My relationship .... with social media

 

 

revy dam sunrise.jpg

 

 

While it’s not facebook official, I have fallen in love with social media. 

I have spent years of my life, countless hours dedicated to this relationship, building a persona which sometimes doesn’t reflect the truth. Not by choosing really, I never consciously decided to do this. It builds up over months and years. You slowy share images and stories, carefully selected to attract and build a presence. 

It all began whilst having dinner at Ritchies house in Scarborough one fateful evening. We had decided we wanted to do some riding together, to explore the world on the road, just the two of us, but I suppose after we had spent a few years travelling we wanted it to be about more, we wanted to help others. 

Obviously, we decided to create a non profit organisation, we didn’t know exactly what it was about or how to do that, but we figured it wouldn’t be that tough to register it and begin riding and sharing our story. We couldn’t choose one though, so we made a little team of organisations which we would share any donations we received, but it gave us something to learn about, share and strive to help with in our spare time while riding around. It was an ambitious project for a couple of city boys who knew nothing about it, but it seemed reasonable to us, and we began thinking of a name.

Soon thereafter, West Coast Wanderer was born. We did some silly sketches while making each other dinner and together we laughed and figured this made a lot of sense. 

Whilst we never did get to head over to Asia together or Europe like we had intended, Ritchie did eventually join me in Canada for a trip. We had planned to ride to Mexico together, and originally we had talked about even investing in a hostel / surf school somewhere down there on the Pacific Coast in a small town. But as life had it, things changed, what we wanted changed, who we were.. changed. So we did go riding around BC together, sadly though, Ritchie was unable to complete the journey and we pulled the pin rather dramatically and once again I was left wondering where West Coast Wanderer was headed. It was never about me, but somewhere along the way whilst living in Canada is all changed. The name became an identity, and although I created a business by the same name and continued to try and develop other things around it. People and my online persona connected me to it. 

I wanted to do back country tours of the Rocky mountains, and showcase and share all the wonderful things I have found in the 4 years I have spent here. I created the business , but ultimately I was unable to really delve too deep into it because of visa restrictions. Along the way was the guinness world record attempt that I’d spent an entire Winter preparing for to only have it vaporised at the last minute, and I also managed to ride off road for an entire Summer, then came the dirt triple project which led me to Mexico after all. 

What I’ve learned from all this, and what I love to share is the knowledge and the passion to do things which I love. I have gained many friends, lost many others along the way. But people change, and I continue to adopt it into my life. I relish change and the way I have adapted to so many surroundings. I hadn’t imagined that I would ever have the opportunities to train women and kids to ride off road. I never dreamed I would get sponsored by companies to ride and be an ambassador for their products or film movies and do radio and podcast interviews. Social media gave me many things, but all I ever cared about to begin with was opening peoples eyes to the world, sharing my story and hoping one person seeks out their own love for life and doesn’t give in. To begin with, West Coast Wanderer was to raise awareness about suicide and depression. It was to share the stories of many people, to learn about life in other countries, to encourage others who don’t want to keep going that there is a whole world out there and they have amazing opportunities. We all have hard days, and for me reaching out on social media, connecting the world together and riding motorbikes has given me success in that. 

West Coast Wanderer may have changed, but it has grown to involve so much more too. It has been successful in some ways and failed in many others. I never lost track of the goal I set out to achieve, it just changed with me. Next month there is a big ride, it’s called the “distinguished gentleman ride” —> www.gentlemansride.com .. it is to raise funds for prostate cancer and mens mental health. Unfortunately last year I just missed out on riding with the guys in Arizona, but this year I am proud to say I’m registered and riding in my home country! I will be home for it and plan to slowly increase the charity part of west coast wanderer, years after its inception, the roots of what I hope to achieve will grow one step at a time. I would love to meet other riders doing this, be supported from my friends and family and raise the awareness about it, because it is very dear to me. 

This all began about my relationship with social media, and perhaps a lot of my friends and family don’t realise how important it is that the things I do all require help from everyone who knows me, likes me, follows me or believes in what I do. Liking, commenting and particularly sharing anything I do is very important for getting my voice out there so that I can continue to grow and achieve my goals. It doesn’t cost anything but it hugely important because without your support, it will fall on deaf ears. 

The rest of this year is going to be incredibly tough, I am stressed about moving my life away from Canada, returning to Australia, a country I left as a broken man but return with a new outlook on life. I have a new relationship to nurture and build, together we will share creating the foundations of both our small businesses. Starting a new home, making new friends and building life again after 4 years off traveling around the world. After such a long break from working, it excites me to create something which is mine and doing it in my home country will be a blast ! So many great and positive things happening in life and so many goals to achieve, I often sit and wonder how anyone gets bored. haha. 

I look forward to posting again soon, sharing what I’ve learned leading unto the return home and a new life ahead of me. But until then, keep riding, stay safe and love each other. 

PS - in my true style, this is completely raw, no proof reading, no editing, just straight from the top of my head. I know it sometimes lacks proper english, and grammar and doesn’t tend to stay to the topic, each time I post a blog I get various messages critiquing those things but bare in mind it’s just me sitting here with my morning coffee sharing my thoughts and then hitting publish at the end. Perhaps one day that will change, but I highly doubt it will happen soon. Thanks.

The great divide and maple dreams

chillin' at moraine lake

 

I must be stressed, I can’t write.. That took me a few attempts, but I guess something is often better than nothing. It has taken me quite a while to process the last couple of months. To absorb all those adventures after leaving Australia and put myself back into Canadian life, where I no longer feel attached, certainly not the way I was. 

Until a couple of weeks ago I was still striving for this life, the one where I thought I would remain here, the life which tempted me with amazing landscapes, high mountain peaks, crystal clear lakes and a lifetime of adventures in seasons I dreamed of as a child. 

This upheaval and the effect it has had on me is profound, but it is justified. I admit now that I found myself alone out here. I tried so hard to create my new world that I was blinded by the connections that I nurtured and the beautiful environment I had moved into. I didn’t realise how shallow the bond was. I was misguided in my attempts to create something more meaningful. 

My 4 years in Canada have gone by so quickly, it really has! I can remember like it was yesterday arriving in Vancouver, a new city which I had always imagined to be covered in snow. It was a wet and cold evening in Coquitlam where I reunited with an amazing individual. One of few inspirational women in my life, and she probably doesn’t even know it. Sooz, or as some of us still probably think of her, Ms Leith! .. had moved to Vancouver quite recently. She was one of the teachers at my high school but was only young herself, so after high school in a small town a lot of her ex pupils were suddenly her friends. When I was given the opportunity to stay at the house she exchanged for her own back in Australia I took it. She was there as part of the teacher exchange program and it was a great spot to catch up, recharge and look for my own place downtown. 

So that was how it all began, living in a spare room of my high school teachers house in suburbia Vancouver. Four years later I have moved all my things from Turbos house (the worlds friendliest and nicest grandma).. And I found a place just down the road to base myself and begin catching up on all of the things you put off and sacrifice when you travel on the road for extended periods of time. It was a tough choice for me, because it would of been so easy to save money and continue living on my bike. Visiting friends and camping in some of my favourite spots. But I felt the desire to be settled a little bit, I felt the need to become stationary and to allow my friends the opportunity to come and visit me. Well, one of those things was true, I stayed put, believing I would get the chance to catch up with people who I had missed while I was away. Shockingly, nobody came. It did hurt my pride, my ego, my sense of worth and the role I play in this little society was questioned. Why don’t people want to come and visit or make plans or do anything? Has life moved on so much? Have they forgotten me? .. The truth is, it doesn’t really matter. When I spoke with Steph she noticed I seemed down, and I was, I explained to her and some others which had asked, that it is impossible to remain at the top and keep living at such a tempo all the time. All people need the time to decompress, we all have those high and low moments.

