A German tattoo artist is in Lennox Head today as part of an around the world adventure on his motorcycle.
Heiko Gantenberg left Germany in May last year and since ridden his motorbike 59,000 kilometres in 17 months.
During that time he has visited 16 countries, but estimates he will ride the same again but in 13 to 14 months to complete his journey.
Along the way Mr Gantenberg has been researching indigenous tattooing in places such as Turkey, Iran and India.
‘The journey is a kind of tribute to my profession as I’m researching the foundations of tattooing,’ he said.
‘I’ve been amazed with the ancient forms of tattooing in places like India, where I spent five months, finding lots of tribes and people.’
During his Lennox Head visit, Mr Gatenberg has been spending time with friends from the Rock of Ages tattoo parlour.
“I’m not raising funds or anything. I spent many years saving up for this and have some support from sponsors with clothing and motorcycle gear,’ he said.
He said the main challenge was overcoming pre-conceived notions about various parts of the world.
‘I had never travelled Asia and I was worried about all sorts of things that could happen and I was positively surprised how wonderful everyone was,’ he said.
His only hiccup was becoming ill during a visit to Myanmar (Burma), and he spent time in a hospital in Thailand recovering.
Other challenges have been ensuring that his motorbike, a 21-year-old Honda Africa Twin, would pass through the stringent quarantine regulations of the countries he was passing through.
During his visit to Australia, Mr Gantenberg said he was impressed with the ‘gigantic loneliness’ of the country.
‘It was a very nice contrast to Asia,’ he said.
The next leg of his around the world journey will take him to New Zealand, and then to North America.
‘I still have about half way to go to complete the 120,000 kilometre journey,’ he said.
His impression of the world so far is one of amazement.
‘It’s amazing just what a peaceful place it is. Not like the media portray it,’ he said.
‘I truly believe there is hope for the world.’