When Joan “Wamuyu” Ndarathi pulled up to a local biker event in Nairobi, her hometown, in 2016, she had no idea she’d ride off with her future husband in tow. She wasn’t looking for love, just adventure, but she immediately caught the eye of fellow rider Dos Kariuki, who approached her after the event to ask if they could take a ride the next day. That trip became an epic first date to remember. “We spent a whole day riding together,” Wamuyu, 44, recalls of their first ride for two. “We went about a hundred kilometers out of town and spent the day in a park. He even made me go zip-lining for the first time.” Wamuyu has a major fear of heights, but Dos’s smooth words and nonstop encouragement got her to take the leap. But he had to jump first. “He said, ‘I’m only going first because I know you’re going to meet me on the other end, and I’m so proud of you,’ ” she says. “I was going to be that strong woman he was so proud of, so I did it for him.”
They started dating just two weeks later and became husband and wife in April 2018. This is the second marriage for Wamuyu, who is a proud mom to two teenagers, a daughter, 19, and a son, 16.Their connection was so strong, they had begun making plans to see the world together before they even got engaged. Just six months into their relationship, the adventure junkies were bored with their day jobs in Nairobi—Dos worked in finance and Wamuyu in human resources—so they decided to start saving for a more fulfilling future together. “Dos came home after having a bad day in the office, and I’d had a bad day, too,” Wamuyu says. “Then he asked, ‘What if we took one year and traveled?’ And I just said, ‘Yes!’ ”
After two years of fund-raising and saving, they quit their jobs and, in July 2018, set off for Uganda, the first stop on their worldwide road trip. It put them one step closer to their dream of biking on every continent except Antarctica. Since then they’ve visited 15 countries and two continents together on their bikes. They’re giving themselves three years to complete the journey. After wrapping up their current sojourn in South America and heading over to the United States, the lovebirds plan to head to Australia, Asia, Europe and finally Africa.
With one year down and two to go, they’ve got their routine down pat. “We normally stay a couple of days at a time in places, especially in the ones that we enjoy most,” explains Dos, 33. “We don’t just pass through. We love learning the culture of the people and just enjoying the environment.” Spending time in South America has really helped Wamuyu perfect her Spanish, and she credits her husband with allowing her to get the most out of their time on the road. “Dos is really the most patient guy I’ve ever met,” Wamuyu says. “He’s very accommodating, not just of me, but of other people too. So that makes life very, very easy. For me, he’s a winner.” The best advice they’ve received on the journey so far: “Make sure the honeymoon never ends.”
This article originally appeared in ESSENCE’s September Global Fashion Issue.