A Motorcycle and a Honeymoon That Spanned Two Continents

After their marriage in 1934, Stanislaw and Halina Bujakowski decided fulfill a lifelong dream and travel by motorcycle from their home in Druskininkai, Poland to Shanghai, China for their honeymoon. They already owned a BSA motorcycle which was equipped with a sidecar, so all they needed to do was pack a few things and they would be ready to go. Their route took them through Europe, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Persia, India, Burma, Indo-China and finally China. Throughout the trip, Halina kept a journal as well as sending travel logs back to the Vilnius Courier (newspaper) in Poland. It took the couple one year and seven months to complete the journey and they faced numerous hardships along the way.

Starting out in Europe, the beginning of their journey was easy going, but when they reached Asia they found out that they were ill-prepared and ill-equipped for the hardships that awaited them there.

Their motorcycle was rated at 10 horsepower, which they found to be sorely lacking when they reached the desert and even more so when they reached the jungles. They spent many hours pushing the motorcycle out of deep sand and mud holes, but even worse were the river crossings. Several times the sidecar rig and motorcycle had to be partially disassembled so they could carry them across piece by piece.

Spare parts were impossible to source once they got into the wilds of Asia, which meant waiting weeks and even months for parts to arrive from Europe.  At one point, they waited 6 months in the jungle for a part to arrive during which time they adopted a pet bear.

The couple suffered just as much as the motorcycle, having health issues ranging from mild starvation and malnutrition to malaria and other serious diseases.

But, they never gave up their dream of reaching Shanghai and after almost two years on the road they rolled into the city.  Upon returning home, Halina planned to compile all her journals and photos into a book about their epic journey.  Unfortunately WWII got in the way of those plans and she never had the chance to complete the book.

70 years later, long after both Halina and Stanislaw had passed away, some of their family members found an old suitcase  in the attic of Halina and Stanislaw's home.  It was filled with all the photos and writings from the trip, so the family set to work putting together the book that Halina always wanted to write.  Written in Polish, the title translates to "The Boy, The Bike and I."



Wojtek said...

The title proper translation: My Boyfriend, The Bike and I.