from Stonehenge, England to Arctic Henge, Iceland
a photographic adventure on a Kawasaki TR250 motorcycle
On September 11 th 2017, photographer and writer Gabrielle Motola left East London on her Kawasaki TR250 motorcycle. The first stop was Stonehenge in Amesbury, England. She then headed to the Arctic Henge in North East Iceland. The route took her via Europe, the Faroe Islands, and then onto her home in Reykjavik, Iceland via the Northern coast. The bike, made for riding around dirt tracks was admittedly on the small side for such a journey, however, perfect for Iceland. They both arrived in one piece on October 9th.
Along the journey, she met up with motorcycle crews in and out of garages, intellectuals, radiologists, members of the Danish bomb squad, flat track racers, movers, shakers, and farmers, as she chased the last of the summer light across the vast open landscapes of Europe and Scandinavia.
On more than one occasion she thought she was going to meet her end or severely injure herself. She got stranded in the Faroes due to high winds, caught strep throat, nearly ran out of gas in the wilds of North East Iceland, got very seasick and explored what people in Europe and Scandinavia were feeling in the wake of this past year's elections, while Germany prepared for theirs.
Unlike the vast leaps air travel affords, riding provided much-needed processing time on a human scale, at a human pace. The vulnerability one feels on a motorcycle brings an awareness of the changes in the land, the cultures and the mindsets of the people.
About the Rider
About the Bike
The motorcycle is a Kawasaki TR250. Being small, she is not well suited to highways, so I took the scenic route. There was the occasional mad-dash across one to catch a ferry with the poor bike choked on full throttle. However, once arriving in Iceland, the bike hit her stride. She is a flat tracker and was made for riding on dirt.
Gabrielle studied psychology, motion pictures and photography at the University of Miami and Spéos Institute of Photography. She is a multi-national, multi-linguist, photographer, author, speaker, and Olympus Mentor. Sh is currently based in Iceland where many people do many things well, and no one bats an eyelash. We are capable of more than we think, it is possibly first a matter of thinking it can be so.
About Arctic Henge
While Stonehenge remains a mystery, the history of Arctic Henge is well documented. Before the crash of the great herring adventure in 1967, Raufarhöfn, the northernmost town in Iceland, was Iceland's most active shipping port. Following the crash, the town fell into bankruptcy and disrepair after many people abandoned it.
Thanks to the vision of a passionate resident who was in fact not born there, but rather moved into the town as a child, construction of Arctic Henge began in 2005. Along with the hopes of attracting tourists and other visitors to the town, Arctic Henge will function as a place of ceremony for locals. It is non denomination specific, all people are welcome, though it has been inspired by pagan design.
Built high on a hill, Arctic Henge offers a clear 360 degree view of the land. I'm told the Northern Lights are more visible there than anywhere else in Iceland, and that although winters there are the darkest, on a clear day, the town is lit by starlight.
Many of us make journeys in life, some for pleasure, others because we have little choice. No matter the circumstance, travel has the ability and the power to transform us and our lives. Mark Twain wrote that “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.”
Riding on a motorbike is incredibly thrilling for many reasons, but what makes it most so, is that while on one, you are immersed in your surroundings, thus, incredibly vulnerable. So much of modern life is constructed to keep us out of our environments, disconnected from them or each other, or “safe”. This journey is an antidote to that. The more we meet each other, the more we find we are indeed, all connected.