freely. "You have to be the type of person who enjoys natural places and outdoors," adds Stone. "Because they are the places where we can bring her. If you're looking to be in the city and go to all these fancy restaurants, traveling with a dog does make it a bit more challenging."
Originally they were going to traverse the Americas, but because of rising fuel and flying costs, they decided to ride from Guatemala to the upper reaches of North America and back down again. Their journey is currently being documented via their Instagram and YouTube pages.
Jess spends countless hours planning their route to ensure a safe driving experience. "Obviously, I've ridden off road many times, but I never really felt comfortable," she says. "And I wanted to feel really good about it because I have my Moxie on the back."
Currently in Los Angeles, Stone is preparing for the next stage of the trip, which will involve taking a ferry over to Baja, Mexico, and then riding down to Guatemala and then on to Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama. From Panama, they plan to fly to Colombia, where they'll ride to the "tip" of Argentina, and then fly over to South Africa.
Once in South Africa, they will travel up the Eastern Coast to Egypt and Greece, before heading through many European Countries. From there, they will ride through Turkey into Asia, India, and Malaysia. The couple anticipates another two and a half years of travel before their trip is complete.
In the meantime, they will continue on their travels bringing joy to all of the people who see Moxie riding around the globe. "People just get out of their cars," she adds. "And the first thing everyone says is, 'Oh my God, she's wearing goggles. It brings a smile to everyone's face. And that's what I love. She just makes everybody have a good day."
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