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-   -   Adventure now OR bike now & adventure later (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/travellers-questions-dont-fit-anywhere/adventure-now-bike-now-adventure-53484)

stephen.stallebrass 29 Oct 2010 21:08

Adventure now OR bike now & adventure later
 
OK so I've got some money saved and my work contract ends before the new year, so I'll be unemployed by 2011. My plan was to fly to the USA, buy a cheap bike and tour for a few months, stealth camping along the way and living cheap. When I ran out of cash I'd sell the bike and head for home.

My dilemma is whether I should continue with this plan or use the money I have saved to buy the bike I really love, get another job, save some more money and do a more ambitious adventure next year - RTW perhaps? I might even be able to do a bit of touring more locally around the UK and Europe to quench my thirst until then.

I've been a mature student for 5 years with the last 18 months just working a poorly paid dead end office job whilst finishing off my post grad studies and saving for the aforementioned trip. I'm not yet on the career ladder and I've had a change of career interests but I do want to crack on with life and get a proper job. Trouble is I really don't know what I want to do anymore... I do have interests and options but they'll all entail a commitment.

All I do know is that I want to ride and that my impending unemployment is a good opportunity to get out there and travel. However, the idea of getting my dream bike, possibly taking a short burst through Europe, coupled with the dream of a more ambitious adventure next year is too tempting to pass up.

I need a break to recharge my batteries and figure out my future but I am patient and I can wait another year if I must. And I realise I don't have to do it all right now but life is too short for dress rehearsals and waiting in a cubical for my chance to live. Indeed, its the only life we get so I want to fill it with living now.

The career can wait and I'm not bothered about trotting off and returning with nothing, I'll be enriched from the experience I'm sure. I guess the choice is whether to take the adventure now or wait and have a bigger one in a years time. I'm very tempted to just get on the bike I have and just ride east until I can ride no further or until I run out of money?

I'm conflicted... what are your thoughts?

markharf 29 Oct 2010 21:35

Note that most here are significantly older than you, and will tend not to view a year or two as making a whole lot of difference in the long run. Besides, you seem to have an idea that life consists of black and white, "either/or" choices, whereas in fact life is constituted largely of the limitless possibilities in between the blacks and the whites. In other words, it doesn't matter. Do whatever you feel like--either, both, or neither--and stay open to possibilities. You'll find that all will come into shape regardless of whether you wait a year or jump in right away.

Unless of course you get attached and start rapidly making a lot of babies, or take other drastic action of the sort which tends to limit the available options.

Good luck.

Mark

PocketHead 29 Oct 2010 22:02

Perhaps if you do a short tour you will know whether or not you enjoy touring and whether it's worth doing a long trip?

MyOwnWay 29 Oct 2010 23:09

I would say you have most of the elements you need to take the opportunity and ride away.

You have saved money, the will, the strengh to do it, the time most of us find hard to make available, apparently you donĀ“t have serious commitments at the moment, if you happen no to have any of those elements later on, you might end up thinking about this opportunity you let go.

A gap is about to open up in your routine, take the chance and go. Your dream bike will always be there for you, your dream trip who knows.

Threewheelbonnie 30 Oct 2010 08:14

The bike doesn't matter it's what you do with it. Go buy a used GPZ500 and tour the US, no R1200GS or Touratech catalogue required.

Andy

Dodger 30 Oct 2010 09:15

Quote:

Originally Posted by Threewheelbonnie (Post 310791)
The bike doesn't matter it's what you do with it. Go buy a used GPZ500 and tour the US, no R1200GS or Touratech catalogue required.

Andy

Amen to that !

PLUS , find a job you love and you won't have to "work" another day in your life !

Forget the "dream bike " bullshit ,just get out there and do it !A bike is just a tool .

backofbeyond 30 Oct 2010 10:09

In your circumstances I'd definitely go down the "trip now, job later " route.

Looking back over my circumstances it's been the things I did rather than the things I bought that stick out and you'll probably find windows of opportunity fewer and further apart as time, career and relationships progress.

In addition you'll probably find that the trip will impact upon your personality in a positive way. You'll come back spiritually richer, worldly wiser and more attractive to women (well who knows about the last one but I've usually found extended trips allow me time to look at things a bit more objectively).

indu 30 Oct 2010 10:19

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dodger (Post 310793)
Forget the "dream bike " bullshit ,just get out there and do it !A bike is just a tool .

But then you have fine tools, not-so-fine tools, tools that are good lookin', tools that are not. To me, bikes are more than tools. But with regard to this topic: Get anything cheap and go for it!

