Looking at it from the outside, the life of an adventure traveller is probably the most envied by other motorcyclists. Living free, riding your motorcycle on the open road, with your long hair flowing in the wind, and without a care in the world…
Who wouldn’t want a life like this? Who wouldn’t want to ride from country to country, hopping from adventure to adventure, just enjoying riding some of the most amazing roads on the planet?
The dream about travelling around the world on a motorcycle, like a brave knight on his quest, does appeal to many riders. But what lies behind this image? What is the price you need to pay to live like this? Or is there really a price to pay?
Since I’ve been on the road for more than 4 years now, I can tell you that there are some aspects of this kind of life that are probably not evident to the bystanders. What is clear to everyone is that there are good sides to living a life like this. But what of the bad sides?
–You will constantly be ALONE, unless you have arranged to travel with somebody else; and in this case, you are always not alone, and that could be daunting too.
If you are an RTW traveller, you will be far away from your family and friends for a long and indefinite time – literally, because you can never be one hundred per cent sure when you are going to see them again. You will always have to rely on your own strength and self confidence to overcome any difficult situation you may have to face. Sometimes this is a simple language barrier, sometimes it is being as sick as a dog.
You always have new friends, the people you meet along the way, but you will always have to leave them behind eventually, to reach your next destination. If you are travelling with a partner or a group instead, you will be stuck with them, if you like it or not. You will always be confronted with somebody else’s opinion and most likely would have to share every space and every moment of your trip (which is sometimes overwhelming).
– You will always live in somebody else’s house, whether is a hostel, hotel or some random stranger’s house, a friend’s house or couchsurfing; you are never “at home”. You actually have to readapt the concept to “be at home” to your own needs and make everywhere your home.
– Your body will pay the toll. There’s nothing more body wrecking than riding a motorcycle for hours and hours, for months, or years. Sitting in the same position, with your back arched, fighting winds, cold, heat and, most likely, not having a fixed diet or not having the possibility to exercise regularly. That will affect your body and strength in the long run. To have a routine, when you clearly fled from one, is very hard to do, and even self-contradictory.
– You will have to face the “reality monsters”, once your journey is over.
This is probably the hardest part of travelling for a long time, and the part that nobody tells you about; everybody will tell you to go, to start your trip, to go on the adventure of your dreams, but nobody will tell you that when that ends…you are going to have some problems to deal with!
Once you return home, you will have to confront the hard and stagnant everyday environment, the same house, the same people around, limited possibilities, the old conversations, the same topics, and the routine. This is often good for a while, since it’s a change in itself from your wandering lifestyle; but after all, it will not become sufficient for you anymore, since you are used to your daily dose of excitement and adventure.
The trip is over and reality strikes back like a python, that slowly but inexorably will choke you to death, crushing you with its coils.
Maybe that’s why not so many people keep travelling. It is a tough choice to make and most of the times, it’s a radical event in our life that triggers the need to go off for a ride and that may not be enough. But regardless of these downsides, travelling around the world on a motorcycle has definitely been the best decision I’ve made in my life.