 

My life got extremely busy all of a sudden, I can’t explain in a paragraph all the finer details of the course of my life the next year or so , but it does involve quite a few changes. Which ultimately is very difficult for me take on board in such a short time span. I have lived a very adventurous and spontaneous life, that is true. But for the last few years I have had a purpose. I had an intention to build the “west coast wanderer”  company and do off road motorcycle tours around British Columbia. Until a couple of weeks ago I still genuinely believed that was possible to do soon. But now I’ve started the acceptance that it is further away than I hoped. I cannot deny the fact I should have began the process for my permanent residency a long time ago. It was stupid of me to believe I could come back from this huge ride, not have worked since 2013, and apply to be a permanent resident based on my qualifications as an electrician. And, I think I didn’t put the time and effort into discovering that because I didn’t want to ruin the illusion before I had even left. So perhaps deep down I had already committed to knowing that but my denial stopped me from really letting it happen. Either way, I am now in a position where I love a country but cannot stay. I would love to bring Steph here, and show her all the things that have been such a huge influence in making me the man I am. The places I’ve adventured, the people I’ve met and all the experiences I had. I want to share those with her, to make her understand why I am this way. So that upsets me, considering that it mite never happen that way. 

I know I will miss Canada, I do intend to come back, my goals right now are to do that. But I have to admit, the times I’ve spent back in Australia with her make me fully appreciate the opportunities we share together. We’ve now discussed our options and have a very basic plan on how we can still create the perfect life where we have a small business in each country, only spending summers in each hemisphere. It is possible, but the priority for us right now is for me to sort out how I can move home, take my things with me and then settle in. I’m excited about buses right now, which is very different to my usual mode of adventure. But I wanted a van and Steph was adamant we needed a house. I suggested we don’t rent though because we could save more money that way but we didn’t have enough to finance the business as well as a house. So we compromised, like good relationships do I’m told. I found some amazing bus conversions online. Some nights I stay up til early morning watching and researching them. It’s probably unhealthy, but it really interests the builder, the planner and the engineer in my brain. 

Living apart has been very interesting for our friendship and our new relationship, we’ve both had moments of doubt and it has been extremely hard to travel and live on opposite sides of the world. I recall laying on top of my sleeping pad on the grass underneath my tarp, parked in my friend Bill’s back yard and Steph called. I knew she was upset. I knew she had things on her mind, it was building up to that all week. She wanted to end it. My stomach sank and I knew we had to open up discussion about how we would make it work, but also I couldn’t push her away or get angry. We talked for an hour about it, and it was one of the best conversations we’ve had. Because I was able to manage my emotions, even though I was hurt, we actually talked very openly, we shared our feelings without feeling too defensive. I will be the first to admit I know very little about women, I know very little about life. But I know that to make things work and to really connect with someone it really all relies on the communication. From that conversation we had over the phone in Oregon, it gave me strength, it gave me belief that it is going to be tough, and it is going to be one of the most difficult times of our lives, to continue building a strong relationship even though we had such a short time to cement our foundations before I left. I had doubts too, and we struggled like a little roller coaster just bouncing around and not knowing where our fate would lie. But when the time comes to see her again, I know my heart will fill, and I will have made the right choice to return to the country I was born in with a woman who supports my decisions and my way of life.

This post comes at an interesting time, it is quite unsettled, I feel uneasy writing it and sharing it, but the fact I’ve been able to sit here and write some things down has helped me immensely. I will go home tonight, feeling relaxed and confident about the path I’m walking. I hope everyone reading realises that life is not meant to be easy, but find something which makes you smile and enjoy it. 

Deserts, Beaches, Mountains and me

Tucson, Arizona (Mt Lemmon)

Two weeks of longing to sleep, two weeks laying in bed at odd hours of the night and going through each little piece of the puzzle. The road is blurry, the path I will walk is long and I am weary. But the road calls my name, seeking out adventure and pushing my mind, body and soul further each time.

I find myself in a new position, wanting to finish this adventure with the thoughts of what happens next already fixated in my mind. A seed has been planted for the opportunity to continue my vagabond lifestyle but with a subtle amount of calm and some routine sprinkled on top of it. Thats what happens when you meet a girl, someone you care about and want to see them strive but also to build something together. No longer do I dream of the roads travelled alone, I imagine sharing memories of laying under the stars holding her. Running into warm waters soaking our bodies and laughing or reaching the summit, holding her hand and looking out into the vast nothingness beyond. 

When I met Steph it was at an interesting time in my life. I had returned home from an 'adventure of a lifetime'. I got to ride 14,000 kms on my Triumph from Revelstoke, Canada through the mountainous path of the rockies all the way to Mexico. I got to finish by exploring the baja peninsula, a bucket list item for me. But in the end, I will remember doing that part alone. I know I should appreciate the opportunities and to cherish the memories, this is something a lot of motorbike riders plan to do in their retirements, a lifetime achievement. So what is next? What do I do when I finish riding to Canada?..

Well actually the path isn't clear, and I have created many opportunities for myself, but I do have some goals which will require a lot of patience and time and probably money to get off the ground. I have been inundated over the last year or so by friends and family and people who follow me on social media (some which are now close friends) and asked how I manage to survive, how do I make money on the road and keep traveling. But the truth is I dont, I have begun doing my photography, and some things are provided for me by sponsors, and some of my pictures are now beginning to be published in some publications, which is a great thrill, but I think the biggest opportunity right now is writing travel articles. Giving small ride reports to motorcycle magazines, doing reviews and basically trying to break out in a very competitive market. 

Right now I plan on returning back to BC, applying for my permanent residency, selling my trials motorbike and seeing my friends back there. Once I've done those things I will begin waiting for my PR to be approved and then hopefully I can return to Australia once the Summer in BC is over so that I can see about continuing a relationship there, but also beginning my own business in Australia. I will go into more details on that later, but it is based around motorcycles and being able to remain mobile to some degree. It is going to be an interesting year , I had no idea things would work out this way, but I sure am excited to push on and make it a year to remember. They seem to keep getting better! 

The adventure hangover

It's 5am, the window is open next to my bed and it's cold, dark and lonely. I can see the stars twinkling in the black night sky, as a cool breeze washes across my face and I bundle up in my blanket and try to close my eyes and drift back to a deep and peaceful sleep. But I cannot, my mind is racing, thinking about adventure. 

Since returning home from North America I have struggled to come to terms with staying put, a sedentary lifestyle reserved for those living 'normal lives'. I have become addicted to adventure, I crave it every day and I struggle when I am left in one place for too long (24 hours). It's an unusual thing to consider, but everyone has their certain quirks and until recently I never understood or appreciated my own. Of course I've contemplated why I do the things I do. Naturally when I'm out riding for weeks or months on my own, my mind drifts into some pretty amazing places and I begin to wonder what made me the way I am. However the last couple of months have been a 'roller coaster' of thoughts, emotions and experiences which I had not considered I would be faced with while back 'home' in Australia.

Recently my dilemma has been relationship based, and I think the fear or sharing what I do and the life that I live may have led to the demise of something so promising. A potential relationship with a friend who shared my dreams and passions, a person I admire and care about. She gave up so much, sacrificed a comfortable and happy life to throw caution to the wind and amazingly moved half way around the world with little to no hesitation. I was impressed, I couldn't believe this beautiful woman would be so adventurous. Unfortunately I made some poor life choices, and although honesty is always the best policy, sometimes confusion and bad timing can be detrimental to the delivery of it. I am fairly positive she will read this post. I am fairly sure she will be shaking her head in disappointment and maybe even shed a tear like I do at night when I feel the things I do because of my own resentment to not be able to properly control or communicate my feelings. But these are the mistakes we make in life, these are the lessons we learn and must take responsibility for, hoping that we continue to improve ourselves and to understand ourselves and life that little bit better each mistake we make.

