I’ve tried posting a summary of my trip, all my lessons learned and what I will take with me to my next adventure, or just take with me in life. I wrote this blog three weeks after I returned, but I keep learning. I am still getting Emails From people that have found the blog and people that have heard of me. At this point, I realize that this will probably never completely stop.
This is a summary of my lessons learned before, during, and after the trip based on my best and worst memories, interviews and random things I shoulder in my tape recorder while rolling down the highway. There were over five hours of voice non that tape recorder, some interviews and introductions, but mostly my screaming voice over the rushing wind. These are my lessons learned.
Lessons Learned about what our bodies can handle
If you haven’t noticed, there has been a recurring theme throughout my writing on how anyone can do what I’m doing. Something a lot of people have said to me is that their body wouldn’t be able to handle it. Jesus, I only sat all day, that’s not that hard! I’ve had a lot of practice at this throughout my life. It gets uncomfortable sure, but maybe life at home is just a little bit too comfortable. Some talk about how uncomfortable a motorcycle seat is. People do trips this long on bicycles! Have you ever looked at the shape of a bicycle seat? I know those bicycle trips are done by great athletes, but a motorcycle seat is at least as much of an improvement from a bicycle seat as Lance Armstrong’s ass is from the regular flabby ass inhabited by most North Americans. To drive my point home, I just did my trip on a BMW Scarver with its stock seat. It is not exactly intended for long distance highway touring and is well known to be an uncomfortable ride, but I did it and I certainly don’t have Lance Armstrong’s ass.
Lessons Learned about fund raising
I feel certain that the hardest parts of fund raising are as follows:
Finding something you’re passionate about;
Do something big that draws attention to it;
Keep it interesting;
Getting people to come out.
I feel like I did all that well. Thanks to the support of some really interested and thoughtful people, a few things fell in place, in a huge way. I was glad to have been a part of any of that. My biggest fund raising goal was supposed to exist throughout my trip though. I already had people all over the continent, very much interested in riding with me and making donations. Unfortunately, maintaining the logistics was nearly impossible. I wound up canceling nearly all my fund raising group rides. The few that I did have, only existed because of how much effort was put in by a few others. My lesson learned is that logistics on the road are impossible. I’ll need a relations crew back home next time I do something like this. And for those that did take a huge interest, I thank you.
The various Defenders MC members that showed their support from Saskatchewan to Nova Scotia
The town of SpringHill for the countless things you did for me
The Royal Canadian Legion for spreading the word across the country
CAV MC for riding with me through two provinces and having me at your annual meeting in Napannee
UN Veterans MC for sending out the odd member on their own to ride with me wherever they found me
Greater Moncton Corvette Club for showing up to my big departure
And the various people across 26 US States, 8 Canadian Provinces and even 1 Mexican state who made a contribution
Camp Hill for providing such a worthy cause to pitch to all of the above
Lessons Learned about writing
I’m not a writer. I don’t even read a whole lot. I did however, read the most publicized motorcycle book ever, The Long Way Round. I also read the sequel, The Long Way Down. Ewan Mcgreggor and Charley Boorman wrote their story in a very honest and compelling way. It was my goal to write like they did. I don’t know if I accomplished it, but I have to say, this blog was a huge success for me. I feel honored by how many people have read it, how many people that I’ve never met know about it, and the response emails I’ve received from a wide variety of people. I didn’t learn any lesson about literary writing, but I learned that if you have good enough stories, you don’t need to be (insert a very good writer here)… Or maybe that’s a terrible lesson… I don’t know. I enjoyed writing it and I connected with a lot of people. That’s what it has meant to me. I couldn’t have imaged this blog to have gone any better.
Lessons Learned about brand loyalty
I ride a BMW. As it turns out, I love my bike, not because its a BMW, but because it happened to suit me very well. Everyone I meet says I’m crazy for doing this on such a bike. I repeatedly heard comments from Harley riders such as “where’s the rest of your bike?”
I would often respond with something like “I must have left it somewhere on the 20000kms of road that your bike couldn’t have done.”
