Recently listening to one of my favorite financial podcasts, I came across Ramit Sethi’s “money dial” idea. Ramit is a financial guru and author of several books about finance, and the “money dial” idea is, simply put, a way to save money without depriving yourself. According to Ramit, instead of obsessively tracking every latte you bought, it’s better to instead figure out what your money dial is and turn it way up. At the same time, you also need to figure out what you don’t care about at all and turn the expenses on that drastically down. As an example, if you care a lot about healthy food, you should spend as much as you like on healthy food, but at the same time, cut your expenses drastically on things like cars or entertainment if you don’t care about these things. Turning your “money dial” up allows you to feel great while turning the rest of the expenses down allows you to save. Spending money carelessly on everything is a bad idea, but so is cutting all your expenses regardless of whether you enjoy those things or not, says Ramit.

I liked the idea, and it got me thinking that it’s the same with adventure riding. We all have an “ADV dial” we care about, and the rest is just details. For me personally, I think my own personal ADV dial is the freedom to move, while the mechanics of my bike, the comfort level, and in fact the destinations themselves matter much less. So, I’ll happily noodle around the Americas for years before finally setting out to explore a new continent, and I’ll readily jump on an opportunity to race cross-country rallies anywhere in the world. However, I’m not bothered about the speed of my travels (at this point, it seems it’ll take me at least ten years to ride around the whole world… and that’s perfectly fine by me), the route (I’ll get everywhere eventually), the technical aspects (I love my bike and I want to learn more about the mechanics, but it’s not preventing me from traveling), or accommodation and things. I can stay in tiny AirBnBs or my tent and do not need hotels to be able to rest and get work done. Similarly, I’m still using my beat up Mosko Moto luggage from 3 years ago, buy my T-shirts and socks in supermarkets and still wear the same pair of jeans I bought two years ago in a discount store. This not only allows me to have a clearer focus and save money, but also frees up my decision-making energy. If you make fewer decisions, you generally make better ones than when you have to worry about a bunch of different things throughout the day, week, or month.

For others, their ADV dial might be completely different. For some people, it’s their bikes, and keeping their motorcycles in top condition and forever upgrading and tinkering with them is what gives them the most joy and a feeling of security. For others, it’s the routes, record-setting (fastest circumnavigation, most continents ridden, most extreme off-road travels…), level of comfort, and so on. Whatever it is, it can help stay focused and get rid of the pressure to get everything right. By focusing on what you love most and giving it all you’ve got, you’re more likely to achieve it – and enjoy the hell out of it in the process.

What’s your ADV dial?

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