She looked at the slithering road before her trying to gain perspective of the expanse they just drove on by. She didn’t remove her helmet as it was just a momentary stop and they have a few kilometres to cover before they head back down from the mountain and then drive again back to Muscat.
Jabal Shams looked peaceful even in midnoon and its numerous peaks, from inside the helmet of Noraly Schoenmaker or popularly known as @Itchybootstravel to her followers, looked mesmerising.
She has travelled more than 11,000 kilometres with her bike, starting her adventure in India and then passing through Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia. Noraly shared that she heard so many good stories about Oman that she decided to ship her motorbike Bashanti, a Royal Enfield Himalayan BS4, to the country to explore its roads and sceneries before heading back to Europe.
“I am really passionate about motorbikes, photography, food and crazy adventures,” she shared.
Noraly has an MSc degree in Geochemistry, has worked for a time and earned money from gold mining, spend all her money by travelling all over the world for two years, worked for an international contractor for five years trying to save money again but realised that the call of adventure was so strong she then again quit her job, sold her stuff and hit the road again.
“This time though, I am travelling by motorbike! In 2015 I got my motorbike license and bought my very first motorbike — a second-hand Ducati Monster 796 from 2010… I was hooked,” she shared.
“There is just nothing in this world as thrilling as riding one! But travelling the world permanently meant I had to sell my Ducati. In return, I bought a 2018 brand-new Royal Enfield Himalayan. A completely different game, but I am loving it,” she blogged.
Her trip to Oman, however, didn’t start as smooth as she’d like it to be.
“Unfortunately, the shipping of my motorcycle got delayed by two weeks so I was stuck in Muscat with nothing to do,” she said.
“A perfect time to improve my off-road riding skills, I took lessons from Peter Middleton, co-founder and owner of Oryx Adventures (www.oryxadventures.com) in Muscat,” she added.
It was Peter who was instrumental of her discovery of the beautiful expanse of Oman’s Grand Canyon and its off-road adventure.
“We went on different rides to Wadi Al Arbeieen, Jebel Shams and the Salmah Plateau. I was stunned by how incredibly beautiful Oman was. It exceeded all my expectations,” she said.
When her beloved Bashanti finally arrived, Noraly went on her intended solo adventure documenting everything she discovered on the road for her adoring followers.
On her way to Masirah Island, she was flagged down by a boy in a pick up truck. While he was having trouble communicating with her in English, she realised that he was only trying to say hello.
“Along the way, I met incredible Omanis who helped me,” she shared on an email interview.
“They fed me, gave me directions when I was lost and there were so many of them who waved and smiled. It made me feel so welcome in Oman,” she said.
She discovered the unique beauty of the isolated island of Masirah and the nearby areas, found out that Omani men has high regard for women, was kindly upgraded to a better room by a hotel owner who felt bad that her bike delivery got delayed, and seeing some of the most unique terrains that allowed her to fully enjoy her time with Bashanti.
“Oman is an absolute dream for motorcyclists who want to go off-road and ride through amazing scenery. It is through my stay in Oman that I learned and practised new techniques and skills so I would be ready to ride in such conditions by myself in the future,” she shared.
“When my own motorbike finally arrived, I rode it for another 2000 kilometres around Oman. Starting in Muscat, I rode to Jalan Bani taking small side excursions to Wadi Dayqah Dam and all around Ras Al Hadd. I continued to Masirah Island where I got the chance to explore some of the islands. After that, I made a detour to Filim and Al Khaluf and went North again via Sinaw to Sohar,” she narrated.
“Because I lost so much time waiting for my bike to arrive, I didn’t have enough time to ride all the way to Salalah unfortunately. But it’s a good reason to come back to Oman another time and explore the beauties of South Oman,” she said.
“The desert of Oman doesn’t stop to amaze me. Such a hostile environment, but then suddenly you see camels or goats and a sole tree in the middle of all that sand. Oman is actually much richer in wildlife than I imagined,” she said on Facebook.
“Leopards, hyena’s, gazelles and oryx and many others call these lands home, as well as thousands and thousands of turtles who come to nest on the beaches. [Although] out of all these animals I only saw one gazelle… but the fact they survive in these harsh conditions is amazing!” she added
“I heard that Oman was an amazing country and incredibly beautiful to ride through. But I did not expect it to be THIS good!” she said.
Noraly’s goal is to take her almost 50k followers on her social media accounts “to all remote corners of the world” through her videos. She was constantly hoping that they’d enjoy her Oman adventure as much as she enjoyed navigating its rough yet exciting roads which led to many discovers in person.
To follow more of her adventures, follow her on Instagram and Youtube through @itchyboots.