While you might think that kids these days are doing nothing but staring at their iPhones and posting dance moves on social media, you’ll be happy to know that at least one of them is riding her motorcycle around the world. Bridget McCutchen, at age 22, is taking a bold bid at being the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe on a motorcycle.
Bridget grew up riding on the back of her brothers’ bikes. She got her first motorcycle when she was 19 and, according to CNN Travel, her older brother “pointed out that she was still young enough to beat the record for the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe on a motorcycle.”
And off she went. After a year of planning and preparations for her trip, that is.
To become the world record holder, Bridget has to meet strict requirements, including crossing the equator at least once, traveling a distance that exceeds 24,900 miles, using the same motorcycle for the entire journey, and never spending more than two weeks in one location.
Bridget set off on her Kawasaki Versys X 300 in August from her home in Wisconsin and one of her early stops was at Overland Expo Mountain West. “It was amazing to be surrounded by other motorcyclists and sharing my experiences with people that not only understood them, but had actually had the same experiences,” Bridget told me via text message from Oaxaca. “I was able to learn quite a bit from their travels, the least of which being that… a blow up pillow is worth the space— amen to that! But most importantly it connected me with people who are now my friends.”
When I asked her what has been challenging for her thus far, “the language barrier,” Bridget texted, “I speak very little Spanish but am able to understand a decent amount. It’s frustrating not being able to communicate the way I want to.”
After leaving Mexico, Bridget will continue through Central and South America before shipping her motorcycle to Europe. As if the world record standards and language barriers aren’t challenging enough, once she reaches Asia, she has a limited number of options for continuing east.
McCutchen told CNN that she had originally planned to enter Russia, which may not be possible due to the war in Ukraine. “The prospect of traveling through China or Iran is perhaps even less feasible due to the border restrictions in place in the former, and political unrest in the latter” CNN states.
Like all adventures, along with the challenges, there are countless silver linings. “The people are so friendly!” Bridget told me. “Just the other day, the road was closed because of a protest. I rolled up and almost instantly I was surrounded by excited people asking me questions. Even though I didn’t really understand, we were still able to have a light conversation with plenty of laughter. This is a recurring theme, with people being patient with my lack of Spanish and even teaching me some on the spot.”
“Adventure is not out of your reach,” reads a heading on Bridget’s website— she aspires to represent a new generation of riders. “Young women who enjoy motorcycling are a growing force; they are people who want to be more present, enveloped in the world,” she says.