I love to hear about the adventures of other, much more daring travellers than me. Today, I looked up a saved link to Lois Pryce (solo motorbike adventurer) and watched her brilliant TED talk “In praise of vulnerable travel” on YouTube. Wow, she speaks to me about my travel fears, and ups and downs.
Firstly: the excess baggage! All that stuff I carried around on my bike this year. To cover every eventuality! In fact in Scotland, I posted clothes home to lighten my load. I love to pack for motor biking, every item has to be there for a reason, we can carry so little. But even so, I always take too much. I always take a small art kit and sketchbook as essential items, but I gather bits and pieces along the way, an avid collector of little “treasures”, some postcards, a travel brochure cutting here, a little piece of local pottery: it all adds up, all extra to carry. I even relished in filling extra tiny spaces in my luggage. But it all adds weight, and risk of dropping the bike. I must learn to lighten up!
The rain came down torrentially in Spain. My husband Mik and I were caught in a horrendous storm, when all of our belongings were back in the tent across the border in France. My bike didn’t cope with going through deep water, and broke down! Calling for roadside assistance late on a Friday afternoon, and not speaking a word of Spanish I was taken south into Spain, and my bike locked up for the weekend in storage. Mik followed the truck on his bike, and we found ourselves in a town we had never heard of, in the clothes we stood up in, full motorbike gear in 40 degree heat, for the weekend
I learned something that weekend: it didn’t matter that we had no change of clothes, no luggage, none of the things I thought I should need in an emergency. We had our papers and cards, so it was easy to find somewhere to stay, buy a toothbrush, some deodorant (I can’t do without!) and a scarf to make into a skirt! Not roughing it I know, but it was a lesson in realising what we really need, which isn’t as much as we think.
I also learned that the more uncertain and unplanned things became, the happier and more free I felt. I loved that I didn’t know what we were doing next, and what was around the next corner, and the weekend led to a much more unexpected few weeks following, and changed how we planned and even better when we didn’t plan where to travel after that….