People are morons when it comes to brand loyalty. It’s mostly harmless, like a Leafs fan and a Canadians fan in the same room. That’s why I give into it a bit with comments like the one I just mentioned, but quite often, people are so passionate about their brand loyalty that it actually breeds hatred. I received the finger from a biker group in Utah, simply for not riding a Harley (I think. Their message wasn’t really very clear). It’s brand loyalty that has driven the price of Harley Davidson up to the ridiculous and undeserving heights that it’s at. This has subsequently led all the Japanese dime a dozen, but often better quality motorcycles to jack up their prices as well, simply because they can. This isn’t a conspiracy, this is just how supply and demand works in a market so controlled by something as stupid as brand opinion. My lesson learned is to not be so retarded about what sticker is on my bike. And for the good of the road, I urge you all to do the same. If Ikea started making motorcycles that took me where I wanted to go for a comparable cost, sure, I would ride their stupid looking bike that’s probably made of Swedish pressboard.
Lessons learned about bikers and Gear
A big lesson was learned prior to and during this trip, is you must investigate things for yourself. When shopping for gear, you’ve got to ask yourself what knowledge you’re receiving. What I mean is, there are a few categories that nearly everyone who rides a motorcycle fits into.
Category 1: “I want to look sexy” category, “so I’ll buy my ninja, and tight fitting gear with heavy armor, more to make me look like Ironman than for safety. I will probably also buy under body lights and drive in far too low of a gear.”
Category 2: “I am insecure and require as much attention as a teenaged girl” category, “so I’ll buy a bike that is very loud and will attract a lot of attention. It will probably be a Harley and I will probably wear sun glasses and make sure not to look at anyone, as I am sure they will all be looking at me. Thanks to a very popular episode of South Park, the commonly used term for me is a Harley Fag, which has nothing to do with homosexuality.”
Category 3: “I want to hang out with cool guys” category, “so I want a shiny bike and as much leather as I can wear without a skin transplant. I want to be called a biker, but don’t understand the difference between a biker and a rider. I will ride an hour for a three day bike rally, but never three days for a one hour rally. You will often see me at Tim Horton’s”
I’m labeling these categories myself, but almost everyone in any one of these categories recognizes the other two and I would say that 9 of 10 people who own bikes fit in one of these. I don’t mean to talk down about any of them, I am probably a bit of all three categories. I ride a sexy Beamer, I’m in an awesome bike club with some awesome guys and yes, if I see a pretty girl, the caveman in me kicks in and I’ll do what ever I can to attract her attention. But the reason I am bringing it up is because these are the people who drive the motorcycle market, therefore, buying appropriate gear and getting advice for something like the North American Circle is nearly impossible without branching out to the online world for that minority category. As it turns out, 1 in 10 motorcycle riders is still a whole lot of people and there are amazing resources if you just look for it.
Lessons Learned, you don’t need to be Ewan Mcgregor to circle the world on a motorbike
I could tell you what this trip cost me in terms of dollars, but that wouldn’t be fair. It must be put into perspective. When we’re talking about a trip that took 42 days, some comparison to what I would normally be doing anyway is necessary. if you are interested and don’t care about my long explanation, just scroll to the bottom 3 sentences of this section.
Let’s start with the completely consumables. Gas, accommodations, attractions and food are completely consumable goods. Averaged out throughout this trip, you wouldn’t believe what I spent. Gas in the US, for a medium to small size bike, is almost negligible. If you live in the suburbs in the Maritimes, my bike’s daily gas on this trip was comparable to what you probably spend on your daily commute. Accommodations were generally free, due to a willingness to research prior to my trip and willingness to lower my standard of living a little bit. Attractions, which also included my entertainment while on the road (beer) was comparable to what I do on a regular basis back home anyway. Food is a funny one. I discovered that you can eat out at a decent restaurant in the USA for cheaper than you can buy groceries in Canada. All these things considered and averaged over the entire 42 days, I spent less during my 42 days away than I would have spent if I were doing my regular boring thing back home in Halifax. So far, my epic, once in a life time trip has cost me negative dollars. In other words, it has actually saved me money. It is however, impossible to calculate how much I would have spent other wise, so let’s just be generous and say that I broke even.
