During my six years on the road, I’ve heard countless people tell me how I was on this “nice holiday”, and it always rubs me the wrong way. Adventure riding isn’t a holiday for several reasons: it’s a lot more involved than a cruise or an all-inclusive trip to Bali; it’s a lot cheaper than said cruise or Bali holiday; it’s also whatever you make it to be, with a little bit of luck and spare spokes to help you out. Here’s how an adventure riding trip differs from a holiday.
Most people assume I’m either a trust fund baby or a trust fund baby to be able to travel indefinitely. That’s because most people travel very differently, with comfy flights, nice hotels, expensive dinners, and cool surfing or wine tasting trips putting a huge dent in their bank accounts. Even if you’re from a less wealthy country like my homeland of Lithuania, spending over $2,000 for a week’s vacation is pretty standard. So when people hear I’m on the road all the time, they multiply that $200o a week and come up with some pretty astronomical sums. And sure, you CAN spend that if you want to and are able to afford it. But in reality, you don’t have to. $50 or less a day is more than doable, regardless of what country or continent you’re riding through at the time.
I recently had a journalist ask me, “but surely all the nice beaches look the same at this point?” when she was interviewing me for a travel magazine. Thing is, you don’t really hang out on a beach much if you’re on a long-distance overland journey. I mean, it does happen once in a while, but for the most part, adventure riding trip is more about the actual riding than dolce far niente sipping mojitos at the pool.
“The Death Road isn’t that deadly”, “Machu Picchu isn’t that impressive”, “yeah the Atacama is kinda meh” – I’ve heard this from multiple travelers along the way. Thing is, being an adventure rider and being a tourist are two different things. On (or off, as is often the case) the road, things often go wrong, there’s a lot of improvisation involved, so setting an expectation that everything will be picture – perfect just isn’t realistic. Machu Picchu might be less impressive when it’s cloudy or if you’re there during a rush hour (yes, we live in a world where there’s a rush hour at Machu Picchu), but you might discover something else on the way that will completely take your breath away.
Go, explore, and forget travel brochures for good.