Jake 31 Oct 2010 08:15

My first big trip was when I was 21yrs old from Canada to New Orleans back in 1981 on a old suzuki 500, Before that I had just bopped about down to Morroco and bits of Europe, the time and opportunity came and I took it I never regretted that decision - after that trip other things in Life often got in the way of such an opportunity. Like markhof say things are not black and white - take an opportunity and grab it you really do not know what happens to you or your life next week never mind next year.
Enjoy the trip. Jake.

John Downs 31 Oct 2010 14:59

I can still remember stopping on a bike trip in my late teens to camp for the night and chatting with an older married fellow camped nearby with his wife and kids. He warned me that soon my life of freedom to hop on my bike and travel would be limited by life's responsibilities. Of course, I thought that would never happen to me. I can still remember that man forty years later. And sure enough, marriage and career soon severely limited my vagabonding ways for a couple of decades.

When riding the world you will meet young travelers and older travelers. People in their child rearing career building years are as rare as hen's teeth. GO NOW, my good man. Before your adventure travel opportunities are consumed in middle life by women, career, children, pets, chasing after shiny things and other pursuits of the material world.

There are many expensive dream bikes parked in garages around the world patiently waiting for their owners to get the time, money and desire to travel to the far side of the world.

You have the time, money and desire NOW. Any bike! that runs will do. All adventure bikes take a severe beating. Why beat up a dream bike.

Not that there's anything wrong with buying a cool bike and taking side trips here and there.

A dream bike to me is the one that takes me to far off places along unknown roads to meet interesting people and see the world from a different perspective. Travel has changed my life for the better. And when you get to be an old fart like me, you will never wish you had worked more and gone on fewer adventures.

Kindest regards,
John Downs

Caminando 31 Oct 2010 16:42

Quote:

Originally Posted by stephen.stallebrass (Post 310759)
OK so I've got some money saved and my work contract ends before the new year, so I'll be unemployed by 2011. My plan was to fly to the USA, buy a cheap bike and tour for a few months, stealth camping along the way and living cheap. When I ran out of cash I'd sell the bike and head for home.

My dilemma is whether I should continue with this plan or use the money I have saved to buy the bike I really love, get another job, save some more money and do a more ambitious adventure next year - RTW perhaps? I might even be able to do a bit of touring more locally around the UK and Europe to quench my thirst until then.

I've been a mature student for 5 years with the last 18 months just working a poorly paid dead end office job whilst finishing off my post grad studies and saving for the aforementioned trip. I'm not yet on the career ladder and I've had a change of career interests but I do want to crack on with life and get a proper job. Trouble is I really don't know what I want to do anymore... I do have interests and options but they'll all entail a commitment.

All I do know is that I want to ride and that my impending unemployment is a good opportunity to get out there and travel. However, the idea of getting my dream bike, possibly taking a short burst through Europe, coupled with the dream of a more ambitious adventure next year is too tempting to pass up.

I need a break to recharge my batteries and figure out my future but I am patient and I can wait another year if I must. And I realise I don't have to do it all right now but life is too short for dress rehearsals and waiting in a cubical for my chance to live. Indeed, its the only life we get so I want to fill it with living now.

The career can wait and I'm not bothered about trotting off and returning with nothing, I'll be enriched from the experience I'm sure. I guess the choice is whether to take the adventure now or wait and have a bigger one in a years time. I'm very tempted to just get on the bike I have and just ride east until I can ride no further or until I run out of money?

I'm conflicted... what are your thoughts?

For sure, RTW isn't the pinnacle of achievement -unless you feel that it is. More miles aren't always better miles.

Those who said the type of bike doesn't matter are right IMO. You don't need to spend your hard earned cash on the latest machine. The culture of buying all the gear from expensive places is likewise not necessary IMO. But get their catalogues and nick some ideas to make yourself or get second hand. Also read the story of the terrific Elspeth Beard and do like she did.

Because of the banks, the decisionmakers and incompetent governments, you are in the difficult position of deciding whether to start a career (if you can find one) or just go. You don't say what you're doing post grad in - how are the job prospects there?

Can you do a list of pros and cons to help you decide? If the balance is to go, then do it!!! Or do the career but be restless.

Tell us what you decide.

Birdy 31 Oct 2010 19:45

Adventure now! Don't try and project a future that has too many variables in to predict.

Do what you want now, get the experience of these 'little' trips under your belt. Even if you don't perceive them as 'the big one' you will learn so much and have so many experiences that one day if/when you are in a better position, you will be so much better prepared, and if that day never comes, you will have had priceless experiences anyway so you are still a winner.

Get your sleeping bag packed, jump on the bike and off you do. Africa is less than a week's concentrated riding. The Middle East less than a fortnight. Spain less than three days. Russia less than a week. AND we have so many things in Europe you don't even need to go to those extremes. You don't even need a bike. My travels are normally bike based, but I'm off walking the Camino de Santiago next week for a change. I can't afford another 'big trip' at the mo, but there is always an option.