Next up, semi consumable goods. These are the things that retain some, but not a complete value after my return home. My suspension was the big one. It cost me $850 to get it replaced. It is a performance suspension though, which adds to the value of the bike. Plus, chances are, they were gone before I even left this trip. Let’s say that in all reality of my trip, my new suspension cost me about $400. I replaced my front tire for $180. It still has plenty of life left, but so did my tire before I left, so I will take the entire cost of $180. I may as well double that for my rear tire that was new before I left and is still on the bike right now, but in desperate need of replacing. I went through a brand new set of brakes as well, so that is the full value of about $300. Signal lights need to be replaced, $30. Body damage would be worth about $300, if I decide to have someone do it professionally. My luggage cost about $700 and is scratched to hell, and even had some bear bite marks, but is still fully functional. I will put a retained value of them at $300, making the cost of my trip, $400 in luggage. My gear is a sad story. My helmet and snot soaked jacket are probably at the end of their road. As the most expensive pieces of gear I have, let’s just write off their entire value of about $400. All together, I added all that up to $2190
Finally, non consumable. My motorcycle is a 2004 BMW 650CS. It is nothing fancy. Never in my life, would I ever buy a new motorcycle, at least not for a trip like this. I bought this bike for only $4000 last year. If you are American and reading this, this is a very cheap bike for our standards. Canadian bikes are almost always double what you’d pay in the USA, a significant difference than the 50% difference you see in car prices. If I were to properly spend what I listed above, I am sure I could sell the bike today for at least what I payed for it. All other non consumables such as gear, equipment and everything that came with me, still retains its usefulness and therefore full value to me. All in all, the cost of non consumable goods is $0
To sum everything up, this trip cost me $2190. I’ve seen a week in Cancun cost more than this. Hell, I’ve seen some Navy guys spend more than this on a weekend with strippers in Montreal.
Lessons Learned about fear
Daryl Makk told me about some of his followers, particularly younger women riders. A lot of people are afraid to hit the road. “oh no, Calgary to Crawford BC, I’ve only been riding a few years, I don’t know if that would be safe”
Don’t let the things you see on TV freak you out. Take it all in and accept it with appropriate caution, but don’t let it drive you to not do anything at all. One year before I left on this trip, I had never sat on a street motorcycle in my life. By my departure, the furthest I had ever ridden was Fundy National Park, 5 hours from where I live. I had no mechanical experience worth mentioning. I had no idea where couch surfing was going to take me. I just kept an open mind, a good attitude, a friendly disposition and motivation to keep on track. I made it back with almost no hiccups.
Lessons Learned about navigation
I grew up in the passenger seat of a car. My family did a lot of driving, as both both parents drove for a living and our families were spread throughout Ontario. My dream vacation, the only vacation I knew as a kid, was always when I got to take a USA trip with my dad in his tractor-trailer. I would constantly ensure I knew where we were on the map and figure out where we were going. I am sure that this is the reason that I love maps to this day. Road trips and Topo hiking are among of my favorite things to do as an adult (or 27 year old kid, what ever you want to call me). Despite my love of maps, I decided to do things a bit differently this trip. I chose to let the road tell me where to go and did this whole trip without looking at maps. Was it a good idea? I don’t know. Do I regret it? I don’t know.
I left Halifax on June 29th with no paper maps. I had no GPS. I had an IPad with no data stored and no sim card. I had a phone, who’s 3 inch maps where only useful for when I had cell service in the cities. I left blind, as I always enjoy doing. I will admit that after nearly a year of planning, I have nearly every state, city, site and curve pretty well memorized. I did however, take a lot of unplanned detours, whether on purpose or in an attempt to make a shortcut. During these unplanned detours, I often had some of my best experiences. A strong lesson I learned is how much you can depend on the road itself, or people, if needed.
It is nearly impossible to get lost in North America. The amount of signs, lines, traffic, people, towns, everything makes navigating extremely easy. At times, I said I wanted off the beaten path and just drove ensuring that the sun was on the right place in the sky, and I would never be disappointed with where I found myself.
Canada and America are fantastically hospitable places. Whether you’re in the polygamist mountains of British Columbia, or sheep loving Georgia, people are almost always kind and willing to help. If you need help, the chances are very good that someone would love to.
