If you’re planning your first long-distance motorcycle trip that involves going abroad, it’ll be very different from a two-week holiday or a ten-day fly-and-ride. While most people feel great when they simply go on a short holiday or ride to a foreign country, several months or a year is a whole different ball game. That’s especially true if it’s your first long trip, as this experience will probably change the way you see the world (for the better – but it may take a little while). So here’s how to prepare for 6 months abroad if you’ve made the decision to go.
Stay Humble and Be Zen
If you’re off on a long-distance motorcycle journey, you’ll likely cross several borders and experience several different cultures along the way. Some of those experiences – say, border crossings in Central America, the mañana culture in Southern Europe, the way traffic works in India – will appear a little frustrating, but try to stay humble and zen. Sure, things are done differently in lots of places around the world, but that’s the beauty of it. After all, you’re not traveling to South America to see Swiss precision when it comes to border crossing paperwork, and you’re not riding Ukraine to experience German quality roads. Keep calm and open-minded, be kind to everyone, and remember two things: one, people are doing the best they can with what they have. And two: the single factor that put you in a privileged position of being from a Western country is sheer luck and nothing else. So stay chill, smile, and connect with the locals: you’ll get to know the country and the people much better this way!
Manage the Ups and Downs
The first few weeks of your journey will likely feel nothing short of exhilarating. Just the sheer excitement of being on that open road, exploring the world on two wheels, and the feeling of freedom is enough to create a powerful high. However, there will be downs, too. There will be crappy weather, flat tires, grumpy police officers, wet boots, lumpy sleeping bags, and failed clutch cables, but look: no adventure motorcycle journey is perfect, and you’re not supposed to be feeling perfectly happy all of the time. Things will happen; some of those things might get you down for a bit. It’s OK. It’s your trip, and you don’t need to be smiling all the time taking cool selfies and posting about yet another Awesome And Totally Epic Day On the Road, because some of them won’t be, and that’s normal.
Riding around the world, wild and free, is an amazing feeling. But just like managing your emotions, you’ve got to manage your everyday routines, too. Make sure you eat healthily and stay fit; it’s easy to forget everything and live on gas station snacks and fast food meals for days on end. However, while you can perhaps pull it off on a short trip, you’ll start feeling unwell by month two if you don’t feed yourself properly and stop exercising altogether. Eat your veggies. Go on hikes.
If you’re hoping to prepare for 6 months abroad, you’re probably researching everything from motorcycle luggage options to most scenic routes to places to visit and stay. Do your research, prep your bike, and pack as best as you can, but don’t over-plan every single detail. For one, it’s impossible to foresee everything, and unexpected things will happen on the road. For another, leaving room for flexibility and improvisation is usually a surer way to stay out of trouble than trying to rigidly stick to schedules and routes.
Brace for the Blues
Post-travel blues is a real thing. The longer you stay on the road, the harder it can become to come back home, especially if you don’t really want to and don’t have a spouse/kids waiting for you. The mere thought of going back to your old job, old routine, old life can feel almost terrifying, and that’s natural: if you’ve spent more than 6 months on the road, you may start feeling like a different person. Like someone who wants to keep on riding instead of going back to 9-to-5, small talk, and Friday nights at the pub. But life is a lot like the ride, and the ride is a lot like life: whatever happens, you’ll figure it out. after spending some months or years on the road, some people rediscover their old passions, retrain and change their careers, or simply fall back into old routines realizing that they were pretty awesome in the first place.
And some people simply hit the road again, this time without a return date.