The good, the bad and the ugly. The ups and downs. The 2020.

Good evening all!

I hope you’re doing well in spite of all what’s going on around us. It’s January 9, 2021 which means the year of 2020 is behind us. Yeeeei for that.. Oh well, not really sure if I’m happy about it or just neutral, as not much has changed. I, like many, dreamed about a magical turnover as soon as my watch hits that 12:00 hour mark, after the last second in 2020. Dreams do come true though, and we still have about 355 days or so; but who’s counting…

Covid is still much present.

Fun fact – looking at it now (at least the situation in our beautiful Croatia), covid is like a really bad relationship story. At the beginning we were all skeptical, but thought sth like ‘’oh well, it’ll work’’. In a couple of months, came that first big fight and soon it all went downhill. No nights out, no bars, no parties. It was almost the end. Then, back in June- something clicked again, borders opened, new bases were touched and relationship was on fire, could be a summer crush. Then, came the end of summer and by September it was all gone. We haven’t been back on track since, though there’s a new gal in town, called the Vaxy. We’re all hoping it will work out…

Kidding aside, Covid is something none of us expected or even imagined that could happen. We’ve seen something similar in the movies, but now movies became a reality. For us, being a motorcycle tour agency, it all shut down through March, as covid spread around Europe rapidly. Tours got cancelled and we ended up with zero activity post March. It was so zero-ely (is that an existing adjective or I just made up a new one?) quiet, that our bank called to get their Credit Card ‘machine’ back. Like, we didn’t generate enough traffic. No kiddin’? In fact, we did- but not in bank’s favor- we had all the refunds to process! I guess they weren’t too happy about it. But hey- I’m always worried about banks and their financial stability (!), so I ran over there and returned the POS terminal hoping the banks survive. Now, I’m POSless. Another new word. Yi-ha!


What did we do in 2020?

WhatsApp Image 2021-01-09 at 18.51.41

I must mention the only tour we managed to conduct in 2020- it was ‘Thailand and Laos experience’ back in February, just before the outbreak. That was…. that was something outstanding that deserves another BLOG post… and I’ll take care of it soon, I promise. Something completely different from Europe by all means, and very much worthwhile.

Europe-wise, well… out of planned touring in Spain, Portugal, Croatia, Balkans, Alps, Ireland and Greece…. I alone did about 20 paved miles locally around Zagreb. Meaning we didn’t do squat. Or diddly-squat. Unfortunately, travel restrictions and closed borders limited our plans here, so my only logical move was- to get a new lightweight dirt bike so I can explore the close-by hill climbs and mountains with some local riders. Does that sound reasonable? I managed to get the green light @ my wife’s (it’s all for the good of the business) so I seek no further acknowledge here. Yi-ha.


What else has happened?

As many of you may have read online, we had a really bad earthquake in Zagreb back in March, with epicenter just 7km (5mi) away from city center. Magnitude was 5.5; many parts of the city were damaged/destroyed and many parts collapsed, and we’re still recovering from it. And as you may be reading nowadays, Croatia is all over news for the new/current series of earthquakes, with the strongest magnitude 6.4, about 35 miles/50km southeast of Zagreb (December 29, 2020) close to Petrinja city. A lot of damage again, and as we’re all witnessing surreal effort of Croatian citizens helping each other in the most affected areas (food, groceries, construction material, help in rebuilding roofs, chimneys etc., etc.), we’re hoping the shakes are coming to an end as winter is kicking in. What a year.

Thank you all your messages and thinking about us after seeing the news- luckily all is well with me and my family. Or better to say, my family and me.



Novosel family

Talking about family, I almost forgot (yikes). Some may know already; our third daughter was born in March. No need to congratulate me, it’s all my wife’s effort anyway- I’m just a side thing there…  Again, luckily all is well and we’re a happy bunch of four girls versus one guy now. 4:1. Do guys turn everything into a competition? I doubt so.

Imagine how much (lost) time will pass in between me saying ‘I’m ready to go’, and the moment all 4 girls (my wife Ana included) actually get out of the house? Yikes man… Which brings me to another topic. House.



