Sponsored Expedition Rider
In July of 2012, my wife and I began a journey riding our motorcycles from Calgary, Canada to Australia. That journey took nearly three years to complete and changed the way I approach my work.
I think when we began our journey, we were focused on fulfilling a dream – perhaps the idea of a reward for hard work, some discipline and, if I’m honest, some confusion about how we’d ended up where we were. We were doing what we’re supposed to do and, while life felt comfortable, there was a nagging feeling that somehow we’d missed the point along the way. It started like a distant voice that seemed to grow louder with every opportunity to pursue the current path. “You’re doing it wrong.” That was the message.
As that voice grew louder, so did the idea of travel. I’d missed that whole finish-school-and-backpack-Europe thing; I had to work to help pay the rent, and Nita was eighteen years old when she caught a one-way bus to NYC. Travel wasn’t the focus. But we always knew that to understand the world we needed to wander.
At some point. Later. Probably.
Suddenly though, now seemed good. And on motorbikes seemed better. Interestingly, when we talked to friends and family about leaving on our journey, there was an overwhelming sense of support. Phrases like “Once in a lifetime chance.” or “Now’s the time!” – my personal favourite since it’s follow-up always seemed to imply that we’d soon be incapacitated and near-death if we continued to work in offices.
Still, support wasn’t the reaction we’d expected. I think we expected everyone to tell us that leaving on our journey would be a mistake. We’d be playing in our late thirties and early forties when we should be continuing to build our careers. I was even slightly ready to feel the resentment that would surge through me at such an assertion. But it never came. Only one person looked at us like we had ten heads and asked “So what’s your plan?” with a look that told us we were screwing up our lives if we followed through. But if I’m honest, we’ve never put much stock in her opinions anyway.
So perhaps that was the first moment that the journey changed for us – before we’d even left. We had ideas about people we knew, and they were utterly wrong. It raised an interesting question: If we can be that wrong about our everyday friends, how ignorant are we in our assumptions of the rest of the world? Suddenly, having (or pretending to have) the answers seemed silly. I liked that immensely.
Since that day we’ve had plenty of good (and a few bad) moments on the road. We travelled for nearly three years after selling almost everything and just started moving east. The goal was simple: travel, experience life in other places, take beautiful pictures, tell stories about our experiences and try to do a little good along the way. The lofty goals of circumnavigation and expedition weren’t part of our vocabulary, which perhaps diminished our journey for some – and that’s alright. There are plenty of fantastic folks out there doing that.
We’re travellers, which keeps it simple. We wanted to know the people as much as the place. If it matters, we’ve travelled through forty-two countries on five continents – some people like numbers to quantify the value of an experience, an idea that evades me a little. What I am proud of was simply getting on the bikes day after day – and perhaps more importantly, becoming that guy who offers his hand to strangers in the constant hope that they’ll be great people.
And they usually are.
Nita’s always been that person which makes me incredibly lucky. As we went, we shared our stories on welovemotogeo.com. It seemed like a great way to bring people along on our journey and helped us remember what we did – infinitely useful for writing a book – an idea that seems to have created a second voice that’s also getting louder. Nita’s putting together a book of her photography and there are a couple of other ideas we’re kicking around in the moments that don’t involve controlling a motorcycle at speed.
Read more about our journey at We Love Motogeo.