Lessons learned, there are good people everywhere
Everyone is born good and we are all raised to appreciate the joy that comes from being nice. It doesn’t matter whether you grew up on a farm in PEI, or the ghetto of Detroit, people all just show it differently. Sometimes you just have to throw the experiences with the masses out the window and just think of people as individuals. I had a guy want to pick a fight with me in Vegas because I was blogging while there was a concert going on. I showed him a bit of kindness and all this guy wanted to do was buy me a drink. I was threatened by a bunch of street toughs in Philadelphia, only to discover that they were just a bunch of nice kids who act a bit deferent than what i know. I had experiences like this nearly every day. I’m sure that the difference between the city filled with the most nice folks vs the city with the most wankers is a difference from 1 asshole in 20 vs 1 asshole in 18. I’m not sure if I’m rambling yet, but I want that lesson to be well received. There are good people everywhere! If you say you can’t find them, it’s probably because you’re an asshole.
Lessons Learned about the SIMILARITIES between Canadians and Americans
I have said it many times, when discussing the difference between our countries, “The social and cultural differences from region to region within Canada, or the USA, are far more significant than the differences between Canada as a whole and America as a whole.”
That’s not to say there aren’t differences, I’m just saying it has to be put into some kind of greater reference. It’s like saying “I don’t like America because they’re all fat.” Compared to Canada, sure, they are the fattest country in the world. But you’ve got to think a bit more objectively than that. Canada is the second fattest country in the world, so with the correct reference, the difference is insignificant. Both our countries make up the fattest PLACE in the world. This is just an example, of course, but I think you get my point.
It is easy to hate America, it’s the hip thing thing to do. In fact, several Canadian gave me a hard time before and after my trip for doing most of it in the US. I called America one of the most beautiful countries in the world with some of the most hospitable people, and received hate mail for it. If I had said it about any country that isn’t so close to Canada, my feedback would be all about how fascinating and adventurous it is. But for America, no one wants to admit that there are good qualities. As unbelievable as it may sound, most Americans have the same opinion about America.
I take as an insult to hear someone hate on America. Nearly every thing that makes America a crappy country, pretty much makes Canada a crappy country also. The things that make it great, are usually the same things that make us great. Both countries are make up one fantastic place.
Lessons Learned about the DIFFERENCES between Canadians and Americans
But enough about my pet peeve of America hater, AKA nearly everyone. There are definitely some differences worth mentioning. Most of them are funny minor differences and you’ve probably heard them before, but some of them I think were shocking enough for me to learn, they are definitely worth posting on here.
They wear their shoes inside the house.
A girl in Texas said I sound like I’m from the 80’s when I said ‘sneakers’. Supposedly they’re called ‘tennis shoes’
They have traffic signs that say things like “Obey warning signs. It’s the law”
Different cities have different ways to deal with traffic. For example, Trenton New Jersey has no left turn lanes. Instead, you go right, around a ramp and then straight through the green intersection, resulting in a left turn. Every city seems different, it’s definitely a road variety we don’t have in Canada.
The entire west has flood plains. Riding along the roads through flood plains, there are huge dips to control the flooding. Until I got used to them, I would hit them hard. It’s just funny to me, to drive through an area that has such a huge natural difference than anything I know and how is effects something like how the roads drive.
Americans love Canadians. I’m sure we don’t give them the same welcome simply for being from the US.
They can own fully automatic (and loaded) rifles and keep them in their bedrooms, though I only saw this once. I bet if I stayed at as many random Canadians’ homes, I may well have seen the same thing.
A Canadian flying Canadian flags in the US makes people say things like “Yay, go Canada” or “Cool man, good luck”. I saw first hand, that a Mexican doing nearly the exact same thing with Mexican flags makes people say things like “You’re either American or not” or “what’s wrong with flying an American flag?” Maybe I’m just too ignorant to my own culture, but I don’t thing we have these kinds of home culture, protectionist attitudes here.
A lot of places, not only don’t use the word, but won’t even know what you mean when you ask for a ‘bathroom’
The same can be said about the word ‘wifi’ in most of the BlueRidge that I saw. (Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee)
There is way more diversity in how speed limits are regulated, ie 100kph through Pennsylvania, but no less than 150kph through West Texas. On average, I did 30kph faster than I would average for similar roads here.