WhatsApp Image 2021-01-09 at 18.30.03

Finally, as the year has been super silent business-wise, my girls and me (sounds like sth Hugh H. would say, huh…) had time to start the project of building our house, with a dedicated MotoTrip garage (e.g. men-cave, mind me if I’ll be missing some men there) to move us a bit out of Zagreb. Well, that turned out to be erm….. extremely time taking and super engaging, which is one of the reasons why I was so silent past months. It’s like I’ve jumped from one superfast running train (motorcycle touring) to another (construction), and I somehow managed to lose all the positives. Meaning- not much riding… almost any riding at all, no fun nights out, no darts, no you guys- amazing people I met and I got used to over past years. But, a lot of new knowledge on using the spade tool and shovel. And concrete works, reinforcing, bricks… and then spade tool again. And again. Yi-ha (again)! Can’t express how much I’m looking forward to running tours! Hey- I just noticed I still had one positive left… I did not, at any point, bail on Rakija!


d ˈiː n ō

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Another news very much worth mentioning. Whoever rode with us in last couple of years, met Dino, our van driver (and much more)- well he and his wife are expecting their first child which is great news! Due date is August 2021, and we’re all hoping that’s far enough from 2020! I guess birth rate is one positive side of being in lockdown. One of Dino’s Christmas cards said ‘Merry Christmas from me and my finally pregnant wife’; and I replied appropriately ‘Merry Christmas from me and my finally non-pregnant wife’. We’re super happy for them although this probably means I’ll be looking for a ‘new Dino’ soon. How soon, time/covid will tell. Nevermind, three times hip hip hooray for Dino! Even better, ‘hip-hop’ hooray for Dino. And now that brings me to another topic. 2021.


(When) Can we ride in 2021?

MotoTrip - Island of Pag-15

Is anyone thinking about riding abroad? At the moment, situation is not looking very good although vaccine aka Vaxy is around the corner. There are now many discussions about taking (or getting?) the vaccine, but I’ll skip those as I do with politics, religion and generally opposing my wife. Some things just don’t make sense. However, talks whether BMWs had better brakes in 2019 or 2020, now that’s something crucial and almost of a life importance! Again, kidding aside, question of (when) can we ride in 2021 is a good one. We do have some tours booked, but all of them are provisional meaning no deposits were put down as we can’t tell if it will be possible (and safe) to travel soon. Certain countries in South America opened their borders already (pardon me if I’m wrong), but Europe is still in partial lock down. Every country has its own regulations. Sounds like doing the AlpsTastic tour that covers five countries, won’t be an easy task. Same for ‘No Borders‘ Balkans tour. I understand many nationalities are not allowed to travel overseas either, or could have issues when getting back- though being quarantined for a couple of weeks sounds pretty normal in this ‘new normal’ world.  So we’ll have to wait and see what happens during next few months as more and more people get the vaccine (I suppose). I sure am hoping certain travel will be possible later in 2021- will keep you updated!


(Finally): The verdict

So, much has happened in 2020. Could’ve been better, but could’ve been worse too. Most of us gained some extra time for our families, for ourselves and I’m sure we all had some stuff postponed, sitting around for years… Let’s see what 2021 brings us, let’s get back on track and when time comes (and it will), bikes here will be ready. Croatia, Greece, Portugal, Thailand or… well, you name it- we’ll ride. Stay well, healthy and positive! I’ll do just that!


@all my dear past riders, guests and friends- I’m missing you guys! Looking forward to touring together again soon! Keep in touch

Big hug,



WhatsApp Image 2020-11-01 at 15.27.07

6 Responses to The good, the bad and the ugly. The ups and downs. The 2020.

  1. Gene Harrison says:

    Thank you for keeping in touch. Congratulations to both You (and your wife) on the new arrival and to Dino and his wife. You will need the man cave when the girls grow up. Our son also has three daughters. It was good to hear from you, and I would love to do another tour sometime, but probably not this year, and I don’t think Pat would be ready to passenger for another one. Keep in touch.

    • Hi Gene, good to hear from you! Happy to read you’re doing well. Will ask you about how’s your son doing in a few years; I’ll need some advice :) Keep me updated, would love to ride with you again.

  2. Judy Micallef says:

    Thanks so much Darko for you news! Not only was it informative but a cheery read. Congratulations to you & Ana on the birth of your third girl (!), and best wishes to Dino and his wife! Little tikes everywhere!
    We have done many bike trips OS but by far yours was the best. Your attention to detail, and that of Dino, enhanced our experience every minute of every day and we are looking forward to riding with you again when the borders allow it. Can’t wait to fire up the black BM in your man cave and take it for a spin through those Sardinian corners! Hugs to you all and stay well – Jude and Jimbo Australia

  3. Jude and Jimbo says:

    hey Darko!! We are hoping to be able to do a ride with you in 2022!! We are thinking your Sardinia and Corsica trip, hopefully between 16 July – 16 September. Kerry and Neil are thinking they will join us and there’s a possibility of another couple. Would that work for you?? Have you costed it?? Kind regards to you and all the faily, and also Dino and his family xxxx

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