When I tell my friends of this project to cross the Americas on my motorcycle, I see all kinds of reactions but they are all similar to this example: “You are leaving for six weeks to Argentina, that’s just amazing! “. I gently respond, “No, no, not six weeks, I’m leaving for 6 months from Montreal to Argentina on a motorcycle…”. The surprise is alway visible in their eyes and the same question keeps popping up: why?
Obviously a simple question that I ask myself as well. The answer however, is not so simple.
I have worked since I turned 18. I had a long career in public services. I have served the citizen, my bosses, the union.
I retired 3 years ago and I was planning to leave then, but a unique opportunity to work in a software company presented itself and I could not refuse. It was a completely different field from my first career, but one that excited me as much, if not more.
It proved to be the good choice and an incredible experience. I learned a lot and I thank the young incredible people I worked with for their support and their loyalty. But let’s back up a little further back.
About ten years ago, I drove passed a BMW motorcycle dealer and I made the mistake of dropping in, you know, “just to see”… Right away, I was convinced that the BMW R1200GS was for me, not necessarily for my love of motorcycling. I owned a few bikes in my youth, but the real reason was because it connected with a particularly unyielding passion of mine: Adventure.
I love to travel.
I love discovering new places, cultures, people. I like to find myself on a new mountain and hike to the summit, or losing myself walking city and discover its neighborhood, small restaurants and shops.
Because I started to work at a very early age, this passion has therefore emerged a little late. I first visited Europe, but my travels to South America are the ones that made me discover a very different society that piqued my curiosity. Of all the countries visited, it was Argentina that caught my interest. During a few long stays in Buenos Aires, I learned language and always kept a very close relationship with this country.
The need to travel is part of the explanation that drives me in this adventure.
I’ll be turning 50 in September. I still feel young, but still, 50 years old is 50 years old! There are always reasons to prevent us from living our dreams. This is certainly a motivation not to wait any longer.
Also, life in a big city like Montreal is incredible.
The vibe is exciting. My neighborhood is full of life, I have a comfortable house, an incredible girlfriend, amazing friends.
I have everything anyone could dream of having (well, from my perspective!)
But yes, there is another side to this story. Here, everything goes very fast. Stress, traffic, noise, obligations. While we are blessed with beautiful large parks and old trees, I live surrounded by concrete, asphalt and brick.
I miss mother nature (la Pacha Mama as said in Peru!)
I need to try to reconnect with nature, silence. A improvised night of camping, or even hiking a summit to a mountain I don’t know by name. Perhaps, I even need not being comfortable for a few months, to better appreciate what life has to offer me in my hometown.
This is certainly a big part of the equation.
The next thing that comes to mind is Winter. Gilles Vigneault, a well-known lyricist in my province of Quebec, aptly describes our region: “My country is not a country, it’s winter …”.
This Quebec reality has made us a people living mostly indoors, especially in winter. When spring arrives, it’s mean the end of hibernation and we dare leave the tip of nose outside to see if it will freeze or not. And summer still ends up at some point. Although they are amazing in our nordic country, winters can be tough and personally, even though I love playing hockey and the season changes, I find it (more and more with the years passing) long and difficult.
This trip will be a quest for was 12 months summer for 2016/2017! A little bit like telling my mom: I’m going outside to play, for 6 months!” without the pain of freezing my toes.
Finally, the last word that comes to mind is freedom.
I worked 30 years to please everyone, to help my bosses in their projects, and kept time to live my dreams during the holiday periods, often having to be planned months in advance.
I now need to stop serving others, and have a project of my own. One that can see me fail without having any impact on my bosses, my clients, my employees. Just me.
And I need this project not to have to do anything with money or my career.
I feel like getting up every morning and having only to think of one thing: heading south and discovering all that there is between here and the end of the road in Patagonia.
This is what pushes me to beat my fears and jump into this adventure.
Because of course, fears exist!
Will I have mechanical problems, fall, get sick, will I get robed, will I run out of money, will I be cold or hot, get lost, will I miss my girlfriend, my family and my friends? The answer is most probably YES to most of these questions, but it is precisely the challenge to tackle them, one by one, that will make this trip unforgettable, create memories and hopefully, help me to become a better person.
The next posts will describe how to plan and prepare for decreasing the risks to a maximum!
Preparation of a motorcycle trip that will last for more than 6 months and on a distance of over 20000 km is not made lightly. This is certainly not an improvisation exercise and requires careful and meticulous planning in order to minimize risks and ensure that the time spent travelling is ... Read more