Long for some nutty ADV advice to brighten your day? ADV Rider forum is a goldmine of useful and practical information on anything adventure riding-related, and people much more experienced than me have shared thousands of great bike, travel, and riding tips. However, adventure riding doesn’t always have to be serious; and sometimes, you need a bit of a pick-me-up when the going gets tough. Here are my favorite tricks to mix it up a little when the days in the saddle begin to look too similar to one another.

Offer Ice Cream

We’ve all heard horror stories of people getting ripped off or harassed by grumpy police, military, or border officials abroad. I’ve got a neat recipe to prevent unpleasantness: ice cream. If you roll up to a border and sense that the officers might be having a bad mood day, locate the nearest ice-cream kiosk (coffee works in the colder regions, and chocolate is always good regardless where you are), buy a heap of chocolate cones, and distribute generously. Instant mood lift for everyone involved, even if you still have to queue. Be forever remembered as the Happy Ice Cream Traveler, not the Grumpy Gringo.


We all have days when life sucks. Maybe it’s been raining all day and you had two flats, maybe it’s been long seven hours on a boring highway, maybe the clutch plates you’re trying to DHL to some obscure Bolivian town are still stuck in customs. Put some groovy tunes on and dance the funk away. When you’re cranky, the last thing you want to do is dance, but that’s kind of the point: forcing your body to move will make your brain think life’s good again.

ADV advice

Pat head with right hand, draw circles on stomach with left hand; lift leg up for added goofiness.

Do It Anyway

You may be told you have a ridiculous bike, laughed at when you announce you’re about to enter a rally race, or ridiculed for your attempt to circumnavigate the globe on a Vespa. Do it anyway. You won’t prove anything to the naysayers, but you’ll make extraordinary memories.

Work With People

Working with people is a sure proof way to gain insight into the local way of life. I don’t mean any official, or even volunteer, work. Simply help an indigenous grandma to peel potatoes for dinner when you’re staying at a tiny Andean hostel, assist in shoeing a horse or catching a rebellious donkey, help a kid with their English homework, fix a fence with a Peruvian farmer, teach someone to ride a motorcycle… Do what you can and help where you can – the reward will be immeasurable.

ADV advice

Where’s the throttle on this again?

Images: Egle/rtwPaul

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