We’re all here because of our shared love for adventure motorcycling. But just like with everything else in life, it’s so easy to get lost in the details and the “how”. For me, though, the bikes, the routes, the gear, and the packing lists are always secondary, whereas the “why” is much more intriguing.
Recently, Bear has talked about why we want young people to take up adventure motorcycling. Why indeed? And why do we do what we do, living like homeless people on two wheels, in search of the unknown, always after an adventure versus comfort and uncertainty versus security?
For most of our history, humans were nomadic. The whole property, territory, and sedentary lifestyle thing only happened a mere 10,000 years ago with the agricultural revolution; before we settled down, drew lines in the sand, and got busy building empires, it seems we roamed the earth freely, carried few belongings with us, and, even more interestingly, there’s very little evidence of violence, inequality, and wars among our nomad ancestors.
Adventure motorcyclists are, in a way, modern-day nomads. There are different ways to feed the wanderlust, of course, from simply doing long hikes or cycling to sailing round the world or booking a one-way ticket to somewhere you’ve never been before. But adventure motorcycling takes us one step further; being on your bike means almost limitless freedom of movement, and that’s something to treasure.
So here’s why we need adventure motorcycling – for the sake of our engines and our souls:
Nature vs Nurture
If humans are inherently nomadic, and if growth is all about getting out of your comfort zone, then it follows we weren’t designed to spend our lives caged in tiny air-conditioned offices staring at screens or performing the same manual tasks day in and day out. Wild animals go crazy when trapped and caged; humans get frustrated, angry, and depressed when life gets stagnant. Adventure motorcycling doesn’t just offer a temporary escape. It provides a sense of discovery, even if you’re just out for a weekend ride; and suddenly, if only for a brief moment, nothing seems impossible.
Staying in Awe
If there’s anything I’ve learned from my years on the road, it’s that staying in awe of the world is healthy for your brain and your soul. Awe and wonder are among the most valuable human emotions: it’s the driving force behind all inspiration, innovation, discovery, and perhaps most importantly, gratitude. It’s easy to get lost in the mundane, focus on the small details, and lose sight of the bigger picture – and that’s why the saddle of a motorcycle often provides the best vantage point, whether you’re staring at the snow-capped peaks of the Andes or the beginning of your local BDR.
Adventure motorcycling isn’t about the best off-road skills, the shiniest, newest Tenere, the ego, the best farkles, or the most countries ridden. For me, adventure motorcycling is about staying humble, both as a traveler, a motorcyclist, and a person. There are no trophies at the end of the road, just experience, and that’s the most we can ask for.
From a young age, we learn we must strive for possessions because they mean security in our society. University degrees and cars, apartments and steady jobs are all things we learn to seek out, obtain, and hold on to if we are to be successful – this is the program that gets drilled into our heads from when we’re kids, so no wonder it’s so hard to ignore or resist. And for a lot of people, it works out just fine. But I’ll argue that constantly rolling the dice and dealing with uncertainty on a daily basis teaches self-reliance and resilience better than any steady career path or comfy lifestyle. Nomads don’t break, they bounce: being able to react quickly, adapt fast, remain malleable and always land on your feet is a valuable skill regardless of whether you’re a full-time ADV hobo or a part-time adventurer. That’s why I’ll never tire of telling people not to overpack and overthink – figuring out how to change a flat tire on your own, finding a new dirt trail across a mountain pass, or discovering a way to earn an income on the road will always lead to more growth and independence than staying comfortable and expecting the predictable.
Here’s a simple fact: you can always make more money, but you can’t make more time. Because adventure motorcycling combines the physical and the mental, it’s an ideal means of figuring out your priorities and living in the now, because at the end of the day, tomorrow is not guaranteed.
That’s not to say we should all just quit everything, up and leave to roam the planet on two wheels indefinitely. It doesn’t have to be about the extremes; adventure doesn’t mean you must ride around the world or finish the Dakar.
It just means you need to get out there, push your own edge, explore, dare, and discover.
Now, not tomorrow.