What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—
No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
Leisure W. H. Davies
For years another big trip has been on the cards, last time I returned I muttered the words ‘I’ll be gone again in a year’, that was 7 years ago, so I’m running late.
2 years ago at the same time I was getting my bike license a seed of an idea appeared in my mind, these things happen during long night shifts, stupid Ideas, but this one lingered. Looking at a map the thought dawned on me how difficult can it be? To ride around the world. All you need is a motorbike and a map and a lot of time and a bit of money. Reading online I discovered not that difficult at all, plenty of people have done it, a guy called Robert Fulton did it in 1932 (check him out he’s a character) and Mother Earth keeps on getting smaller apparently. Think about it, right now you can stick in Google maps Scarborough to Samarkand and get a choice of routes, modes of transport and where to stop for ice cream and beer, so if it’s possible in 1932 there really isn’t an excuse today.
Like I say the idea’s lingered, the seed sprouting roots and growing branches, being fed by the long soul niggling time spent working 12hr office shifts, day dreaming about and researching all the possible places to ride to. Resonating through my mind are some of the final words someone once said to me “if you’ve got the money enjoy it, live your life”, it isn’t poetic but it’s a philosophy I’m willing to stand by. One day I’ll be an old man imparting my wisdom, to anyone who’ll listen most likely, a cat or the post man, but I want to know I did indeed live my life.
So here I am now and in the utterly fortunate position where I’m free to make the choice – rent out the house, quit my job and hit the road. Right now as I sit here writing this months before leaving and with everything still to do I have to admit it seems a bastardly daunting task. But there a few things I know I want the trip to be.
- Done as much as possible on the bike, it gives total freedom to go where I want to go, that interesting side road I’d rattle past on a bus I can turn down, see what I want to see, the massive cock shaped cactus in the distance I can stop and take a picture of, camp where I want to camp and take a piss where I want to piss, and unlike any other transport it allows you to become part of the landscape, the climate, the culture, the road, you’re totally exposed.
- On the back roads to really see the counties and meet the people, taking the motorways is not an option and once you’re out of Europe they disappear anyway.
- Only a rough route plan with the freedom to alter and evolve the journey as I go, hearing of new places.
- Time, it isn’t race to Dakar, if I can help it no mad days of putting 500miles on the bike, time to stop, time to see.
Which way to go though? There’s a choice of many routes, the vodka route North East though Russia, East to Asia on the silk road, South across Africa avoiding Ebola and looking for elephants or West through America fueled by burgers and cocaine, North forget about it, balls and brass monkeys. Straight away one route stands out, through Europe and onto the silk roads into India, on round the Indian Ocean and across into Indonesia. The idea of riding out from home and with the exception of a few ferry crossing getting half way round the world to the door step of Australia is too enticing.
But that’s a bit of an overwhelming distance, so I think to make it seem more surmountable and ease the minds and the worries of those I’m leaving behind, if I break the journey down to an initial leg, something to sharpen my teeth on, it becomes more achievable. For now the vision is to ride from home North Bay, Scarborough, England to India, A short ride! Then stood there in India I’ll decide if I want to continue further East. Why? Because I bloody well can.
So sit back and enjoy the ride, this could get interesting.