American bikers often don’t do the two finger motorcycle wave.
They elected George Bush, and not everyone regrets it yet. However, we elected Stephen Harper more than once, so maybe it’s not such a difference.
Hilariously ridiculous billboards on every highway provide constant roadside entertainment. I even made a list of my favorites:
Virginia: “With God, all things are possible” just a giant billboard that says only that.
Alabama: “BP got you down? Call us, we sue BP!” Referring, of course, to the oil spill last year
Oregon: “Pregnant? Abortion? Think again!” with a photo of a very large, intimidating cross
Oregon: “Pregnant? Adoption? Have you thought about abortion?” Pro abortion ad.
Mississippi: “CHRCH… What’s missing?”
New Mexico: “Get your fireworks. Buy one get eleven free”
Texas: Photo of two shameful looking cowboys. “Jesus won’t quit you”. If you don’t get it, watch Brokeback Mountain. This was by far my favorite billboard.
All over America: “We sue Lawyers!”
Oregon: “In despair? Jesus is your only hope 1-800-for-help”
Mississippi: “Smile your mom chose life”
Texas: “The What-a-Burger state. On a diet? Screw that! Eat at What-a-Burger”
New Mexico: “Get a vasectomy. Dr [so and so]”
New Mexico: “Get your vasectomy reversed. Dr [such and such]”
All over America: “Low interest financing” for just about anything you can imagine. My favorite goes to the most illogical thing to spend unhad money on, “RIMZ”
Texas: “Faith begins with cleansing. A Christian Dap Spa”
Georgia: “Motorcycle fatalities ” what ever that means???
All over America: “Guns, guns, guns. We’ve got all kinds of guns for what ever you want to kill”
Texas: “Don’t mess with Texas” A government anti littering campaign
In Alabama, wheelies are a $2500 fine. It’s not a national thing, but the huge difference between certain states is a diversity that we don’t have in Canada, so it’s definitely worth mentioning.
Also in Alabama, sex toys are illegal. Sex in any position except for the lord’s missionary position, is illegal. This isn’t one of those ‘it’s illegal to whistle under water’ or ‘released inmates are to be given a rifle and donkey’ sort of laws that aren’t taken seriously. It’s supposedly taught in sex Ed in schools.
I attended 3 parties with a wide variety of people during this trip. Young people, teenagers and young adults, we’re getting drunk, but no one got high. I don’t think I’ve ever been at a party in Canada where the kids weren’t smoking pot. That’s a pretty major difference between pot smoking Canada and the diversity of America. (keep in mind that I didn’t drive through Colorado)
Canada is a far more modern country than America. The roads are safer, the signs are bigger, you’re never far from what we call amenities, and our definition of necessary amenities are very different. This says something about Canada’s wealth, but as discussed in the blog, it also takes away some of what makes an adventure an adventure.
There are no motorcycles in America! Like I said in the blog, I expected to see Peter Fonda riding his chopper through the desert. I saw no such thing. The sky ways had more motorcycles than I’d ever seen, until I got to California, then there were even more, but everywhere in between was barren of motorcycles. I was on the road 9 hours a day, on freeways, byways, back roads in the city, country and suburbs. I rode through Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisianna, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Navada. Through all of this, I saw only about 40 motorcycles. I even went to the largest and busiest Harley Davidson’s I’ve ever seen, but mine was the only bike in the parking lot. Everyone else took their cars. The reasons I’ve been given all kind of sound like crap. It’s too hot in the summer to ride, but I did it 9 hours a day and I’m an overweight unacclimatized Canadian. The recession made everyone get rid of their bikes, but I stand firmly that in a winterless land, there should be at least some proportion of people that use their bike as a primary vehicle, which is way cheaper than a car. I’ve been told that I’m just not driving in the right places, but where the hell could that be, because I’m driving everywhere. Besides, I don’t need to find the right places in Nova Scotia, California, or BC, because every where is the right place.
