Kim and I have traveled quite a bit over the last 30 plus years of motorcycling. We’ve been fortunate enough to have traveled to 4 continents and about 40 countries on bikes. Still, other riders have gone far more than we have, with some claiming to have traveled to 200+ countries. That’s a lot to see and to experience.
To us, it feels like the orb of rock and water we share traveling through space has two dimensions. And, it feels like both dimensions are quite different.
Earth’s two dimensions
The first of those dimensions makes us think that the world is a giant place with thousands upon thousands of miles to travel. And many of those miles are inhabited by people and cultures that are quite different from those that we’re accustomed to in our daily lives. We wonder how we can see and experience all the world has to offer.
But, seemingly unrelated to the first perception is our perceived second dimension that feels like the earth is really quite tiny. Traveling now is easier and faster than ever. Information flows rapidly and much more easily across all those thousands of miles.
So with the moto traveling we’ve done, and the experiences we’ve had, we feel compelled to share what we’ve seen with others not as fortunate as us. We hope to share what little we learned during our travels with the rest of the world. If you check ADVRider.com’s Epic Rides thread, we’ve shared many of our journeys. And there are more travels over at Ride2ADV.com. I’ll put some links at the end of this article so you can see and read some of them. It’s these travels that have given us our perspective.
It’s important for us to share what we’ve seen and “learned”. We often give presentations to groups who may have an interest in the world around us. The shows are a lot of fun and give us a sense that in some small way, we may have helped make our “giant” planet a little smaller than before. To us, sharing means spreading understanding.
And as we’ve given those presentations (and believe me, they are not cinematic masterpieces) or we are having everyday conversations, we often get the same question. Can you guess what the question might be?
Our favorite place
The question asked is almost universally, “which country or place is your favorite from among all your travels?” And even though that question has been asked many, many, many times, it always stumps me. Because the answer to that question is: “I don’t know.”
That question is sort of like asking a parent which one of their eight children is their favorite. There’s so much to love about all of them, and they are all so different in many ways. Choosing a favorite child is impossible.
For us, traveling by moto is much like that. It’s also similar to asking which is the best ice cream or most beautiful color. There are so many flavors and shades to choose from. They can all make you feel good. And that’s the way we feel about moto travel.
Choosing where to go
With the world being so big and small at the same time, how do you choose where to go? That’s a rather thorny question that we can’t answer for you, but we can answer from our own thoughts. The first thing we ask ourselves is, what is the most important thing that we want to accomplish during this trip?
What do we want?
Is our key priority to have an “adventure” and ride in some not so comfortable conditions? Do we want to test ourselves and our machines against tough terrain and poor weather?
Perhaps we want to experience some different cultures and meet people that we wouldn’t necessarily have the opportunity to meet? Make the journey one of discovery.
Maybe we just want to enjoy ourselves and have a nice leisurely trip smelling the roses and stopping for considerable bits of time to relax. In summary, a chance to loosen up and enjoy being alive.
While it’s not impossible to plan a trip that includes all three of the above types, it’s often helpful to plan for certain things that will make your next individual trip enjoyable. That’s especially true if you don’t have much time or are limited by other life factors like family and money. Hopefully, in the future, you’ll have the time and energy to make more trips after you’ve completed your latest one.
How do you choose?
The answer is…? I don’t know. Moto travel is such a personal thing that the question begs you to think long and hard about what’s important to you. When I was younger, challenging terrain and testing myself were very important. First, it was going fast on the street, which later advanced to circuit road racing, and now it is “adventure riding.”
But at this stage in our lives, challenging terrain is not that important. As “greybeards,” we perform an internal cost/benefit analysis weighing the challenging terrain against the “opportunity” to be injured, which could end or limit our trip and potentially our long term travel goals.
Does that mean we only stick to the pavement in good weather? Absolutely not. But we won’t likely be riding mud roads on the side of a mountain cliff in torrential rain (while that does occur on occasion when we return to our home in Vermont).
And that’s the point of this conversation we’re having. Choosing where to ride and what to do or see is a hugely personal decision. Take some time and think through what’s most important to you before making your travel decisions. Plan for a lifetime of travel to places all over the world. We can say without a doubt, the more you learn about others, the more you will learn about yourself. And, the world will be a better place for it.
Ride Reports – “Epic Rides”
Earlier, I said I would share some links from our travels in the Epic Rides forum. So if you are interested, you can see some of the places things we’ve seen and learned. We hope you enjoy them. Oh, and one more thing. There are many, many epic rides in the “Epic Rides” forum, take the time to read other inmate’s journeys. I promise you; you won’t be disappointed!
Kim and Mike’s Most Excellent…
Almost all of our “epic rides” have Kim and Mike’s Most Excellent… in their title. So here’s a smattering of some of our travels:
- 1. Kim and Mike’s Most Excellent 2007 Trans Labrador Highway Adventure (2007 – New Hampshire, Quebec, Labrador, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Maine)
- 2. Screw Bill and Ted! Kim and Mike’s Most Excellent 2008 Alaskan Adventure (2008 – Anchorage Alaska, and Canadian Yukon)
- 3. Kim and Mike’s Most Excellent 2009 Icelandic Adventure (2009 – Iceland)
- 4. Kim and Mike’s Most Excellent 2010 Ride To Lava & Ice (2010 – Iceland re-do)
- 5. Kim and Mike’s Most Excellent 2010 Adventure to Fin del Mundo (End of the Earth) (2010 – Chile and Argentina to Ushuaia)
- 6. Kim and Mike’s Most Excellent 2011 TAT Tour; The Frostbit’s Return (2011)
- 7. Kim and Mike’s Most Excellent Unplanned European Adventure (2013)
- 8. Kim and Mike’s Most Excellent 2014 Western Wandering Adventure (2014)
- 9. Kim and Mike’s Most Excellent Shakedown Cruise – The Finish Line Is Just The Start (2015 – Gaspe Penninsula)
- 10. Kim and Mike’s Most Excellent Planet Ramble (2016 and onward – Across the USA to Alaska and 30+ countries in Europe) Note: I am behind on this thread and need to finish Europe, add southern Africa (Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa, plus Morocco. Sorry, I know I’m way behind!)
All photo credit except as noted: Mike Botan / @Ride2ADV