When I really let my mind roam, I can see myself roaring through Europe, across Central Asia and into the Far East on a motorcycle, free as the wind. That's why Carla King quickly grabbed my imagination.
A travel writer, coach and motorcycle fanatic, Carla has ridden the breadth of countries as wildly different as China, the US, Europe, West Africa and India.
Carla King: 1) What culture most interests you? 2) What bike are you most comfortable on, for that terrain? 3) That a gazillion people will have done this before, by foot, bicycle, horseback. You're going to be fine.
It depends on where you're going and for how long, really. If you're on a RTW trip, then it would be great to know how to take your bike apart and put it back together again, so riding a bike that's uncomplicated is key.
Be really careful on the bike, don't rush, just keep your eye out for road obstacles and driving habits.
I love camping at campsites. You get to meet people, and it's more safe than hotels because everyone is outside, aware, and taking and taking care of one other.
Don't rely on the news and corporate media for your impression of a place. Get advice from Horizons Unlimited and ADV Rider. Another great "travel" magazine that covers places that corporate media doesn't is - The Economist! I'd also say trust your instincts implicitly, even when it doesn't make sense. We're all animals - you've probably had your hackles go up, and knew to back off, even if your intellect hadn't caught up yet, right?
Whatever 1) you are comfortable with and 2) is good for the terrain. The smaller the better. Don't be caught up thinking you need a BMW GS 1200 Adventure Bike. People have done round-the-world trips on a 250 Yamaha. Oh, and hey, bicycles, too, of course!
I never felt that religion had anything to do with people liking me or not. It's cultural differences that niggle, how a culture treats women. I've been more frightened in parts of Texas than I ever was anywhere in Morocco.
We need to start thinking in terms of fundamentalists and zealots instead of individual religions... fundamentalist Christians are just as scary as fundamentalist Muslims if not more. I think everyone sees travelers passing by as interesting.
I was bicycling in West Africa where everyone went around topless (nursing babies) but knees were, you know, like the forbidden zone. Not a religious thing, but traditional clothing just covered that part, so it had become a mystery. So while I didn't worry about strappy little tops and cleavage, I took great care to wear knee-covering skirts and sarongs.
There is no best or worst in general apart from war zones, and even that's up for debate! If you're interested, fascinated, and want to take part in a culture, go for it.