Hospitality is a concept very different from friendliness. I’m sure the average Canadian is friendlier than Joe America, but hospitality is another story. If you break down on the side of the highway nearly anywhere in America (with obvious exceptions) it would not take long before someone pulls over to help. I, sadly, can’t say the same about Canada. I don’t think that it’s because we’re mean or don’t want to help. I think it has something to do with such a huge, media driven middle class that makes us all a little paranoid of strangers. The same mentality is applied to hosting guests as well. For that reason, I would declare America, a more hospitable country than Canada. Let’s pull up our socks Canada.
Back to the obesity thing. Whether you’re in the healthiest province in the country, Quebec, or the fattest, Newfoundland, the difference in the amount of heavy people isn’t that much. I will be perfectly honest though, the difference between California, where I was the fattest guy in the state, and New England, where I felt like diabetes was contagious, was staggering. This was most clearly personified when I compare Huntington Bikini Beach in LA to Old Orchard McDonald’s eating beach in Maine. That’s all I have to say about that.
America has cleaner air than I’ve ever breathed before. By clean, I don’t mean less smog, I mean less of everything and I only mean in certain places. I’ve never been in a place with no trees before, but in the American desert, there are no trees, pollution, moisture, or anything to throw any kind of pollutants in the air, natural or otherwise. The results were the brightest night skies I’ve ever seen. Not to mention the best fuel milage I’ve ever had, and I had for about half of the US.
Canadians are more patriotic than Americans. I would have never said this until meeting the variety and number of Americans that wouldn’t be possible without doing this trip. We all see the red necks tear up at NASCAR races after the national anthem and we all see the red white and blue bumper stickers, so it always looks like America is all about America. There are certainly different forms of patriotism, and flag flying is much stronger than it is here in Canada, but that is only one form. One thing that almost every American I met can agree on is that there are a lot of problems in America. It’s not untrue, just as its not untrue if a Canadian were to say it, but as a world leader, I think Americans feel that they are failing on their own. As a Canadian, we can always disregard our problems by say “At least it’s not as bad as it is in the States”. This is just an example, but I saw this in a lot of ways.
It was first pointed out to me by my hosts in LA, who had Netflix and asked if I could recommend any Canadian Films. There aren’t a lot to choose from, but I knew I would pick One Week, a story about a guy who rides from Toronto to Tafino on an Old Norton motorcycle. It seemed very fitting. As we watched, I would happily and proudly talk to them about some of the sites shown in the very picturesque film. I was told from someone with an undistorted view of Canadians, that “Every Canadian I’ve ever met is always so certain that they come from the best country in the world and you all make extremely convincing arguments”. My perception of America, as does most of the world’s perception, comes from television. This guy’s perception of Canadians comes only from meeting Canadians. I think he’s on to something. Though we don’t fly our flags like idiots (never mind the flags that I will always fly from the back of my bike, I’m just acknowledging the fact that it alone doesn’t make me patriotic) we all love our country without first thinking about its problems. Americans are often the opposite. If you can’t tell, I’m trying to carefully word this to make the point that neither country is better than the other for its patriotism; it’s just a thing that makes us different.
Our veterans are very different. For any American reading this, I will first state what every Canadian knows about the difference, because, like everything else, we all watch American TV. The Canadian Forces is a profession production of people, were we all have a job that is as equivalent as possible to the public service and civilian job equivalent. We have our problems, but it does not compare to what the American boys have to go through. In America, the forces are its own world, a huge world. Men are recruited in what ever way they can, pushed to their limits, and far more often than a Canadian Forces member, they leave without turning it into a profession. Because of the size, cost, quality of living difference, and the geographical spread of the US military, taking care of their soldiers is far more difficult than here in Canada. Remember, there are about as many US veterans as there are Canadian citizens. If you’re lucky enough to retain a veteran status, which I learned is not always easy, than you get to have the right to use VA hospitals. What that provides is a right to free health care.
Think about that…
If you’re reading this as a Canadian, you get it, but if you’re American and haven’t figured it out yet, I’m trying to point out that a soldier that might have his leg blown off in a war is lucky to get what every Canadian citizen gets, health care. I find it so hard to believe that two countries so similar can have such a different treatment of our veterans, who are pretty much fighting for the same thing.
