Navigation Menu

Ever wanted to try something completely different?  Ever wanted to be inspired?  Ever day-dream about embarking on the trip of a lifetime?  Joel Key and Phoebe Mroczek are about to do all of the above.

In the pursuit of happiness, and discovering what makes people around the world happy, this amazing couple recently quit their careers (Joel a Physio and Phoebe in Marketing), and are set to embark on an epic motorbike journey around the world across all six continents!  I managed to catch Phoebe for a quick chat about her amazing adventure before they leave…tomorrow!

What is The Short Road to Happy?

Short Road to Happy is my grand entrance into the technotastic world of blogging; an epic concoction of adventure, romance and a hunt for happiness.  To share our round the world motorcycle trip with the world, we created his and her websites to document the highs and lows of the journey. While mine will not be all sunshine and butterflies, it will show perhaps a more feminine (and of course, always correct) side of the story, as I set out to find what makes people around the world happy. On the other hand, Joel’s site, The Motorcycle Thing, will be much more testosterone infused.

You’re planning on riding around the world on a motorbike, have you don’t anything like that before?  What are your plans for the trip? 

Well yes and no. No, I’ve never done an extended motorbike trip before but I have done loads of travelling. Thankfully, my boyfriend is an experienced motorcyclist with a huge trip around South America under his belt. He might not be that guy who has a truck and loads his bike onto it to go places, although he totally can (go to this site to check out reliable loading ramps for your bikes), we enjoy both riding together on his bike with the wind against our faces just like were flying!

As for the plans, we start next month from England and head over to Europe. Limited by the EU visa restrictions, we will return to the UK to top up my visa so we can then explore southern Europe and head further afield. That’s as far as we’ve gotten now, as we want to leave our plans as open-ended as possible to allow for longer stopovers and extended visits in various countries. In an order not yet decided upon, we hope to venture over to Asia, Africa, Australia / New Zealand, the US and South America. If it’s got a flag, it’s on our list!

Phoebe and Joel take on the world, one country at a time!

Phoebe and Joel take on the world, one country at a time!

What inspired you to plan this worldwide trip? 

I can remember the day so clearly. On 21 January, a rather smoggy day in Beijing, I was whatsapp-ing with my sister back in the US. As the conversation ended, I texted Joel saying “You need to come meet me for lunch.” He came over on his lunch break and I word vomited everywhere! I can’t exactly remember what I said but I like to think it was eloquent and convincing (to someone who didn’t need convincing). Thinking back, I can assure you it was a big, jumbled mess. Within seconds, he was already asking when we could leave and which motorbike he could buy. We both quit our jobs shortly thereafter and haven’t looked back since.

I had wanted to do a big trip ending in Brazil for the World Cup next year, but the timing never felt right. I had a job I enjoyed, a side events company, Phoebevents, and amazing friends in Beijing. However, the more I thought about it, the more adamantly I believed that jobs are jobs and good friends will be friends forever. I had found an amazing partner-in-crime who craved adventure in the same way I did and had a passion for life that I could only hope to one day have.


Joel, editor of The Motorcycle Thing, and my co-commander!

Joel, editor of The Motorcycle Thing, and my co-commander!

What were the responses from your friends, family and work colleagues?

People respond differently to big changes. Living as an expat for the past 3+ years and a former study-abroad fiend throughout university, I don’t think it came as a huge shock to my closest friends. Many cheered us on and some were vocal (and brave enough) to question our decision to leave successful careers on a whim. It’s much easier to leave a job you hate pulling a ‘Half Baked’, storm out and you wash your hands clean. However, when you’re as lucky as I was to have supportive colleagues, it makes it a bit harder.

Describe your travel personality.

Ah the great dichotomy between planning and not. I am a planner by nature. On one hand, I like to have things scheduled, even if it’s free time, to be sure we see and do as much as possible. On the other hand, I prefer to see life off the beaten track so there isn’t much that researching and planning can accomplish. In the end, my laid back attitude tends to win over, especially as influenced by my other half’s easy going personality.

