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Photo by Bettina Hoebenreich, At the foot of the Bear Glaciers, eternal ice, British Columbia, Canada

Adventure is what you make it

Photo by Bettina Hoebenreich, at the foot of the Bear Glaciers, British Columbia, Canada.



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  #1  
Old 10 Aug 2013
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to flag or not to flag

I have recently stickered my bike front and back with my country flag, GB in my case. Would have been Anglo/Scot but half of two flags looked crap..................

Anyway I suddenly thought maybe it's not such a good Idea .....or is it? Now I don't know :confused1:

Anyone think of any reason it would not be good to do it?? There are without doubt a few places one might wish to keep a low profile...........North Korea
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  #2  
Old 10 Aug 2013
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I tie a flag to the mirror stem - to the side I'm supposed to ride on. If it becomes obvious that it is not liked then I can untie it. A sticker you'd have to cover up.
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  #3  
Old 10 Aug 2013
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I have a flag, GB again, on my number plate where the EU flag is supposed to be. It has never given a problem but has been a conversation starter on a few occasions which is good.
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  #4  
Old 10 Aug 2013
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Hi,

If i would be US resident i would NOT flag my bike. Because of their presidents war politic they are not wellcome in most of the arabic countrys anymore. For Sudan etc US residents have to pay 4x the price of European Tourists etc.
Also if it comes to police controls i prefere not to be recognized as a rich tourist too easy. Of course therefore you also have to ride a local bike not a big foreign machine. Still a Angola flag might be good in Africa.

What about using different flags for different countrys? Allways the one from countrys that people like HAHA

These days i thing about flaging my bike from the top with red cross or "PRESS" to prefent being shot from one of these US Drones while visiting arabic countrys. Never found terorists there but only very friendly people...

Tobi
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  #5  
Old 10 Aug 2013
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Originally Posted by g6snl View Post
... I suddenly thought maybe it's not such a good Idea .....or is it? Now I don't know :confused1: .
depends how nationalistic you want to appear. Its a very individual thing. But my thoughts on flag waving are:

Whether you like it or not, waving your flag associates you with what foreigners perceive as your country's image. That image comes usually either via stereotypes or via your country's foreign policies. If you don't want to be associated with those, then don't wave your flag at foreigners.

Many people, when on the road, begin to feel more kinship for the people they meet along the way than they were expecting ... thus feel more like a citizen of the world during the trip than before the trip. In which case they feel less nationalistic than when they set out.

The more nationalist you appear, the more you potentially restrict interactions with other nationalities. In an extreme case, if you leave the UK with your bike painted 100% in the union jack, you are effectively saying I feel powerful kinship with British people, so therefore prefer interactions with British people to all others. That may attract other British people when you are on the road, but may put off other nationalities from talking with you. If you want to interact with locals and other travellers on an equal basis, then your nationality is irrelevant. Its merely a talking point in conversation, similar to "are you married" or "do you have kids". You don't put those details on the side of your bike, so why put your nationality?

Personally, I find overt nationalism (which includes patriotism) pretty off-putting. I enjoy travelling with different nationalities (over the years have adventure toured with Australians, Brits (English and Scots), Americans, Austrians, Poles, Germans, Russians, Norwegians and Dutch) and do not treat them any differently that riders of my own nationality. I dont feel people who hold the same passport as me are superior or exceptional. I find the idea of loving a country bizarre - very tribal. Its a lump of land with a dotted line around it. Its just as bizarre (or as irrational) to me, as someone loving their street, and putting the name of their street on their bike. Therefore, to me, there is no point to nationalism / patriotism. They are just modern day names for a very primitive tribalism.

I have travelled with flags and stickers in the past, but didn't really find they added any value (the first question you are inevitably asked by locals or other bike travellers is "where are you from?" whether or not you have a flag or flag sticker - i.e. it isnt the flag that creates a talking point, nationality is always going to be a talking point anyway in remote foreign lands). Between not believing in flag waving, and finding no advantage to flags, I now don't do flags / stickers.

