“I am going to ride around the world on a motorcycle!” – Robert Fulton, Jr.
In 1932, 22 year old New Yorker Robert Fulton, Jr. had finished a post-grad study in London. While most people would have started working, Robert did something else. Scrounging a six horse power Douglas Motorcycle, he set off overland, to reach Japan. 40,000 miles and 2 years later, he found himself in the land of the rising sun from where he caught a ship back to the Americas.
Using a small 35mm camera, Robert captured in black and white the journey. Mostly dirt roads, devoid of telephones and infrastructure that we take for granted today. Robert’s journey takes him through a Europe that is not plunging into war, a middle east that is still under British rule, and an India that is destined to be Britan’s forever. Robert captures a society that is almost frozen in time when he ventures into Chiang Kai-Shek’s pre-communist China. All of these before the days of the telephone, proper infrastructure, and mass tourism, and when there were still parts on the map that were marked ‘unknown’ or ‘unsurveyed’.
A terrific solo motorcycle adventure and priceless sociological archive all in one.
In 1937, Fulton published his adventure in the form of a book ‘One Man Caravan‘ as well as a 53 minute documentary ‘Twice Upon a Caravan‘, an edited extract of which can be seen by clicking the link below.
Robert Fulton is a hero in more than one way. He pioneered a route which was unknown, and which became impossible only after a few years. Not just that, he made about 13 hours of footage, showing a period of the world that is lost forever. We salute him!