When you first hit the road without a clearly defined return date, it feels exhilarating. Everything is new, every road or dirt trail is full of potential and promise, every new border crossing is an event in itself; the world, the people, the cultures – it all feels almost overwhelming sometimes. You can’t believe your own luck and your tires; it’s a high, a challenge, an expedition.
But as with everything else, little by little, life on the road becomes just that: life. I read somewhere that nomadic peoples had more economical vocabularies than their settler counterparts. Because they kept moving all the time, nomads called mountains “mountains” and birds just “birds”, whereas settlers had hills, mounds, mesas, hillocks, ridges and buttes and swallows, storks, nightingales and owls instead of just one generic word for either. In a way, this likely happens to adventure travelers, too, once they’ve been on the road long enough. One mountain begins to resemble another, and Chilean wild guanacos, at the end of the day, aren’t that different from Mongolian camel herds.
This doesn’t just happen to RTW riders, either: any weekend ride, done often enough, or section of the TAT, ridden too often, can become somewhat mundane. So, how do you spice up your RTW – or your BDR – ride?
Chasing or Racing Rallies
For me personally, what Lyndon Poskitt (Races to Places) does seems like the ultimate adventure. Traveling around the world and racing international rallies, including the Dakar, the Roof of Africa, and the Africa Eco Race, sounds like an awesome way to make the RTW as interesting as can be.
I have nowhere near Lyndon’s talents and abilities when it comes to riding, racing, and knowing your mechanical stuff, but hey, we all got to start somewhere, right?
I have no illusions of ever being able to build a rally bike myself or finish a Rally Dakar malle moto class, but the beautiful thing is, there are plenty of amateur rally races out there and plenty of opportunities to race on your own ADV bike, even if it’s merely a humble DR650. Most amateur rally entries cost around $700-800, and if you’re going malle moto style and camping at the bivoauc, you can pull it off with a minimal budget. So if you’re looking to take your ADV riding and traveling to the next level, adding a rally race here and there might be a cool way to do so.
Visit ADV Events and Meetups
Another way to refresh the daily miles is dropping by ADV-related events. From Horizons Unlimited, which has adventure travel meets and events all over the world, to shows like Overland Expo, there’s no shortage of travelers’ meets where you can hang out, tell your story, or simply connect with other adventurers. If life on the road is getting a little lonely or a little too familiar, meeting other riders and getting involved in events or ADV rallies can be a fun way to mix it up a little.
Take Up a Cause
When Claire Elsdon, an English traveler, completed her ride from London to Cape Town, she decided she wasn’t going home just yet; but nor did she want to keep on riding. Instead, she settled down in Tanzania and founded Pikilily, an organization that teaches local Tanzanian women to ride and maintain motorcycles and drive mini moto-ambulances to help people in more remote regions where emergency services simply aren’t available.
I’m not saying you should give it all up and start a charity, but helping others on the way is a fantastic chance to make your travels more meaningful.
Combine Your Passions
Janelle Kaz, known better on social media as Moto Gypsy, is a traveling biologist with a passion for wildlife protection. As she travels, she writes about various wildlife and environment conservation issues, combining her passion for motorcycling and travel and her dedication, as a journalist and activist, to preserve nature.
Plenty of other RTW riders take up photography, videography, or blogging as they go along; some start organizing or leading motorcycle tours, teach off-road riding, or speak at events. If you’re looking to add another dimension to your travels, combining several interests, doing some work on the road, or sharing your adventures via written word or video posts can be another great way to look at things from a new perspective.
At the same time, lots of RTW travelers are happy to just keep on rolling without looking for anything else. If you manage to sustain the awe of the world and the passion for exploring, good on you – keep doing what you’re doing! But if simply being on the road isn’t enough anymore, perhaps getting into something new while traveling can be a solution.