Last edited by colebatch; 13 Aug 2013 at 12:54.
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Old 10 Aug 2013
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Im not sure I agree with your point about a Union Flag themed bike. But this is only because I a saw a lady this very afternoon dressed head to toe in union flag leggins, t shirt, bag ect, and I have seen across all of Asia, men and women wearing it on T shirts ect. I think in a semiotic sense that the Union flag is not really seen in the same patriotic way we see it in the UK but as more of a stylish colour scheme.
Therefore i would argue that you could ride across alot of the world looking like Austin Powers on a red white and blue Triumph and you would probably still be asked 'where are you from' pretty frequently.

I know thats not the point but anyway...


With regards to stickering your bike, I dont think it it will make the slightest bit of difference. Ive had people in Pakistan think im American and still welcomed me with open arms. The same thing has happened to my Candian girlfriend in Vietnam!

Some people have spoke of stickering their bike so that they are not confused with Americans, which whilst at first seems logical, is actualy quite offensive to Americans dont you think?

The reason I havent done it? I think it looks rubbish, thats all realy.
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Old 10 Aug 2013
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Oh the woman I saw in the Union flag outfit was in Tblisi, by the way.
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Old 10 Aug 2013
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Originally Posted by Ben Douglas View Post
Oh the woman I saw in the Union flag outfit was in Tblisi, by the way.
The union flag seems to feature regularly on the clothing of fashionable young people in SE Asia as well, I wonder if they have a clue where it comes from.
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Old 10 Aug 2013
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What happens to the Union Flag if Scotland wants out?

Is there a backup flag thought out?
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  #10  
Old 10 Aug 2013
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St George will always be the flag
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  #11  
Old 11 Aug 2013
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Being identified with my country does not worry me. Being identified with my government does .. not many people agree with all their countries government policies .. (some of them I hate ).

I don't see being identified as nonUS as offensive to US people.. why should they?

In Africa being identified as non South African can be beneficial. Still some left over from Apartheid... don't think many South Africans would be offended by the correct identity, they would be concerned by the left over feelings ...

--------------------
The reality is we are all individuals, but carry some bias based on our upbringing and place of residence. As tourist we may not be aware of local laws and customs. So some form of identification may help others understand some of our (unusual) actions.
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Old 11 Aug 2013
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You said it yourself, 'not many people agree with all of there governments polices', surely this works two ways?

I find flying a flag for the purpose of distinguishing yourself from a country that you find, or think others will find, distasteful a bit on the obtuse side. In fact its totally arrogant.

Pretty much all the 'anti-american' attitudes I have experienced have come from 'westerners' and is simply prejudice masquerading as liberalism. When I had to work in close quarters with some Americans for a few weeks I found them nothing but open minded, charming and funny.


Also Mark, I've wondered that too... although it has been part of fashion since the late 50's, maybe it isnt a surprise it can loose it meaning in some places. I also saw a young lad in Nepal wearing a t-shirt with a picture (cant remember what of) and the caption below it reading 'sample text'. I really enjoyed that.
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Old 11 Aug 2013
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This is an interesting thread. I have also thought about this. I have a Union flag sticker on the front of my bike. I take it off when I'm in the UK but on my travels it has always been welcomed. Did consider covering it up in Zimbabwe but didn't and it wasn't a problem.

Strange that I should take it off in the Uk I know but I don't need to advertise my nationality and ( I know this is wrong) I don't want to appear too patriotic.
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Old 11 Aug 2013
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Well, I just finished my RTW trip in April this year and had the Aussie flag on a pole at the rear for 95% of it

I don't always agree with my governments policies but love my country

As I travelled solo, it became a talking point, and as I was sticking each visited countries flag on the bike as I went, the people I met in those countries welcomed me openly

I certainly was aware of which countries were not happy with Oz and stayed away from them to avoid issues
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  #15  
Old 11 Aug 2013
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Originally Posted by TravellingStrom View Post
Well, I just finished my RTW trip in April this year and had the Aussie flag on a pole at the rear for 95% of it
LOL, and here I am contemplating going without a small sticker or at least get the smallest possible sticker. You went with a waving flag.

Last edited by TwoUpFront; 11 Aug 2013 at 14:15. Reason: fixed quote brackets
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