I dont know what the future will hold, I anticipate that my time left in Australia will be brief and I am constantly working on opportunities to continue riding this Summer and next in North America, but the sand is pouring through the hour glass, my visa expires at the end of this year and if my application for permanent residency isn't granted in Canada, then all the work I have done on creating West Coast Wanderers the adventure tour company will be gone and I will begin searching for a new place to create the company and run tours in the future. Although I do love riding and taking photos' , I am beginning to fear I am not cut out for it full time or in the long term. My interests currently lie somewhere in between the two, making money writing adventure travel stories on a very sporadic level as well as improving my photography and sharing those pictures with the world of motorcycle riders while creating new tours to operate from a sort of home base would be ideal. 

I have lost the original direction of the blog, it is early in the morning though and my mind is adrift, so for that I apologise. I did have the intention to share how I felt about returning back to Australia, what it feels like to crave adventure constantly. One of the shocks of being in this position is coming to terms with the fact you cant just share it with everyone. People are so busy, I havnt been able to plan a single multi day trip with any of my friends since returning to Australia. Life goes on, people get married, have kids and all the rest of it, but for some reason I had hoped upon my return I would be invited to make plans with old friends, visit their favourite spots, go away to holiday homes and boat trips and fish and be active. This wasn't the case, and initially it got me down. This was coupled with the huge amount of time and energy I exerted into my brothers own personal issues made it extremely difficult for me personally to remain highly active. I was put into a rapid downward spiral and I hit rock bottom very quickly, grasping for the adventure which I had left behind. 

Since all of that happened and I made new relationships here in Australia I have turned it around the last few weeks, I have spent a lot more time focused on the things I love doing. Its an important lesson to never lose yourself in the journey of helping others. It's so important to be selfish sometimes and continue doing the things you love which make you, you. I have begun training for an endurance race in a months time and I have spent the last week out shooting photos to share which make me love the place I grew up. Although my life is based on the other side of the world now, I am always amazed when I return home and I'm able to smile as I look out at the Indian Ocean and admire how good we have it here in West Australia. 

 

Waiting, for the weight of responsibility

Although being home has an amazing amount of benefits, visiting friends and family, far and wide, all around Perth and the South West of my country. It sure doesn’t come easy. I left Canada a couple of months ago riding south to Mexico and was on such a high pulling out of the driveway I didn’t look back. I had built an amazing core group of friends who were passionate and positive and really lived healthy and happily. I had forgotten about the negativity that some people surround themselves in like a blanket of despair. Once its removed, it seems like it almost never happened. I look back at my own experience only a few years ago. I was broken down, heartless , soul-less, lost passion and love for those around me. I managed to lie and deny my depression to the one person you should ALWAYS remain honest with, YOU. Myself. I no longer knew myself, I didn’t see my reflection in the mirror looking back at me. I witnessed it happen at such a slow pace, I became acclimatised to the temperature of my own mood as if the seasons changed without me realising it.

When I left mining, packed up my things, told my girlfriend at the time we were leaving the country and headed towards a new life, my intention was to set out towards Canada. I realised that there was a lot of land to cover between West Australia and British Columbia so we connected the dots and visited several other places together on our voyage to the other side of the world. I had imagined after one or two years, we would be done with Canada, and we could return to Australia, where we were both ‘happy’, and begin our family. This was not the case, I began to see cracks. Not just in our relationship , but cracks in myself, she had taught me to begin to look within and identify sadnesses I had put off since the death of my father as a young boy. Slowly those cracks pulled apart and my mind flooded with feelings I hadn’t properly thought about or let myself experience for 20 years. The outcome of all this self analysis made me begin to accept that my relationship was making me miserable. Although that was untrue, I believed it at the time. 

I flew to Belfast, Ireland. I rented a little car and spent the next week alone, driving around the countryside. She had been left in England with her family while I was gone as she had already travelled Ireland and would be good to have the time alone with the nieces and nephew. Upon my return, I had discovered how miserable I was. I knew I had to end it, but the issue was we had already discussed our futures together. After a few years together we were sure this was it. We were committed and had plans for the future when we returned to Australia. 

Hurting the person you love is the hardest thing I was ever faced with. The idea that I had to tell my partner I no longer wanted to be in a relationship and to head off in life on separate paths broke me down. I vividly recall the evening as I sat there with her in her parents house in England. She sat on the edge of the bed and I was on the carpeted floor as we discussed our plans to book flights from New York to LA or Vancouver. I had been putting it off for a couple of weeks. I sucked in a few deep breaths, she continued to talk and had caught onto some of the tension in the air since I had come back from Ireland. I felt my heart breaking inside myself, imagining our lives apart. I loved this woman, I wanted to make it work, I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t happy and I was blinded by misery, all I could think was that I had the relationship to blame. I broke down crying. I sobbed into her lap and she was shocked. She held me as I wept and cried looking at her face, and I told her it was over. I could not continue to live the charade, pretending I was someone I wasn’t just to fit in. You could imagine her surprise and her reaction hearing the news, it crushed me to see her sink and to hurt her. But I still believe to this day that it was the right decision. I knew we could have both pursued this relationship until we were both old and laughed about it, but right now, a few years down the track, we are both on our way to living the lives we desired. 

I know now in hindsight, that it wasn’t her fault at all, I can recognise the breakdown and where it split and fell apart. I had broken myself down over years of being together and fighting for one another, I had lost who I was. I didn’t like who I was anymore, I wasn’t me. I fought to keep up together by working away and providing us both with a lifestyle that our friends continued to live, but my priorities were so different. I denied the basic fundamentals which forged who I was as a person, ignored what I loved and lost passion for the things which I spent my time on. The huge realisation for me was that time is my most important resource. It sounds stupid to say sometimes when I talk to people, but money / finances isn’t important , if ,you spend your time wisely. Although all the basic costs to survive must be bought, there are many others which can be provided by many means, if you’re time is spent fertilising those relationships which are productive and mutually beneficial. I won’t preach about that in this blog entry, but Im sure you can appreciate that, and if not, perhaps this isn’t the kinda blog which you’ll find interesting. haha. 

Since that failed relationship, I have became intensely more self aware, I have broken myself down and rebuilt myself as a person, as a man, as a mentor. I have sought out the things I love, rediscovered who I am, and focused all my time and energy on being inspirational and to be a productive member of society by sharing the things I love. Not everyone will agree with me, or the way I choose to live my life, I know members of my family don’t. And I think thats okay, I have accepted that right now lots of people will question my decisions. I encourage those people to come and openly discuss their own happiness, and also to evaluate their lives frequently on a deeper and personal level. I have accepted change, I thrive on change and being dynamic is a huge key to my happiness and my success. I hope these words ring true with some people and that you’re able to draw from what I’ve said. Empathise, and sympathise with me as I continue to learn.

I think I have learned a lot of things recently, since returning to Australia it has been quite emotional. I left on such a huge positive surrounded by people of the like. And I’ve returned to quite a lot of personal turmoil. Some of my family are struggling and I endeavour to be there for them and to provide some motivation and help out with basic needs while I’m here, also while nurturing my own growth in a new career and industry which spans 2 continents. But my message this entry is to always look within for the love you have for yourself, don’t attach your feelings onto external sources until you don’t bullshit yourself. Honesty and love will always win. 

WAKING UP AND THE SOBERING REALITY OF 'HOME'..

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Inevitably, after any big adventure or journey you will return home and a myriad of different emotions will envelope you. The common and cliche’ feelings which you will encounter are things which you can investigate, discuss, rationalise and communicate to other people. Then there are other things you learn, about the world and yourself which aren’t as easy to understand because they are planted deep within your own psyche, bubbling away waiting to have an external event to trigger it. I have uncovered a world of adventure which gives me constant excitement, living constantly on the edge, surrounded by new, wonderful things. I’ve often wondered why I get bored so easily and why I always need to be entertained. So, have filled my life full of these activities  which make my mind plan and plot and organise. Now I’m home I continue to do this, it’s a sort of addiction, fearful of what I will feel and think if I am left to my own devices with nothing to distract me. 

