THAT WONDERFUL WHEELING!

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Published on March 22, 2015 with No Comments

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Jaime Dempsey, host of History Channel’s Ride N’ Seek, bikes through Brunei with just enough time to speak to Muhibah.

What’s your absolute favourite part of doing Ride N’ Seek?
My absolute favourite part is actually riding a motorcycle in a foreign country on unfamiliar roads. Nothing beats the freedom you feel while riding and it’s exciting finding new roads to travel while making new friends at each stop along the way.

What kinds of preparation do you do prior to arriving at a new place?
This time around I knew a little more about what to expect (in Borneo), and I first started by mentally preparing for the heat and the long rides because it can be pretty stressful to have all the safety gear on and sitting on a hot engine while filming, but in order to get the job done right I need to keep my cool and remember how lucky I am to be doing this job!

I’ve physically prepared myself by working out and doing lots of cardio to keep my energy level up. I’ve also taken several hour-long motorcycle rides to help prepare me for being on the bike for long stretches. Lastly, I hosted a big dinner so I could see all of my friends one last time before my big journey and made sure to call my parents since I didn’t know how often I would have service on the road.

You mentioned finding the experience intimidating when you first started. What’s changed now for you?
I have learned that every time I travel to a new country, especially where I don’t speak the language and the culture is completely different, I gain a little more confidence in myself. I think it makes me a stronger and more independent person to overcome the fear of being different in a new place. I get a lot of stares everywhere I go and it can be uncomfortable at first, but when I interact with people I learn that they are just as curious about me as I am about them, and I end up making a lot of new friends!

No doubt you’re travelling with a crew, but are there still precautions you take as a female traveller on the road?
Yes, I am lucky enough to have the crew as support. However, whenever I do find myself on unfamiliar roads without any riding companions I make sure to map out my routes on paper ahead of time in case I go out of GPS or phone service area, and I avoid riding at night. Also, I always keep an eye on my fuel gauge. You don’t ever want to find yourself out of petrol in an unfamiliar territory!

As an American travelling in a predominantly Muslim country, tell us how that has impacted or affected your journey. What did friends and family have to say about you travelling in Malaysia and Brunei?
My friends and family always want me to stay safe no matter where I am travelling, and they expressed no different concerns about my travelling in Malaysia and Brunei. After travelling in West Malaysia for Season 1, I was happy to report back home that my worries about being an American and not being well received were of no consequence because every person I met was so warm and welcoming.

The same can be said of East Malaysia and Brunei. The silat master I met with in Brunei invited me into his home, introduced me to his whole family and offered me cakes and tea. It is such a lovely tradition to have and it is a custom that I have come to really appreciate as a traveller in foreign land.

What was your favourite experience in Brunei? And why?
My favourite experience was meeting up with the Independent MC. They are a motorcycle club whose members ride some of the most fantastic bikes I have seen anywhere. The guys looked a little intimidating at first, but when we started talking about bikes and comparing stories of different rides we have taken, I was excited to find how much we had in common. They were even nice enough to take me on a ride and show me around Bandar Seri Begawan. I felt like a VIP riding amongst some of the coolest bikes I have ever seen, and turning heads everywhere we rode.

Are you a souvenir person? What is the most you’ve bought/taken of the place you visited to remember it?
I don’t usually have much room to pack souvenirs, but when I do buy them I like them to be some form of art whether it be a painting, carving, or fabric straight from the local artist who made them. As someone who went to art school I have an appreciation for those who have a passion for the arts and strive to survive by selling their work. Each piece contains a part of them, and I like to bring that back home not just to remember the place I have been, but also the person I met who made it.

What are the absolute essentials you bring with you on the road? And how do you pack light? We are, after all, women travellers.
Apart from safety gear for riding I try to keep it minimal, but as a woman it’s definitely going to be a little bit more than what the man in my life would bring! It also depends on where I am travelling. As for Asia these are my absolute essentials: chapstick, hair brush, sunscreen, insect repellent, swimsuit, some shades and room in my back pack to carry any treasures I find along the way, then I’m good to go!

Describe what you knew of Brunei before arriving here. And, in three words what are your views now?
I didn’t know too much about Brunei before I arrived, only that it is a culture of highly revered traditional values, its population is relatively small, and its geography consists of about 70 percent rainforest. Now that I have visited it, I can sum up my views in these three words: Friendly, Peaceful, and Unique. I met the most welcoming people there, had such a pleasant time, and have found that no other place around it that it compares to!

Catch Jaime’s Ride N’ Seek Borneo on History Channel (on Kristal astro Channel 555 for Brunei) beginning 18 August, 2014 at 9pm.

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