Aussie couple travel the world with their furry family

The Pack Track: Australian couple, Stu and Janell Clarke are travelling the world on a motorbike, with their four-legged friends. They recently made a stop in Newcastle before heading to the Victoria Falls.

Known as ‘The Pack Track’, Australian couple Stu and Janell Clarke, together with their two furry friends, are touring the world on a motorbike.

Travelling in itself could be as daunting as a visit to the dentist, but nothing stopped this determined couple from doing what they love.

“I developed an interest in travelling when my older sister started her backpacking tour; since then I have always wanted to travel,” said Stu.

Before travelling, the Clarkes actually had day jobs. Janell is a civil engineer by trade, and Stu worked as an electrical engineer in the Australian Navy.

For three and a half years now, Stu and Janell have boldly decided to see the world with their pets, Negrita and Shadow.

Conducting thorough research and interviewing other bikers and travellers, the Clarkes flew to Texas in the United States in 2013, where they purchased the wheels to transport them around the world.

“We bought a BMW 650 GS, as others attested to its reliability and durability,” explained Stu.

The Clarkes then made their way to Mexico, were they enjoyed interesting dishes and experienced a new culture.

With both Stu and Janell being vegetarian, their diet was yet another challenge on the journey; scouting markets which were inexpensive and sold fresh food, was their sustenance.

“We have eaten street food, and sometimes we have to make animal noises to inquire whether the food contains meat,” laughed Janell. “Every place we have visited has surprised us, but by farSouth Africa is the most hospitable.”

Elaborating on trips to Ecuador, Venezuela and most of the Latin American countries, the Clarkes unanimously agree the biggest challenge they faced was a language barrier.

“Latin American countries mostly speak Spanish as their native tongue, and when we arrived in Africa, the most common language was French.”

Although their communication was hindered, this did not deter the adventure junkies.

“Each country is diverse and we have met intriguing people from all walks of life,” reminisced Janell. “We have met extremely rich people yet they were humble, and people who were poverty stricken but still shared what little they had.”

Before travelling to Africa, the Clarkes stopped in the United Kingdom, where they worked for six to seven months to make enough money to travel again.

Crossing borders and entering new countries definitely had its pros and cons, and with animals it was an added challenge.

However, the Clarkes said their pet’s paperwork was up to date and their Visas and passports were legitimate.

“When we left Australia, our family and friends were concerned we would have to be quarantined in some countries and struggle to enter, but it has not been a problem at all,” explained Stu.

For the love and comfort of the dogs, the Clarkes said they tried to incorporate their furry family into all of the activities they were involved in.

So far, they have travelled almost 140 000 kilometres, and Janell claimed the only memories they can hold dear are photographs.

The Clarkes compromise little, even though they travel light.

“We always have dog food and water for our pets. We also have camping gear and a deluxe two-person chair, which many campers do not own,” said Janell.

Among the necessities are multi-purpose tools, clothes, pet carriers and pet clothes.

“We believe the media around the world exaggerate the extent of conditions in certain countries. It’s not as bad as people think,” Janell emphasised.

After spending eight weeks in South Africa, the Clarkes will be on the move again, this time heading to the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

To get in touch with the travellers, visit their website at, or like their Facebook page: PackTrack.

Tersia Gopi

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