 

So, what now then? You’ve just had such an amazing adventure after selling everything you owned. You’ve come back, everyone has families, they’re married, kids, careers, houses, cars. Everything you left behind to chase the pink dragon down the road of constant adventure. You’ve come speeding back into a world full of rules, boundaries and expectations and you don’t have a realistic plan except to write a few articles in magazines and edit a bunch of video. I’ve been asked by most people, what now? The reality for me is that I don’t envision I will ever return to the life I once had. I actually don’t want that anymore, the core of who I am has shifted. But, after years of travelling and meeting thousands of people I have realised I want to share this with someone. This life I am leading is exciting, it is adventurous, but it isn’t alone. It may require someone that is unconventional, someone who is exciting and equally spontaneous. There is a part of my mind, heart and soul which craves to be able to enjoy the exciting things with someone else. I do have a little bit of a plan, I don’t really like sharing it too much because I hate the thought that it may not happen. Things change so rapidly in life these days it feels like a constant disappointment when you make a plan and then have to tell everyone, “oh, I’m not doing that anymore”. 

 

I will say , I am looking for somewhere to invest in, a block of land where I can have a ‘home’. Not in the traditional sense of the word, but more like a place I can return to, put my things, have my workshop with my motorbikes and my photography studio as well as a basic living space which is low maintenance and in the country somewhere. Ideally I will build a couple of small living quarters on the land, single bedroom style cottages or domes or something and have them quite self sufficient so that I can lock my own area up and let the other residence be rented out. In the meantime I plan to return to my little town down south which I call home, I will focus on my writing, my photography, my health and my family. My brother is down there with my niece and nephew, I haven’t been there to watch them grow up and as much as I love to travel and be the guy exploring the world on two wheels. I would be lying if I said I didnt love seeing my family and returning each time to learn more about them. One of the challenges of doing this kind of long term solo travelling is so hard to do any kind of research on, because everyone is so different. One persons experience can vary so greatly there really is very little purpose in trying to understand it. Just get out there and you will deal with it as you go.

 

On a very real note, several things are very clear and apparent. Without sounding too depressing or negative, two of my good friends here in Australia committed suicide whilst I have been touring around North America. Sadly, I was not there to see it, hear their cries or to mourn with my friends them when they left this world. Although they aren’t physically with us anymore, I know they exist. I know the memory of them will carry on with the feelings and thoughts we all share about them. 

I also had some of my best friends get married, have kids and / or move houses to very different parts of the country or world while I’ve been gone. So this has changed the dynamics of my home. It is interesting to be dropped into this as if you were there the whole time and try and catch up on all the happenings in a matter of weeks or days.

The city has changed, literally whole new buildings constructed, new areas developed and roads and highways put in. Which means more people coming to the city, slowly shaping the way people live and the people and experiences which occur daily. It really is a very multifaceted concept, moving home isn’t just what has changed me, but it really is about the entire community which I live.

 

Finally, I’m very excited about the opportunities which are being created and forged each day I am home. There are so many things I am learning about that I don’t know exactly what to expect or what plans to make. I will be me and I will try and educate others but at the same time I really feel I have some more learning to do. I want to listen and watch the actions of others to see what doors open and which one is right for me. If there is one thing I learned about the world recently, one token of wisdom to impart at the end of all this. The world is a good place, people are good and if you believe in that and believe in yourself, then everythings going to be alright.

 

 

 

falling on your own sword, the bitter end to a epic adventure

So the trip is over, all the friends, the memories are behind you. All the sunsets and beers on the beach are just a picture on instagram or a photo shared to someones wall. With so much technology at our fingertips keeping in contact with our friends far and wide is often far too easy. A double edged sword of sorts! I recall my first trip overseas to Thailand a long time ago now. I wrote a few emails, I took a few pictures and when I got back I shared all those things with my family and friends and it was amazing. These days I ride continually, I travel perenially and I update my social media at all opportunities. I guess secretly I do enjoy it, but knowing that people who care about me and where I am or what I'm doing can log on and check via so many platforms and see the pictures I share really gives me a buzz. 

I have always put a lot of effort into making good friends, I put a lot of energy into finding these people who compliment me, people who I can learn off, share experiences with, build relationships and forge life long trusting friendships. I've had the opportunity to make friends all over the world and being able to connect with these people with entirely different lives to mine reinforces why I do what I do. Somewhere deep down in my psyche, the part of me which strives to learn, the dark part of my brain that makes me grow so bored so easily but also urges me to challenge myself physically to go beyond the norm, I desire to fill it with cherished and deeper meaningful relationships. Searching the world for people who understand what I demand from life, I have found them, and they know of who I speak.

I never really set out this trip with a plan, lots of people asked me as I rode south from America and into the scary depths of Mexico (it wasn't scary at all), What is your plan? The honest truth was that I had none, at the time I wasnt so sure myself if I even wanted to continue with it, I had found so many good people in America and in particular Arizona, I was happy. I felt secure and home after months of travel and on the road. It's hard to imagine the "eat , sleep , ride, repeat" of life riding around America, but by the time I had gotten to the border I was excited to hangout and make friends and talk to people. So as I packed the bike up and prepared to head to the Baja, I felt a little unsure of myself. I had dreamed of riding the Baja desert for a long time, but I never imagined doing it this way, with a off road / sports bike by myself and camping on beaches as I moved along the Sea of Cortez. 

So where does that leave me now, I left Revelstoke , BC a couple of months ago. Nearly 14,000kms have passed under me as I toured through America then down Mexico and back to Arizona. I have camped by beaches, learned lots of Spanish, made many friends and have a tonne of pictures and video to remember the trip by but now I'm back reflecting on it all I cant begin to absorb the gravity of the entire adventure. I need more space and more time to let it sink in. Or perhaps I have taken too long and its all gone, preparing for the next adventure as I ride on still pursuing the lifestyle I dreamed of on the road. My ex girlfriend (who knew me better than most people) once said "Glen, you'll never be happy". I think she was referring to the fact that I dont stop to appreciate the things I have. I think she was pointing out that I get bored and as soon as I achieve one thing I have two more ready to go. One way of looking at that is that I'll never be happy, another way to perceive it would be that I am ambitious and constantly striving for my own happiness. Two sides of the same coin perhaps.

Honesty was something I touched on in the last blog entry, I also briefly talked about how I want to adapt this blog into something dynamic and brutally honest so that people who want to know the real me are able to come into my life and those who dont like it have the same opportunity to leave at any time. My belief is that by having an open channel to communicate through there will never be any means of deception, lying or confusion. I can speak my mind freely and anyone who chooses will know its unbias and that what I tell one person is the same thing the next person see's, reads, hears. It's a difficult transition, because we all hide some of our thoughts. Its natural, of course we subconciously filter out a lot of what goes on in our brain, fear that people will judge us and respond with sometimes unwarranted harassment. Also the truth often hurts people, of course there are people we know who wouldnt like to know some of our thoughts. But my point is that do we really want those people in our lives, and my choice is no. It's not an easy choice, it defy's everything I was brought up to believe and follow. But the last few years riding around the world has taught me how important relationships are in my life. I think time and people are the only things which really have any value and sadly we now live in a culture where we put so little value on those things, we spend our money and time on things which dont really matter to us. I believe this is where a lot of our societies 'depression' comes from. Our minds are fantastic at creating a false truth and lying to ourselves to make us feel happy. I lived it for a long time, until I split it open and searched for the truth. I had to face up to things which made me sad, made me cry, I broke down and crushed the heart and dreams of the woman I loved so that I could find myself again. Because loving someone begins with yourself. Find who you are, and you will find the path which leads you to the gates of happiness.

 

PS - all my blog posts are written freehand and are completely unedited - I accept there will be some spelling and grammatical errors because of this so stick with me and try keep this in mind when reading and replying to anything. I want it to be real and raw and I just write it down and press publish, its that simple. Also, I never claimed to be a writer. HAHA

Honesty.. Shaken, not stirred.

Adventure comes in many forms, we all define and understand the concept very independently. What I find adventurous others may find weak or others may think it's crazy. But I only know adventure on the seat of my bike, exploring the roads less travelled and meeting those which navigate a similar path.

