MS Originals

S’porean biker tours India to empower women after 44,000km solo trip to Czech Republic

S’porean biker Juvena Huang shares lessons from riding around the world

In May 2015, Juvena Huang made a solo road trip from Singapore to Europe on her trusty Vespa scooter.

Now 36 years old, the freelance content creator looks back on her headline-making tour as one that changed her for the better and taught her valuable lessons.

This includes the ability to let go and re-focus on memories and human interaction instead of money.

Image courtesy of Juvena Huang.

These days, she has been busy exploring Southeast Asia and Asia, as well as giving motivational talks and taking on marketing consultancy projects where possible.

Most recently, she has embarked on a motorcycle tour in India with an all-female crew, empowering women to find freedom through wheels.

Juvena Huang rode 44,000km from Singapore to the Czech Republic

In her own words, “a lot of things” happened during her 27-month solo journey from Singapore to the Czech Republic, where her red-and-black Vespa now remains in a friend’s garage.

She clocked a total of 44,000km, spanning 25 countries on land, before flying back in August 2017.

Image courtesy of Juvena Huang.

Initially, the trip was supposed to last around seven to nine months. It then snowballed into a journey that spanned more than two years.

“The people are the ones who kept me going. Honestly speaking, the trip has helped me regain faith in humanity,” she recounted.

“When you’re stationary in Singapore, you’re always facing horrible news – because the media tends to sensationalise bad news. So, I’ve always had this mindset that the world and its people are bad. Those two years not only helped me to survive, but it helped rebuild my trust in the world.”

 

Along the way, Juvena also received assistance from total strangers in times of need.

Strangers in Iran helped troubleshoot problems with her scooter

She looked back on a memorable incident in Iran, where she had recurring issues with her motorcycle.

Due to sanctions in the country, she had no access to her bank account and could only rely on the cash she brought in.

To make matters worse, her pouch, which held a chunk of her money in different currencies amounting to a few hundred Singapore dollars, mysteriously vanished in Tehran.

“I was in a dire situation because I just lost my money and my scooter still needed repairs. Thankfully, I had a hidden stash of cash for emergencies I could tap into,” said Juvena.

“I borrowed some tools from a local mechanic shop, and the people there introduced me to a few other enthusiasts who helped troubleshoot my scooter.”

At first, Juvena wanted to pay them for their help, but they turned down the money and told her to make payment after she completed her trip.

Image courtesy of Juvena Huang.

“I have a debt of gratitude there, and I want to go back one day to repay their kindness,” she said.

However, she was still short on cash and confessed that she had entertained thoughts of plucking mulberries from local trees and selling them by the roadside to earn extra.

She laughed and said: “That was my backup plan, in the event I really run out of cash.”

Gained new perspectives from friends she made along the way

As she was grappling with the loss of a majority of her cash, a “well-travelled” Iranian who had previously been to Singapore gave her a whole new perspective on her situation.

“He told me that, luckily, what I lost was money, which I can always earn back. If I had lost photographs from my journey or something sentimental, then it would have been a real loss,” recounted Juvena.

“That conversation with him taught me how to let go and detach myself from things that are really not that important. You can regain the money that you lost. But for things such as time, friendships and trust, once that’s gone, you can’t get it back.”

In another Iranian town, Juvena was hosted by a man whose family ran a confectionery shop.

“I did not tell him that I had lost my money. Just as I was about to leave, he gave me a lot of food, and about S$50 worth of Iranian Rial – he gave me money to continue my trip!” she exclaimed.

Image courtesy of Juvena Huang.

She gushed as her eyes started glistening with tears: “I told him: ‘You have no idea what I’ve been through, but this money is going to help me so much.’”

In that moment, I felt that 人间有爱 (rén jiān yǒu ài) – There’s love in the world.

Tour of Southeast Asia in 2022 was riddled with issues

Upon the reopening of borders after the Covid-19 pandemic, Juvena decided to set off on another journey, this time around Southeast Asia.

Source: The Wandering Wasp on Facebook

This adventure started in December 2022, when she rode a different Vespa from Singapore to Malaysia, Thailand, and Cambodia. However, she faced several hiccups along the way.

After an oil change at an authorised Vespa workshop in Phnom Penh, the oil had leaked out of the vehicle’s engine and destroyed it.

The scooter — in need of new parts to rebuild the engine — remained in Cambodia for roughly two months, while Juvena returned to Singapore for Chinese New Year.

When she went back to Cambodia, her Vespa broke down yet again after just 500km.

Juvena called it quits and rode to Singapore after towing the scooter to Bangkok where it underwent another two months of repairs.

