How Far Would You Go?

I've quickly adopted the idea for this editorial piece as a suggestion from a friend... because I haven't traveled really far this year and I really miss doing so. In fact, it's been such a busy year so far that it's rather hard to believe I'll have time for a long trip.
Nevertheless, I know that there are so many of you, luckier than me in this aspect, as there are also a lot of guys who just dream about the next year's trips. While having a cold one last evening with some biker friends, we went back years ago as we were planning a trip to Syria... and sighed in pity for the actual state of that region.

Far from being political in any way, we had true regrets that things didn't go as well as we could have hoped they would. But it was with real pleasure that we remembered the plans we had and how we were trying to foresee as much of the potential troubles we were almost sure to encounter during such a trip.

At the end of the talk, we had planned a nice biking future weekend in early September, mountains and all... but the initial idea stuck in my head: how far would I go riding my bike if I could spare some time and money?

Some say it's about courage, while others would claim the adventurous spirit. I'd rather say there is nobody in the world who could map the very reasons that drive a rider towards the distant, unknown horizon. There's a bit of everything involved, but making a complete list seems impossible.

We've all heard enough of the “mad argument” already; a lot of people simply can't or even won't understand the great feeling we have while biking across the county. For them, most motorcyclists are a bit on the mad/ insane side, and those who ride far are even madder. These guys don't get it when it comes to sleeping in a tent in the middle of nowhere, and seem unable to draw too much pleasure from the somewhat lonely feeling of being on the road. Well, I don't blame them, but I really wish they could see the world through our eyes, at least once.

For other guys, it's the need to prove something to themselves and not to the world: they want to make the trip for their piece of mind, to find their own place in the middle of their universe and claim it as theirs, rightfully.

I can remember talking to a guy who went to the extreme North of Europe (he's the one to blame for my future trip there) and his answer as I had asked the “why have you done Nordkapp?” question. He became a bit shy in an instant, lowered his eyes, sighed a bit and replied: “I am a tourer, I had to do the Nordkapp, I needed to see that I can ride there and back”.

There was such calm honesty in his voice, almost with a touch of humble, higher understanding of things. That man had sacrificed most of his free days during a working year, had a piggy bank in which he would put every penny he could spare to have his dreams come true... and then, when all was almost right, had done things his way.

He was a true source of inspiration for me as he showed the way things really are: the sacrifices one must make in order to fund the “trip of a lifetime”, the hardships along the road, the paralyzing joy as he walked towards the Midnight Sun monument in the months-long daylight, and in the end, the somewhat weird sadness in his soul as he saw once more his town and realized that the journey was indeed over.

I haven't heard from him since our brief meeting years ago, but his words are still alive in my mind every now and then. There's no telling when my “trip of a lifetime” takes place, but I just know I will make it someday. And whether I will ride towards that steep precipice where the Northern Europe ends literally, or to some place in the African desert, or over the green pastures of Mongolia, I couldn't tell, not for now, at least. But that time will come, when I meet the surprise on the faces of my close fellow riders as I'll be asking them: “How far would you go?”

As for you, the readers, no matter whether you ride choppers or sport bikes, cross or cruisers, I wish you all safe return from your “trip of a lifetime” and the best of luck on two wheels.


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