I have been fortunate enough to discover some amazing places and reveal friends who would have remained strangers if I hadn't pushed myself to find them. Most importantly I've discovered myself. I guess it all begins back a few years ago when I started out on this journey, little did I know at the time that in 2016 I would have set out and done all that I have. I'm yet to meet another adventure rider who is as avid about making this a permanent lifestyle as I have, willing to sacrifice everything at whatever cost to maintain it. The relationships you have to forego and the ones you will yearn to see again are pre-requisites to continuing this life long adventure and there is a opportunity cost for all things. Often I hear the words, "you're so lucky" or "I wish I could do that". And I do think of myself as particularly fortunate to have been brought up with a good education in a country where life is so simple, I am almost spoon-fed to a point that is detrimental to oneself. Part of living such a sheltered life makes us ignorant to not only the dangers of living but the beauty of what taking risks involves.

I want to live a dangerous life, I want to feel the heat of the hot desert sun as much as I did the icey Alaskan waters when I plunged in with the icebergs adrift in the same body of water. I want to love and hate and feel the anguish of loss and not be subdued by the feelings of guilt for being honest when I know I am going to disappoint someone because they think I should do things differently. Eventually I intend on evolving this blog into a place where I can be completely honest. People can judge me on raw information which isnt tainted by the effects of what society believe or want us to be. Not the type of honest most people say they produce and lie about. I mean all those thoughts which you keep inside you because you're worried how it may effect someone else, when the truth is screaming at you behind clenched teeth. Eventually I will have such a life that only those who love who I really am will have any desire to associate with me because I have provided them with all the truthful information they require and I'll not need to hide it from anyone for any reason.

I think if you made it to here you are beginning to understand the kind of life and the reality I want to live in. Part of understanding me and what I do and why I do them will come from having a honest understanding of yourself. I believe that everything begins within you. Most people will never give themselves the time and energy alone to think and feel the way I have, withoutmany factors from the outside. But you will discover, if you are truly humble, caring and genuine in your existence then fear of the unknown will not scare or worry you. It will become something that will no longer concern you, but a motivating factor to investigate the different planes that life can peacefully & happily co-exist on.

I sit here in Arizona, on the other side of the world from my 'home' but I feel at peace. I dont feel like I'm a stranger because I am content to learn and thrive from those around me. Learning important life skills as I make my presence felt in other peoples lives. I have made it my mission to continue forward and taste the new cultures of Central America and to go with an open mind and heart even though part of it is still back in Canada. The excitement is shadowed by the reality that I have already excepted I want to share this kind of dream with another. I'm sure those of you who have someone else in your lives are aware, that even the sweetest sunset means very little until you can look at the eyes of a loved one and know they saw it too.

Learning about life, on and off the road

Its impossible for me to begin to describe the ride, the journey. I'm sure someone more capable at describing life and all its intricacies in impecable detail could somehow formulate a story which captivates its readers. I cannot process all the places and the people just yet. There was far too much happening each day to truly explain.

I can however tell people about how amazing it is to have the opportunity to do this 'ride of a lifetime'. In the last few years whilst riding around and traveling the world I have met dozens of grown and mature men, who are later in their lives, that have dreamed of doing this exact trip for decades. And sadly,  most will never actually succeed in doing so. I can tell them it is possible, but for something like that to be true, we must first prioritise our needs and wants. Then we must sacrifice others to create the time to do such a thing. That is the opportunity cost of living this way, a life on the road.

I began the trip a few weeks ago , excited about the prospect of riding with another member. I had not spent this much time with one person before on such an epic trip. I have done it alone, but I was adamant to create this memory to share with someone. Tim had never ridden for this length , from all evidence since then I can only assume he hadnt ridden anywhere near enough to tackle such a great adventure and may have bitten off more than he could chew. But although I had over estimated his experience or ability, I respect him for wanting to do it so much that he would do it anyway. Sadly, it ended badly on the last day of our trip, the day before he was due to fly back home to Australia he was involved in a accident on the road. He's okay, the bike is ruined. I dont think there is much point in going into the details of the accident, but in that moment that I was accelerating out of the tight banked corner heading back into town from Saguaro National Park I heard the screeching of brakes and I knew something had happened. I went into survival mode and swung around and dodged back through the traffic to find the motorbike pancaked under the front end of the dodge ram. Tim had gotten up at this stage but was in shock. I was instantly glad to see it was a motorbike and not a human I was pulling out from under the truck , but you cannot help but feel saddened and annoyed by the loss of my pride and joy. That bike I had ridden all around North America and shared so many memories with was tangled up and busted and bent with all its parts hanging off it.

With all that said and done, it was an amazing trip of a lifetime. Although the ending was not scripted to happen, these things happen for a reason. I truly believe for whatever reason that other opportunities will arise from this situation. I believe that there is good that can come out of bad circumstances and Im constantly looking for a silver lining and trying to focus on the future ahead, not to dwell on what has occurred. I realise I could get mad, but there just isnt any point. I have some amazing things coming up with the ride down through Mexico and heading to Indonesia to see Sara & RB then home to Australia for Xmas ! Really, anything is possible next year, 2017 looks to be incredible and I would love to spend more time focusing on bringing out more video but right now I'm struggling to capture the things I want to. My mind thinks in still photography and I'm confident capturing the shots I want to get, but when it comes to video, its entirely different with so many other challenges while I'm riding. I respect all these other riders out there who have come up with a way to document and share what they do , trust me, it isnt easy!

I think right now I just have way too much to say, I have so many things on my mind this week since returning to civilisation and settling in and absorbing the entire trip and then the accident, it may take a few different blogs to really scratch the surface of what I'm trying to say. A lot of the time it will probably not make a lot of sense, so to anyone patient enough to read these, I applaud you! I think I am fairly ADD when things like this are concerned, I have no ability to remain focused and my mind jumps around to so many things. I will point out ALL of the blogs I post are straight from my head, they are entirely unedited, just a rough draft.. It probably doesnt surprise anyone because of the poor sentence structure, but my high school english teachers probably will laugh that nothing has changed!

I want people to know what life on the road is like, I want the blog to be an open journal about my experience with riding the world on two wheels, but most importantly I want it to expose the hardships faced psychologically. The many different aspects of the psyche, what pushes people to make this life work, why my mind creates situations which are often physically challenging and mentally exhausting, just to get from A to B. I hope people can read this and learn about challenges faced in any manner of living, no matter if you're riding or if you have a bad day in the office. To understand that each person faces so many problems but its how we choose to over come them which defines us.

I am fortunate enough to have reached so many special people on all corners of the globe, I have traveled far and wide and made a concerted effort to contact and befriend people who inspire and motivate me to be the best person I can. Sometimes I'm fortunate enough for a woman to enter my life, one which challenges the norm, a special person who could be be the missing piece in the puzzle of life. So far none have completed that, but I remain vigilant that one day I will be able to share the adventurous life I live with a person who understands the way I am, loves what motivates me and encourages me to push harder rather than accept what I have. It is no secret when I meet these people, friendships or relationships, I try my best to keep it open and honest and help them succeed at their goals. That is important to me, because when I have influenced someone positively I get a sense of pride and that I have achieved my goals. We are all here for a reason, I still think I can change one persons life, and hopefully many more.

The storm before the calm..

Here I am, days out from the biggest adventure I have ever set out on and yet I feel relatively calm, my thoughts are hectic at moments but in general I find myself sitting here pondering on the roads set out in front of me. The national parks I will explore and the corners on the winding roads I will lean deep into on my dream motorbike. Often I find myself wondering how this all happened at all. What little decisions I made that set off a chain of events that led my to be in this position at all, and that makes me smile down inside. It brightens my day and it makes the inner child content.

