Reflexions from the Road
I think it's important to share not only my ride reports, but also some of the introspective thinking that's coming from this type of experience. As you might imagine, one has a lot of time to think and reflect while riding… loads of “helmet time.”
These interludes will pop in no particular order and may or may not have to do with something about the trip, but simply small reflective capsules on life.
So, lets get things started…
On Traveling Alone
That is one of the questions I'm most asked… “are you traveling alone?” Depending who I'm speaking with, the answer may vary for safety's sake, but most of the time my response is “yes.”
I've received all kinds of accolades depending on where I am including “que huevudo”, “sos in berraco”, “bacano”, “que macho”, but for me it's become an intricate part of the adventure.
When the idea for this motorcycle adventure first started, a friend of mine was going to join me, but a few months into the planning process he pulled out. At first I was quite saddened and even thought of postponing and try to find someone else to travel with me, but all my research pointed to disastrous experiences in building “makeshift” riding teams, especially for as long and likely difficult as this trip would be. Also, I don't belong to a community of bikers from where I could find someone to join me. That turned my thinking to canceling the trip all together. That however is just not who I am.
I really don't care for “parlanchines” (talkers) that go on and on about what plans they have, what they are going to do, and in the end it's all hot air. If I say I'm going to do something, I try my darnest to follow through with it.
So I pushed forward with my planning and onto the road.
What's been my experience??
It was one of best decisions I've ever made. Sure you run at a higher risk by being alone. If something happens while on the road, particularly in a remote location, you are left to fend for yourself. Also security-wise you make for an easier and juicier target.
I have found the time by myself to be incredibly rewarding. The time for introspection has really made me appreciate all that I have in my life and what's important. Life on the road keeps things very simple. In the Maslow hierarchy of needs you have the basics covered on most days, but even those are pretty simple - food, shelter, human interaction, etc translate into simple meals at markets, roadside shacks or what you picked up at a store, shelter for me are hostels or little very basic hotels, and human interactions are conversations with gas station attendants, waitresses, or other travelers you run into along the way. You have loads of time for self realization.
I've also come to realize how little material things you need, and that it is the relationships and the experiences you have that are the most valuable. Obviously you need to be able to cover the first few levels of Maslow's pyramid in order to get there.
While on your own, people really go out of their way to be helpful when you travel by yourself, possibly because you pose less of a threat and they can empathize with being alone. They will often offer a helping hand, show you around, share a meal, and even a place to stay.
Complete strangers will quickly become friends and particularly the motorcycle community has really gone out of their way to show me around and even include me in family or social activities. Like I said above, although I've ridden a bike for many years, I have never been part of a motorcycle community, and they have come out with open arms and received a traveler in stellar fashion.
Thanks to each of you for being such a special part of this great adventure.
If you are wondering if you should go on your own adventure on your own, don't give it another thought. Get on your bike and go!