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Heather's background includes time as a child living on a sheep station in Australia’s outback where she learnt to ride a motorcycle, made friends with the local Aboriginal children and developed a love of the desert. Her family later moved to north Queensland and through reading she developed a love for Africa.

'Years later, while working as a radiation safety technician at a uranium mine in the Northern Territory, ‘out-of-the-blue’ I voiced my ambition to travel Africa by motorcycle.

When I reached London, I worked as a motorcycle courier and a year later in September 1995, I was diagnosed with HIV (I had the test as a requirement for a three-month Russian visa for the second stage of my world motorcycle journey). But I refused to relinquish my travel plans. I refused to give up. Besides, with my days numbered, what else was there to do?

I rode home along the Silk Road and a year later, arrived in Cairns, north Queensland, near death with AIDS. Doctors gave me little hope but I was saved in the nick of time as scientists had recently discovered a new generation of drugs, protease inhibitors. It was 1996, the year everything changed for HIV.

Three months later I enrolled in a Bachelor of Journalism, and after graduation, worked as a journalist for News Ltd. For six years I was the communications/media officer for international development agency Plan and completed a Graduate Diploma of International Development. I also hold a Master of Arts (creative enterprise).

I am also a professional public speaker on sexual health and HIV with the Living Positive Victoria Speakers’ Bureau.

I continue to ride motorcycles and I am an advocate for motorcycle road safety as a member of the Victorian Government’s Motorcycle Advisory Group.

I am currently writing the sequel to Ubuntu, which will be available in 2018. My second book details my motorcycle ride, and the turmoil of this journey, as I rode through Central Asia and by train through China to Vietnam from November 1996 to September 1997.

My writing projects also include a novel set in outback Australia and a children's picture book series based on road safety. I live near Melbourne, Australia with my three children.






Heather Ellis