I guess when I reflect on life, knowing that this trip is dangerous and that life is forever changing and dynamic, I look at those around me and I'm intrigued to know whether everyone else feels the same about their personal decisions and how each minor choice they make is a direct reflection of where they now stand. I dont think that people take enough responsibility for those things, they underestimate the power of choice. I guess I have been able to witness in my travels what the opposite effect is. Being able to explore some of the 'poorer' countries and live side by side (often literally) has taught me how the choices we experience are so different to a majority of the world. Theres close to 7 billion humans on this earth right (dont quote me on that) and I would think that only at best estimate 1 billion live close to first world conditions. Therefore, there are 6 billion out there who live entirely different lives to us, they have different social systems, they have rules and laws and customs entirely alien to us. So its no wonder to me that their decisions are not aligned with our own and for that reason we cannot understand it.

I think about these things when I'm alone in my helmet, riding the back country and lighting the fire in the evening I cook my dinner and watch the flames dancing on the rocks and I ponder. I dont believe there is many people out there that I know of who spend so much time alone, and I actually do believe that it has taught me a sense of self realisation and understanding that often we don't want to know. I look around at the relationships, both romantic and plutonic that I have forged the last few years traveling and exploring the world and I see something in common in all these countries. People create distractions for themselves. It is human nature to make up these things to keep them preoccupied and to make them interested or interesting to other people around them. I think if we were to spend more time by ourselves - I dont mean a week long vacay to Mexico at a catered resort. I mean actually alone, without social interaction. Even if only for a couple of days, to wander into the wild, to go somewhere new and challenge yourself. These are the moments I have grasped and the things that I have become addicted to and fabricated my new life around. There isnt anything I wouldnt try (within reason). I dont live in fear of the unknown, I embrace it and I challenge others to do the same. Lately I've heard the word inspirational many times directed at my efforts, and the reality is that I actually forget what I'm doing isnt normal. I dont even sit and think about it, I just want to keep pushing myself and creating new opportunities doing the things I love. Fortunately I am lucky to have done it long enough to get noticed. But it never motivated me, it never made my decision to continue riding.

I think that people should challenge themselves, I think that people reading this want that and for those who are out there really pushing themselves and taking risks I can respect that. Life isn't going to come and take you for a ride, you have to grab it by the balls, tell it what you want and take it for yourself. It will take sacrifices, it will be tough, and you will lose 'friends'. But this is all part of the experience of life. I implore people to go out and do something you really love the people who are actually important to your life will still be there, supporting those decisions when you fall and enjoying your successes for the right reasons. 

I have a few days left before I conquer something I set in my mind over a year ago, alot has changed and its been a huge challenge. I failed at some things along the way, but as a person I have grown. I will be thinking of my dad this week, I will be thinking of my mum and the rest of my family back home. I cant hide away from the fact that this will be a dangerous ride at times but if the alternative is not risking it to live safely, then it is no decision at all.

Finding friends in unusual places..

So it occurred to me randomly whilst sitting at Thomas' kitchen table, if life always worked out, I would not have been sitting here with some great new friends having an excellent experience and in the end it was just what I needed.

Lets rewind a little bit to a few weeks ago when I set off from Vancouver with the intention to meet up with a friend of a friend down by the Oregon border and ride the Washington Backcountry Discovery Route from south to north back to British Columbia. I was disapointed again, I committed, made plans, put all the hard work, effort, energy and money up to do this trip and at the last minute was left sitting in Bellingham with no real destination. At first I was mad, but in hindsight it was one of the beginning of a shift in life events which has led me to some great new opportunities and the unfolding of some quite unique events. I never would have disappeared into the Washington back country alone and ridden through snow in Mt Baker. I wouldn't have continued south and ride the cascade mountain route and met some crazy cool climbing guys and laughed and tested my metal on the highway. I wouldnt have the experience of arriving in Leavensworth after a 12 hour day riding through torrential rain, pulling into MacDonalds and finding wifi to message Jesse in Everett to tell him I was too tired to continue pushing through to the coast. It was then that events began to turn, he commented "why dont you visit the touratech rally in Plain".

Little did I know those little circumstances led me to meeting guys like Austin (riding from Arizona to Alaska, inexperienced on bikes and off road but full of adventure).

Sitting on Greyback Mountain on the eastern perimeter of Penticton, I posted a photograph to the west coast wanderer page and got a reply from Thomas saying he lived right there and I was in his back yard !! Purely by coincidence. I wouldnt have been there if these things hadnt happened and I wasnt there showing Austin around and finding campsites. It just really goes to show that having a positive outlook and remaining focused on whats important is really what matters. Things wont always "work out". Sometimes the best thing that can happen is not what you wanted in the beginning at all.

I think I'm beginning to learn what is most important - I have spent more time alone than the normal man has, or probably should and I think all this time has allowed me the opportunity to focus on myself but also to look inside myself and realise who I really am. I meet people in cities these days and I always feel they are blocking out so much of life and how they really feel. My impression is that we as humans often create drama and excitement to block those things out and to ignore the reality of who we are. We must fall in love with ourselves first before others can truly love us, and that is different for each person. Not everyone wants to camp in the back country alone for weeks on end like I do , I appreciate that. But do what makes you happy, follow your dreams and be honest with yourself.

Ive had a rough few weeks, to be honest, as much as I've enjoyed meeting new people and exploring the country before I set off on another huge adventure in a couple of weeks, I have lost a couple of close people. Sad as it is, these are people who were dear to me and due to certain circumstances things dont always work out. I am confident it will work out in the end , I am employing my own advice and looking for the silver lining to these broken friendships and relationships and I am trying to be there for those people and others who are in need. I feel for everyone and continue to try my best to make people in my life happy and support them doing the things they love. You know who you are.

For now I will share that wisdom with you, hoping that you all are able to believe in yourselves too and to take a step back sometimes when it would appear that things arent going your way. Try focus on the good in every situation and see how it could be done better and learn from it.

 

isolation by solo off-road travel

Okay, how many times have you gone off into the wild alone, for multiple days with no real plan, no map and actually just sat and thought about life, about yourself. Left alone with your thoughts, no roads, no towns, no friends or family, no influence from outside. Sitting there in a hammock, isolated from society with the view of the mountains beyond the trees as the sun sets in the distance, I can tell you, your mind begins to think up some amazing and wonderful things. It crosses itself and dances around so many thoughts its hard to plot them or keep track as it races to solve all of lifes mysteries.

I wish I was a better writer, I dont know anything about it and in fact simply putting myself here in front of this laptop to jot down a few of my thoughts is daunting. When asked by all the people why I dont write, often my reply is that I'm shit at it. I think its quite possible I am either dyslexic, or ADD or both. haha. Which leads me back to what I was saying a minute ago, your mind is an incredible tool, most of us are so caught up in living our lives we dont often sit back and allow the brain to just process what is going on around us.

I have began to realise that my circumstances are quite rare, and the story which surrounds me is something which should perhaps be told. I have began to realise the important of documenting some of these things, and more specifically, the way a young mind reacts when put in certain scenarios which arent common. I think alot of adventure riders who do document their travels around the world well, are in fact of the older generation, which is awesome and I love connecting with all travelers and riders of any age. But, I think they experience the isolation differently and their minds are at a different place when they do it too. So I would like to share my experiences and my thoughts which I encounter as I begin riding more and more but also as I get better with the blog lifestyle.

So, I just returned from a rather nice ride from Vancouver I spent those couple of weeks riding around Vancouver Island and then I came back to the mainland and cruised down into Washington to ride the back country discovery route with a guy who we had mutual friends down there. We intended to meet in the south and ride north together but once I arrived in Washington he surprised me with a text saying he would have to cancel the ride with me, which is a shame but I'm beginning to realise how flakey other riders are. So I took that opportunity to go out and explore some of the back country alone, but I didnt have any maps I just wanted to ride around and see what things came up.

I spent a week riding around the cascades and even randomly ended up at the touratech rally in Plain , Washington which was an awesome experience. We rode for a few days and connected with a heap of adventure guys down there. I will write up another entry based on the rally itself with a bunch of pictures.