Life is for taking. Don't be one of those who will always wish and always dream what could have been. You're in an ideal situation to drop it and go. The world is your oyster.

If you need more convincing, come out for a drink with me some time. I'll tell you some tales, show you some pictures of my trips, and do very very best to get you out and on the road ASAP.

I'm only in Boston, so not far from you.

Birdy

stephen.stallebrass 31 Oct 2010 19:49

I try very hard not to see things as black and white. Indeed, I do think of myself as a critical thinker and consider everything based on reason and evidence. In fact one of the motto's I live by is to try and believe as many true things as possible and as few false things as possible. Consequently, I consistently question my my own assumptions, so I am thinking about my situation more critically now because I have the luxury of a few months before its D-Day to consider my options. I'm reaching out to the HU community for their experience and collective wisdom in the vain hope that it might help clear some of the fog in my own mind.

I do have most of the elements I need to ride away. I have no commitments and I recognise that I may not have an an opportunity quite like this again. I agree a bike is just a tool, albeit an important one. Yet, I also think that riding the bike that you love is important too. A small investment in an adventure bike now will bode well in the long-term for my future dreams of travel. It's not a vast amount I have saved but just enough for a moderately ambitious adventure on a careful budget. And if I did decide to spend it on a bike I certainly wouldn't buy the latest brand new bike and totally trick it out with Touratech farkles - my budget and my conscience wouldn't allow it.

Your right, whether I wait a year is no big deal in the grand scheme of things. I believe that life is what happens between the grand plans. I've done a couple of trips on my current bike, which isn't a grand adventure touring machine, but an understated bandit streetfighter. But I am confident that a long overland adventure by motorcycle is something that I want to do. The one thing I'm sure of is that my career plans can wait simmering on the back burner for now. I'll get stuck back into that when I return from wherever it is that I decide to explore. The question is whether I go as planned in early 2011 on something cheap and cheerful or wait until early 2012 and do something more ambitious on the bike I really want to do it on?

For sure, a RTW trip is not necessarily the pinnacle of adventure but its certainly an achievable dream. I don't envisage this more ambitious RTW trip taking in every country along the way but a more conservative and moderately paced circumnavigation of the globe travelling East through Europe, Russia, Canada and the USA (maybe even South America, budget allowing). All on the cheap of course and where the additional expense of Carnets are not required. A short blast through Western Europe or Morocco would also be quite satisfying, at least in the short term. It's the journey that is important after all, not the destination. Nevertheless, there is an element of doing something grand, a little unique and something challenging - at least in comparison to the run of the mill 9-5 lifers. I'm clearly preaching to the choir here.

My post grad studies were in military history having been awarded a BA Honours in War Studies and then an MA in British Second World War Studies. My plan was to go onto a PhD and then academia but as I say I've gone off it a little. And other related jobs are few and far between, exacerbated by recession and the doom of impending cuts to public spending. Its still something I'm interested in but I'm not sure I want a career in it - although I have considered teaching history upon my return. I'm more into secular Humanism but to work for someone like the National Secular Society of the British Humanist Association would, at the very least, entail a voluntary internship first with no guarantee of employment to follow. I think that's one of the attractive things about international travel, it has a tendency to help figure stuff out like what I want to do next, it might even open new opportunities.

I really do appreciate all your thoughts and words of advice, keep them coming. I guess I'm just not used to having options and now I've got some I'm over analysing what to do with them. But it is in my nature to be totally anal and overthink every little decision. So I also recognise the beauty of spontaneity and just going for it - its very appealing.

Birdy 31 Oct 2010 20:01

Sorry, I only have a couple of minutes, so I can only reply quickly on one of your points.

'A small investment in an adventure bike now will bode well in the long-term for my future dreams of travel'

Remember the HU mantra, that 'any bike is an adventure bike.'

If it has two wheels and an engine, it will take you where you want to go. Don't get tricked by marketing managers into believing you need an 'adventure bike.' Five hundred quid will get you something robust and more than capable of putting in the miles. And it gives you the opportunity to ditch it if needed, running costs are less, 'Western Alien' syndrome is reduced in poor countries, and you have more money to stay on the road!

A lifetime in Academia will never teach you the answers to the most important questions.

Birdy

Jake 1 Nov 2010 12:24

Stephen Listen to Birdy - go meet with him - look at his web pages he is nuts really nuts (Sorry Birdy) but a brilliant bloke with more experience than many on these pages of doing things on the spur of the moment and doing it cheaply. His way of travel may not be everyones way but it works well and he is one hell of a character I am sure he will help you raise the confidence and know how to set off on a trip. His idea of a travel bike and maintenance will raise your eyebrows !
Regards Jake.


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