How do you afford to travel – are you rich?!

I wish I could say we were rich, that we were bathing in bills and dabbing our happy tears with Franklin notes. Not so. We worked and saved in China, especially towards the end once the decision to leave was made. Joel was working crazy hours and I started upping my game with the events company. I will say I am fairly good with money, creating and sticking to budgets and, more importantly, forcing Joel to do the same.

Our lifestyle makes us rich. Here we are in Bali last year!

Our lifestyle makes us rich. Here we are in Bali last year!

Biggest cultural shock you have experienced while travelling?

China was a culture shock in itself. It’s one thing to travel to these mysterious places, but quite another to actually set up shop. It was the most frustrating yet most rewarding place I’ve ever lived.

The greatest challenge you’ve faced while travelling?

The greatest challenge for me is coming to terms with missing important milestones back home. While I don’t miss the conventional life in the US, there are times like friends’ weddings, babies being born, birthdays and holidays that make my lifestyle a bit undesirable.

Funniest or most embarrassing travel moment?

A spontaneous game of charades in an Italian shop as I was trying to act out “trash bag”. With the whole store trying to guess what I was after, I was dying as people darted around the store bringing me corn, string and toothbrushes. Needless to say, I’ve redeemed myself since and am a champion charades player.

Three things you can’t travel without?

Camera, passport and a toothbrush.

And, let’s not forget the bike! That can be number 4!

And, let’s not forget the bike! That can be number 4!

Which destinations are at the top of your bucket list?

Ooh toughest and most commonly asked. My bucket list destinations change with my mood. Top three all-round would be Mauritius, Argentina and Bhutan. If I’m craving a beach / underwater holiday, I’d lean towards the Maldives, Tahiti and Mauritius. Cultural – Germany, Brazil and Sri Lanka. Wine vacay when times are tough: Argentina, Portugal and Brazil. Surprisingly, I’m really looking forward to the States, as I haven’t explored much around my own country.

Most practical piece of travel advice?

I would say slow down. Many people get caught up in the frenzy of seeing a zillion places and getting the t-shirt to bask in the backpacker glory. I know because I was there once. I took 6 months to backpack and after visiting over 12 countries during that time, I was absolutely exhausted. I had the pictures and the t-shirts but everything was a blur. Now, we have set ourselves no timelines or deadlines and want to just take it easy and explore the intricacies of each place.

Why should people try travel?

I hate to be uber cliché, but you learn a lot about yourself. Maya Angelou once said, “You can tell a lot about a person by the way s/he handles these 3 things: a rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas lights.” I have to add “rejection at a border crossing, being knowingly overcharged and hunting for cheap accommodation after a 20-hour bus ride without air-conditioning.” It’s all about the adventure but in the moment, they either last forever or flash by, whichever is most inconvenient at the time. You learn just how resilient you are and more importantly, what makes you happy. It’s an eye-opening experience and I would hate to have met the Phoebe who never started travelling.


Travel to enjoy the ride, rather than focusing on the journey.

Travel to enjoy the ride, rather than focusing on the journey.

A student of the world, Phoebe splits her time between advising companies how to market themselves more effectively and taking snapshots of the small curiosities that catch her eye through the lens. Her thirst for the unreachable, unthinkable and unusual has led her down a colorful path through over 35 countries around the world. Now, together with her boyfriend Joel, she is embarking on an odyssey like no other – to motorcycle around the world. Join this explosive duo as they solve life’s little riddles from the saddle on a quest to find out ‘what makes people happy’ the world over.

Follow Phoebe and Joel on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+.

Leave Joel and Phoebe a message before they ride off into the world!


  1. Sounds like a great trip. Have a blast; you have MY full support. If ever in New Jersey (which is in the USA if your not aware – ha ha) send me an e-mail. i’ll show you around the Jersey Shore – my area!

    • Might take you up on that invitation of a tour if we’re ever in Jersey as well :D

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *