Thursday, December 11, 2014

How to get started on the path to motorcycle travel- the dream phase.

Every motorcycle trip starts with an idea that captures your imagination. Whether it is dreams of riding in the Andes or visions of sitting on a sunny beach next to your parked motorcycle in a far off land or just taking off for a couple weeks to go riding closer to home, how do you get from an idea to the actuality?

The simple answer is that all you need are time, money, the desire and a motorcycle. I will assume that you already have the desire, so really just three things are necessary. Paradoxically, time is the hardest thing for most people. The three things that make finding time for travel difficult and tend to hold you in one place are family, job and material possessions. This is the reason I am always harping on young folks to get out and explore the world before they get married, have family responsibilities, a restrictive job and a mortgage and car payments.

I am a currently a self-employed divorced bachelor with no children, a flexible work schedule, supportive friends and relatives and no debt. This makes finding the time to travel much easier. But it wasn’t always this way. When I was married for over 20 years in the previous century with a mortgage and credit card debt it just meant that I had to take shorter 2 week trips. Back then if I wanted to go to say Guatemala from Oregon and back, it involved fast motorcycles and blurry scenery.

Not everyone has a supportive network of family and friends when it comes to motorcycle travel to third world countries. In fact I would say most people wil face resistance in the beginning. Which is why it is often wise to start out with shorter trips. Although motorcycle travel is more common now than it was 40 years ago when I started, most people will think you are nuts when you tell them your plans to ride the world on a motorcycle. I don’t generally bring up the subject with non-travelers.

There are things you can do to mitigate familial concerns when negotiating to take off time to go riding. Communication is key. With today’s technology advances it is possible to engage your friends and relatives in a much more meaningful way. It is one reason I started sending back email reports with pictures before the advent of blogs and ride reports. With wifi being available more widely every year in far off places it is possible to Skype call or email friends and relatives on a semi regular basis. SPOT trackers using satellite technology to give regular updates to your motorcycle’s location are another item I see married folks using. SPOT trackers keep spouses up to date on your location over the internet. Even kids at home will take an interest in seeing the dot move down the map. Another excellent way to keep folks at home engaged and informed is to write a ride report with pictures and stories from the roads less traveled. The key here is to keep it updated regularly. It has the added benefit of getting you to slow down and take more cool pictures that friends might get a kick out of back home when they come inside to warm up after shoveling snow off the front walk.

Ah yes, but back to the subject of finding the time for travel. You have to create it. The harsh reality is: you have to create the space in your schedule for it. Nobody will find the time for you. Depending on your lifestyle this may involve negotiating with your spouse and boss to open up windows of opportunity.

In the next update I will cover step two: accumulating travel funds.

more later…….


  1. Keep up the awesome work John! Im so glad to see your posting over here. Im not much of a poster on advrider but last Christmas I was sick for a week with the flu when I found your ride report and spent the whole week reading it. The next month I sold my crf-450x, bought a DR650 and started taking longer rides. You have been such a great inspiration for me and so many others. I wish you well with getting out of Texas and very eagerly await the next ride report.
    Best Regards,

  2. I likewise looked for your blog on a whim and am glad to see you. Are you still at Veriest1's? A propos of the season, I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Simple pleasures, simple wisdom and simple tastes are providing you a very satisfying life, to my genial and continual awe. Cheers.

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