Originally Posted by Blader54
I've really enjoyed your ride report! Thanks!
It is also interesting to hear what you have to say about journeying itself. There are some riders out there who seem to have found their passion in the nomadic life (see Lightcycle's ride report, for example) and revel in the idea of motorcycling without end, and there are others who like a definite end-point. Some of these latter folks seem to re-integrate fairly easily with living a more conventional, shall I say, static, life, when the ride is over, while others find the readjustment very difficult. It would be great to hear more of your thoughts about motorcycling and travel....how they fit together, which one drives the other, if at all, and so on. For some, the idea of having to "get back" makes the trip seem pressured and rushed at the end, and can even make the second half of the trip kind of a downer, along the lines of the old saying: "how far can you walk into a forest? Half-way." Did it feel that way for you once you passed the half-way point of your trip? Would you have preferred to have made the trip with a GF or BF? Not as independent with a companion, but then there's someone to share experiences with. Or maybe the longer stops you made provided you with the opportunity for social interaction?
The reason the title of this thread is "Panniering Around Europe" was that it's supposed to be backpacking with pannier bags - hence panniering... I really wanted to do the backpacker circuit around Europe while I was still young and I also wanted to do a big bike trip, so I sorta combined them, not really knowing what kind of a traveller I was or what I'd enjoy. I've found that to be honest I'm not really a backpacker, but I'm definitely a motorcyclist, and as such in the future I'd rather be doing trips that are more riding and less fucking about in cities trying to soak up the culture.
The reason I'd ideally like to have an end-point is that it seems to frame the whole trip in my mind a bit better and give the whole motorcycling aspect of it a bit more meaning. For instance, Lord of the Rings is about a bunch of guys going to a volcano, but the bit at the volcano isn't the important part, the important part is all the unexpected stuff that happens along the way. If it was about a bunch of guys drifting about with no real aim it'd be a bunch less interesting.
That said, to be honest I've only recently (as in, recent enough that the RR's not even close to it) hit my stride with travelling. I've come to realise that hitting every tourist city for a few days and seeing all the sites isn't actually all that much fun - I've been plagued by this attitude that I've got to go slow and soak up the culture of the country. But it's crap - what I really want to do is be constantly on the move, going to places that I find interesting and if I'm bored pulling as many long riding days as I need to to get to somewhere better. I think next time I go on a trip like this (god willing) I'll be more inclined to pick a start point, an end point, no schedule and no real plan for what's supposed to happen in between - when I find interesting places on the way I'll stop there, otherwise I'll keep riding in the general direction of where I'm supposed to be going. As I type this (from Greece) I have to be back in England in a month, and far from being pressured to get back, I feel happy to have a goal and to know that I have to be covering ground rapidly in order to get there.
In terms of being alone vs travelling with a girl... well, if I could find a girl who I could put up with being with 24/7 then that'd be lovely, but if I've ever met such a creature I'm not aware. To be honest when I'm riding I really enjoy the solitude and the independence - if I want to go to some random city on a whim there's no one to tell me it's a stupid idea. Staying in hostels as I have, being alone also really gives you a push to meet people, and I've met a really lot of amazing and interesting people on this trip as a result. The flip side is that for every amazing/interesting person I've met, there's been like 10 boring ones that I didn't get along with - when you find yourself at a hostel dominated by people like that, then you start feeling lonely. Ideally I'd quite like to be travelling with a bigger group (like 4+) people - that means that wherever you go you've got a decent amount of company, and there's enough people that no one's getting in anyone else's grill to too great of an extent.