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.