At the Rally, I met with Austin (live_4_adv), a young guy from Florida on his first long distance motorbike trip. He was headed North to Alaska, so we teamed up and headed on our way together. It was a pleasure hanging out with him and getting to show him a few little things I had picked up about riding along the way. At first he was super scared of the prospect of bears and things in Canada, by the time I left him in Johnson Lake . BC I think he had settled down a bit and was happy to be camping alone for a night.

I continued on and now I find myself back in Vancouver, its been a while since I had an entry and putting SO much into one blog is silly.. I need to capture the thoughts I'm having at the immediate time, but I didnt have my journal or my laptop with me on the latest trip, which made it difficult. Anyway, I'm back in the city briefly, this weekend I'll see a lot of my old friends from my time living here in 2014 and then afterwards I'll head off to Chilliwack to visit Norm ! the best KLR guy on earth. We plan on doing some work on the bike together and preparing it for a ride I'm planning with a couple of guys from BC. I have to consider how I'm going to get my truck and trials bike back to Revelstoke and do all this riding though as well as sell the trials bike.. oh, thats another big event ... No trials guinness world record... sorry guys. It really has gotten ridiculous, I've had so many people commit and change their minds in regards to the record attempt its been impossible for me to plan certain aspects of it. At this point in time I will not be able to pursue it any further, so I will postpone it for now in the hope that I can find a good group of people to attempt it in the future, or something very similar. But it allows me to plan other things, and it also means heading to Mexico on the continental divide trail alot sooner than planned! And im super excited to go adventure new parts of America after a couple of summers just riding the mountains in BC. Theyre amazing, but I get bored easily and riding alone is usually the reason.

So for now, I guess I'll add some new pics up!! tidy up, and sort my stuff out. I want to go more in depth with the whole psychology of riding alone, but today isnt the day for it, so keep reading and keep riding safe !! hope to see you in the back country.

 

Snow in June, remembering why I love the Kootenays and camping in a bus.

It's been one of those weeks, I left Vancouver on a relatively normal day, it was trying to be sunny, I checked the weather forecast for the next week in the Okanagan Valley and it seemed like it could get cool, but I wanted to try out some of the new gear as it would be used when I was off road. I packed pretty light, just wore a icebreaker base layer, some grey outdoor research hiking pants and my outer shell in case it rained but also to break the wind a little and my favorite hoorag to stop my neck and face getting cold. I had opted not to wear my full face helmet with the integrated headset for GPS and music, I picked up my dual sport helmet forgetting that I didnt have ear plugs which was a bad idea.

I rode without really thinking too much on what I would be doing whilst out there, my initial plan was to just get there, catch up with Jen, do some riding around and see what happened. I didnt know what was in store really and have enjoyed the freedom recently of not planning too much. Usually I meticulously plan my trips, at the moment I am just heading in one direction and seeing where I end up. Although it can be stressful, its actually proving excellent for the simple reason I dont expect too much. Recently I have had a string of bad luck trying to get people I meet to commit to anything and it's been really frustrating. So I think this approach was well over-due.

I got in touch with Sara , a friend from Dunsborough (back home) and we had made a loose plan to catch up as her and RB were back in Nelson and I had just missed them whilst out on Vancouver Island. I mentioned it to Jen when I got to Vernon and we set about heading in that direction when she had some time off work. Originally we had talked about doing some hiking and climbing or something if we had 4 days but Jen had picked up some needed extra shifts and would only allow us to have a quick 2 day trip around the Kootenays. It turned out to be ample time to get a taste and remember why I fell in love with the area a couple of years ago. It reminded me why I moved there and couldnt leave. We packed up her jeep and hit the highways out of Vernon, made the little needles ferry across the lake and got out to Nelson in time to share a meal with RB's family who welcomed us into their home, and provided us with such an awesome place to stay!! Tri (his step dad) had been a candle stick maker for years and converted an old bus into a touring vehicle. Now it remained parked up in the yard but was such a cool experience being able to set up and enjoy a fire there then retire to the comfort of a bus on a cool evening, it was bliss.

We got spoiled to pancakes in the morning and then we chilled out in the hot springs nearby before stopping for lunch on the lake. Just as we finished though the heavens opened up again and we hiked back up the path in the rain, we all laughed it off though and was sad to say goodbye to our little adopted family. I cant wait to see Sara and RB again in Indonesia and get some waves with those two crazy kids! I'm sure we'll be back out there hanging with his folks when I make it to Nelson next time too.

When I got back to Vernon there was a cool campsite out at Ellison, but it was so full we had to get the last place we could. A young couple on harleys came by and instantly bonded with them so I spent the next couple of days doing some short day trips around the Okanagan and made them coffee in the mornings. It turns out, Mark actually had shared my post that went viral a long time ago without knowing or recognising it was me and messaged me yesterday laughing about it. Small world! Lani said she was riding back to Vancouver on the Monday, so I stayed an extra night in Vernon to ride back together which was the first time Ive ridden any distance with someone else in a long time. I do miss it. We had no real issues, only a tiny bit of rain but once we reached the Coquhalla pass the temperature dropped right off and apparently was 1/2 degrees celsius. We had to pull over at one point and layer up a bit, I lent her my other gloves to put on over the top and we rolled on through to Merritt for the worlds longest coffee at starbucks !!

I'm back in Vancouver now and have been enjoying a couple of days off the bike, as well as planning parts of the next adventure. Its tough to enjoy the moment and live in the future at the same time whilst traveling, riding and documenting everything. Im not bitching about it, I just never realised it took all this energy to do it and be organised. Maybe I need a better system. But Chris and Tim took me in and have offered me a air mattress here in North Van for a couple days and allowed me the freedom to catch up on a few things, do washing, get sleep on a bed, shower, charge my batteries on all my electrical stuff and organise my thoughts and the truck! haha.

Tomorrow I head south, I have no idea where I will end up, I dont have a plan or a destination or even a map to look at .. I do recall seeing some roads a while back down in Washington which looked pretty awesome, I think the 101 highway was one of them, so I may head in that general direction and just kind of see where I end up. I want to be back in BC by the end of the month to catch up with Cristobal Ruiz, a photographer and film maker I met recently through Erin, so we can go on a little adventure, make a short film and take some shots out in the back country and hopefully do a bit of riding and hiking along the way. Im excited about heading south into new territory, but also a bit worried. I know I will have to get another US sim card so I can use data this week while off roading, I havnt got around to buying a GPS ( I couldnt decide on one so it hasnt happened) and without a map or anything, I guess the mature , rational me thinks of what may happen. But, for now, this is going to be called "the blank cheque tour"... a first of many in the series of unplanned adventures. I am sure of one thing, it will be packed full of adventure, and I will be fine (MUM haha).

 

Juan de fuca trail + sunsets on the ocean

I guess I came to the island for adventure. Vancouver island is touted as being some of the best hunting, hiking and back country access that the world has to offer, for free!

Initially my plan was to come out here, park the truck and unload the bikes and disappear into the wild for a few weeks, living from my truck and backpack. I wanted to test out the range (capacity) of the Beta 270cc 2 stroke trials bike I picked up a while ago while out in Calgary. To be honest, I dont like it, I rarely enjoy riding it. So it seems particularly strange to me that I would attempt something nobody has ever done before, especially because I have basically no previous experience riding in trials.

So, the outcome of all the time, energy and money spent to get the bike out here and find the right trials and actually explore the island is that I didnt do what I intended. I arrived on the island with Manolo, my Mexican friend from Vancouver. We were to meet Graham and a bunch of other people we connected through the Vancouver activity group that I created back in 2014 and has now expanded to nearly 6,000 members around the area who meet up and have good fun. A great way to get to know people without any of the pressure as some other online meet up sites. And the key I think to this is that its all open and online. There is no secrets and anything untoward is reported and the people are banned. Everyone is safe, and in the 2 years I have been the sites main administrator, have not heard of any particularly bad situations. Anyway, I digress, I suppose I should have done a lot more riding on the trials bike. But in all reality, I didnt enjoy riding it much. Ive had nothing but issues riding it, I'm scared to go further than a few kilometres away from the truck in case it breaks down as it does nearly every time I ride it.

