a photographic adventure on a Kawasaki TR250 motorcycle
from Stonehenge, England to Arctic Henge, Iceland
On September 11th, I set out on a Kawasaki TR250 from Stonehenge in Amesbury, England to Arctic Henge in Raufarhöfn, Iceland. It is admittedly, on the small side for such a journey, but perfect for once I get to Iceland. After the Henge, I'll continue onto my home in Reykjavík.
The backbone of this journey is built on full circles. In addition to the two henges, the trip will provide the space to work on a new photographic project, while exploring my former and current homes, from a totally fresh vantage point. I plan to arrive in Reykjavik on the second anniversary of moving to Iceland to write my first book An Equal Difference.
Along the route I´ll be meeting up with motorcycle crews in and out of garages, intellectuals, movers and shakers, as I chase the last of the summer light across the vast open landscapes of Europe and Scandinavia. Through conversations, I am exploring what people in Europe and Scandinavia are feeling in the wake of this past year's elections, Brexit, and the refugee crises, and what we believe our future holds.
England, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, The Faroe Islands, and Iceland
I am riding from my former home in East London where I lived from 2000 until 2015, to Stonehenge in Amesbury, finishing the trip at my current home in West Reykjavík via the Arctic Henge in Raufarhöfn in North East Iceland. The journey will involve one Euro tunnel, three ferries, and 1600km of roads.
About the Bike
The motorcycle is a Kawasaki TR250. Being small, she is not well suited to highways, so I will be forced to take the scenic route. She has however been modified by Paul, who is an engineer by trade.
When Paul doesn’t have his hands deep in motor oil or riding or racing his machines, he might be found supervising technical modifications at the stadium at the Olympic Park.
I studied psychology, motion pictures and photography at the University of Miami and Spéos Institute of Photography. I am a dual national (USA/UK), multi-linguist, photographer, author, visiting lecturer, publisher, Olympus Mentor, and colourist. I am 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. You can see more of my work on www.gabriellemotola.com
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.”
These themes run throughout the pages of my first book, An Equal Difference. It is a thought provoking compendium of images and stories from my time in Iceland speaking to people about, gender equality, the state of the world, their visions for a better self, and for a better society written, published in August 2016.
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 exactly that. Because the more we meet each other, the more we find we are indeed, all connected.
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An Equal Difference is a thought provoking compendium of images and stories from time spent in Iceland speaking to people about the state of the world, their visions for a better self, and for a better society. In was published last August (2016) and includes 165 photographs, 20,000 words. Order one of the first edition hardbacks or a full colour eBook.