The opinion of our forces is another big difference. Whether you’re right wing Canadian or left wing Canadian, we all pretty much agree that we don’t like the war in Afghanistan, Iraq is not even up for debate, but we all respect military members and still post those stupid support our troops things on the Facebook. Almost everyone knows someone who serves in our relatively tiny military, making us all quite sympathetic.
In the States, the right wing vs left wing vary much more than we do. Almost 1 in 10 Americans join the forces at some point in their lives, yet if I meet a Liberal minded American (despite what it looks like at the Nascar races, liberal minded Americans do make up most Americans) there is a good chance that he doesn’t have a single friend in the forces.
This is my interpretation of what I saw in all my meetings and interviews. There exists pro war, pro military folks. There exists anti war, anti military folks. But the majority lies with the reasonably minded, but apathetic towards all of it because it doesn’t touch home.
This was another shocking discovery to me. I definitely thought the support our troops attitude would exist far more in America. I did this whole thing, tried to raise some money for veterans, wrote about all this, and I’m not even a support our troops bumper sticker type of guy. Here in Canada, especially as a forces member, I am glad that our country’s views are what they are.
Lessons Learned about where to go from here
I enjoy traveling. To be honest, I get almost as much from traveling down the South Shore of Nova Scotia than I do from the South Shore of Louisiana… Almost. I get almost as much fun out of driving a car than I do riding a motorcycle… Almost. Going someplace far from home will automatically introduce some adventure and riding a motorcycle gives a slightly different experience.
Before I went on the North American Circle, I went on vacation in Jamaica. I flew down in the cheapest way possible, with less than 24 hours notice. I got there with no idea where to go or what to do. I rented a car and drove East (If I had the time back, it would have been a motorbike, but I heeded to the warnings of the Internet that said Jamaican roads are the most dangerous in the world, what ever that means) I had complete freedom of where to go and what to do. I couch surfed, airbnb, or hostelworlded where ever I could. I stayed in people’s homes, ate in their kitchens, met their friends and saw different sites. I even went to a place in the Blue Mountains where I was told that a lot of the kids have probably never seen a white guy before me. In the end, I did a circle around the entire island. On the last day, I pulled into the Montego Bay airport, from the west. It was by far, the best vacation of my life.
I was told once that driving a car is like watching a movie and riding a motorcycle is like starring in a movie. I love movies and there is nothing wrong with them, so the Jamaican Circle was me figuring out what genre I liked to watch the best. The North American Circle taught me what I like to star in the best. I want to do it again. Having some kind of a goal and motivation is important, so I have made a goal for myself. I want to complete every continent on Earth on a motorcycle, with the exception of Antarctica, of course. This blog is my declaration of devotion to accomplish this. Here is my plan and I hope I have as much feedback from these as I did from North America.
-North American Circle – 2012 – 44 days – Complete
-Australian Circle – 2013 – 33 days – depending on work, this may not happen until 2014, but 2013 is the goal. I have one partner who is planning with me and will be coming with me. There will be a lot more on this trip posted very soon, as this blog and my Facebook page will shortly change their names.
-European Circle – 2015 – 40 days – hopefully I can take more time, but that’s a long time away. This will be similar to the previous two circles, but with fewer miles and a lot more stops. There will also be a very challenging logistical element added to it.
-South American Circle – 2017 – quite a bit longer – I already know the route I will take and at least one guy who will come with me. This is supposed to be the best place in the world to ride a motorcycle. I will have to gain a lot of dirt experience for this. I am already learning how to speak Spanish, with this exact trip in mind.
-African Circle – 2021 – This is mind boggling to think about this far in advance. I won’t be able to complete this trip until I am eligible to take leave-without-pay from the Forces. My current contract expires in 2021. That’s all I know about this trip so far.
-Asian Circle – 2026 – the year I retire from the Forces. Asia is a pretty big place. I’m following the blog of a guy that took over a year to circle just China. We’ll see about this when I’m 43 years old.
That’s my plan. Keep following my blog, keep following my Facebook Page. Please, let me know what you think of my life’s plan. I know that it’s a pretty long term goal to set for myself, but I feel pretty certain that this is what I want to do. My experience on the road, so far, was amazing and I can’t imagine what else I would rather do.
Thanks for following. You all are what has inspired me to keep this up.
See you from Australia…