The trials bike was a complete experiment. It all started last year when Ritchie decided to pull the pin on our ride we planned to Mexico. I came back so shattered that everything I had done for basically a year was in vain. I mean I got to meet a lot of people and spend many evenings scouring over maps and things which will be handy this year when I atttempt to ride it all alone, but I really was looking forward to sharing a adventure with someone. I've still yet to ride any length of time with another person. I never suspected that it would take so much effort to connect with people who would commit so something. After all this time, I still have not experienced true motorbike travel with another human being, despite having the freedom to travel anywhere and anytime. Dont get me wrong, I appreciate the freedom I have, but the downside which most people dont understand, or cannot comprehend, is that trying to make plans and work around other people is only easy in theory. Its so much more work than I ever imagined, just to make a date and get people to commit to something.

So , we hiked the Juan de Fuca trail, I loved the challenge, it was the first decent hike I've done in a while and I was hurting after the first 20km section to get to the beach but it felt good, nothing makes a boring can of tuna or mac'n'cheese taste better, than carrying a 40lb backpack loaded with a few days worth of gear and camping equipment, up and down and over creeks. It was like a gourmet meal when you opened the can and added some salt , pepper and cayenne (the only condiments we had between us). Unfortunately, Manolo hurt his knee, he exerted himself too much on the first day pushing to the beach to set up camp that he struggled on the second day, we arrived late at sombrio beach as he could not descend properly. He was forced to go backwards alot to get down stairs and obstacles and by the time we got to Sombrio I made the executive decision to pull out. I would stay with Manolo at Sombrio and take him to Port Renfrew, where we had parked the truck and then be able to pick it up and drive it to China Beach to load the motorbike on before delivering him to the ferry. It was a shame we couldnt complete the final day with the rest of the guys, but we got to meet a group of teachers on the beach who were there on their "8th annual May long weekend boys adventure". We hung out with them and told stories and sat around the fire, so we had a fun time and then as we arrived ready to hitch hike to Port Renfrew, we made friends with Norm, a rigger from Invermere who was there with his wife and young daughter. Coincidentally, he was was dropping his truck at PR and then needed a ride back to Sombrio, so it worked perfectly.

I left PR and headed to Nanaimo, I campedbit and I got to catch up with Lizzy and she came out and did some caving with me which was cool, and then we parted ways and I headed toward Tofino. On the way out there I ran into Gary. Oh, how the random stories continue, I swear every day something different happens , makes me wonder how many pages I would have if I had been doing this the last few years as I adventure around the world. But, probably alot of them shouldnt be put online! Gary was broken down in the pouring rain, I pulled over and checked on him, his f250 had some issues, and conveniently he had two young kids in his truck which he had picked up in Port Alberni. What a ride. A minute later a police officer had pulled over to make things interesting, she checked all the papers but realised I was just pulled over helping, she took pity on me because I hadnt put the new sticker on my truck. haha. We took off and eventually after a few more stops we left his truck on the side of the highway in the rain, got the other two a lift with some randoms driving by and I gave Gary a ride back to secret beach! I stayed out there a couple more nights, it was great, I spent some time relaxing and walking along the beach and eating fresh oysters off the beach, it was delightful. I knew I had to get out of there though, I couldnt spend any more time on the beach there and it was costing $21 a night which isnt what I'm used to for camping.

I made it without any issues into Tofino, but the rain was pouring down, at the time I thought it would stop pretty soon, but I was wrong.
I met up with Tina for a coffee and walked Izzy along the beach and generally hung around. I adopted the position of house wife and made all the meals and tidied up around the house! I am so thankful she took me in, it rained for 3 days and she was fully equipped with a spare room and absolutely no pressure to take off. It was nice getting to hang out, I offered to help out at her store but she has it under control so I spent most my time working on this website and trying to not get in the way! haha. In the end Izzy took a shining to me, she was cuddling me a lot and wouldnt eat her food unless I touched it and shook it first which was cute. haha

Although I wasnt able to achieve a great deal in Tofino, it was well needed. After a very busy and fast paced couple of weeks moving around, I got to sit and take it all in. I met some locals and got a feel for the place. Overall, I liked it alot, but I dont think I could live there permanently. With the rain like that I would go insane. Perhaps I could live for half the year when its kind of nice, and the remainder I could live back in Australia and enjoy hot summers. I dont know, just a thought!! :)

So, I took off from Tofino and popped in to see Gary and Rain back at secret beach. I had not been gone long but it was like catching up with old friends. They cooked me lunch and we hung out. We went to a local swimming hole and enjoyed the first sunny day in what seemed like weeks, and then they went home and I set up camp. About the time it was getting dark, Cody and Chris arrived, two young guys from Tofino. We lit a fire and sat around enjoying the view, perched over the abandoned mine which was a beautiful colour. We laughed and shared a beer and ate smokies. Ahh the camp life.

Since then I have been camping and riding around Bamfield, there was some nice roads out there and I got a great view of the inlet from one of the logging roads, but over all the scenery in the rockies is hard to beat and I find myself missing the selection of roads back in Revelstoke which offer amazing vistas. I just got back into Nanaimo, and sitting enjoying a few taster beers while I wait for Lizzy to finish work and off to get some sushi before my early morning ferry to Vancouver tomorrow, I'm excited to get back and catch up with Jen after she returns from Nepal!! what a mad woman. I think Tim, Chris and myself are going to hike up Lyn peak as well which is an old fav for me. I used to hike it almost weekly.

 

Leaving Revelstoke and the journey ahead

I packed up the truck, an old 1994 Ford F-150. I loaded all my lifes possessions into it and left the town I have called home for the last 18 mths.
I arrived in Revelstoke last year with the intention to stay for a Winter season and then hit the road with a bike in the Summer. At the time I had planned for Ritchie to arrive from Australia and I would be able to spend all the time before then just reading maps and organising my new life in Mexico. We imagined we would surf and ride our bikes until we found a suitable spot to settle, maybe start a hostel or surf school or something. After all, neither of us wanted to settle back into the life of a "9 to 5".

Turns out life had thrown me a curve ball. After the Winter had finished and it seemed Ritchie may not arrive until the end of Summer, I took it upon myself to not only plan the trip for 2 big adventure bikes but I would use my time exploring BC and mapping out a tonne of off-road routes all around the back country. That led me to the realisation of how amazing and overwhelming it all really was. I spent the entire Summer of 2015 with 2 things on my mind.

  1. ride , camp and have as much adventure in my life as possible
  2. look at the possibility to begin an adventure tour company to showcase it to the world.

Out of those two things, both were achieved. I spent the whole time figuring out how to make a business on the other side of the world and any spare time I was out riding and exploring the wilderness. I got to spend so much of my time camping and riding that I filled up my SD cards and dread the thought of how much time I am going to need just to scratch the surface of all the material that is on them.

Since then ALOT has changed. Ritchie came and went. Unfortunately due to a previously sustained back injury he wasn't in the right condition to complete the journey and after two weeks of riding around BC getting familiarized with the bike and terrain he decided to call it quits and head back to Portugal where he resides. I have been fortunate since Ritchie has left to continue riding and actually be approached by some fantastic sponsors who have given me the opportunity to showcase their things and continue riding the places I love.

The last couple of weeks since pulling out of my little mountain town I have gotten a renewed sense of life, and inspired me to continue going on this journey of riding. I have camped in some amazing back country on the slowest route possible to Vancouver. I spent a couple of nights out near Kelowna and then headed South near Keremeos and Hedley where I spent a few nights on the River and riding the KLR650 in the mountain ranges there exploring some abandoned gold mines.

I then moved camp and Jen joined me out by the Chilliwack River for a few nights. We hiked Mt Thom and Lindeman Lake, and rode our mountain bikes around and generally just absorbed outselves into the nature that exists out there, only 20km away from Chilliwack itself.