“This experience really taught me that some things are better to let go of. If you keep holding on, it’ll give you more headaches than it’s worth,” she said.

Juvena Huang tours India in late 2023 with all-female crew

Looking back, Juvena now sees the problem-laden trip around Southeast Asia not as a failure, but as a “redirection”.

After posting about what happened online, Juvena was offered the chance to go on an all-female motorcycle tour around India.

The organisers, who run a motorcycle training school for women in Nepal, wanted to tap on Juvena’s content creation and digital marketing expertise to document their first tour in India.

On this trip, Juvena and other female bikers advocate for the liberation of women through mobility.

Source: The Wandering Wasp on Facebook

“Mobility and the ability to travel longer distances is a lifeline. You need to be able to move around to find work and education. This is especially important in rural areas where women are very dependent on male relatives to get them where they need to be,” elaborated Juvena.

“If we can teach them how to ride, that will open up a lot of opportunities for them. So, this purpose resonates with me, and I decided to go ahead with it!”

At the same time, a friend from India had asked if she wanted to catch-up in Mumbai, and she also received a separate invitation to give a talk in Goa in December.

“All the signs were pointing to India, so I figured I should just buy a motorcycle there, too.”

In October 2023, Juvena made her way to India, and stayed there until she had to come back to Singapore in January 2024, just in time for Chinese New Year.

Wishes to empower women in rural areas & help them find freedom through riding motorcycles

While she was in India, she had to learn to adapt to travelling in a group, as she is used to riding solo.

It’s a very different experience when you have company, so, with this, I am also doing something new that is out of my comfort zone.

Juvena experienced a nine-day festival honouring womanhood in the Telangana state and visited motorcycle schools to show the students that women can be free on wheels, too.

Source: The Wandering Wasp on Facebook

“For a lot of the ladies there, they felt that riding a motorcycle gives them a pair of legs. To be able to ride gives them a sense of joy and independence,” she said.

She shared that it was very inspiring for her to witness people of varying ages picking up the skill.

“I really applaud them – some of them are like ‘ah mas’ and they are riding bikes! I admire their courage to try something new for themselves.”

Juvena will be resuming her all-female motorcycle tour in India after Chinese New Year, and is looking forward to exploring more places in the Southern part of the country.

Road trip to Czech Republic taught her to take the challenges of life in stride

Juvena looks back on her maiden trip to Czech Republic with evident fondness.

Since then, she has also been imparting her unique perspective to others through talks and engagements locally and in countries such as the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and India.

“Before the trip, I was someone who was very uncertain, and I was always worrying about what could go wrong. People see me and think that I’m so brave to have done this, but they don’t know about the jitters I felt when I first set off,” she reflected.

After going through so many hurdles over the two years, everytime I face a new obstacle, I can now take them in stride as I know that I am stronger than I think I am and that I will be able to handle anything that comes my way.

When asked if she had any parting words of advice for those who wish to live a life of adventure like her, Juvena concluded with a quote by the poet Rumi:

“When setting out on a journey, do not seek advice from those who have never left home.”

Also read: Man Drives 11,000km From S’pore To China & Back, Shares Travel Tips For Road Trip

Know an interesting personality you’d like us to feature? Get in touch with us via email at news@mustsharenews.com.

Featured image retrieved from The Wandering Wasp on Facebook and courtesy of Juvena Huang.

Valerie Yuam

This journalist is working really hard and couldn't write a description, but if they aren't, what have you been reading?

Recent Posts

2 passengers dead after severe turbulence strikes S’pore-bound SIA plane from London

Around 30 other passengers were injured.

21 May 2024, 7:39 pm

Vape products worth over S$5 Mil seized in Woodlands, 2 Thai men arrested

This is the second-largest e-vaporizer seizure, after a record haul in March worth over S$6…

21 May 2024, 6:39 pm

S’pore delivery rider called out for racist remarks against customers who made him wait while delivering Wingstop order

The customers allegedly made him wait 10 minutes for the order.

21 May 2024, 6:34 pm

CEE 2024 has electronics from S$9.90, stand a chance to win a S$9K OSIM massage chair

Tech discounts of up to 70%? Yes, please.

21 May 2024, 6:00 pm

Sarawak man allegedly cuts off cat’s head after mother asks him to find a job

He also threatened to kill his elderly mother.

21 May 2024, 5:44 pm

165 litres of cough syrup made in Geylang condo bathroom seized during drug raid

The cough syrup was made in the condo's bathroom.

21 May 2024, 4:35 pm