A month on the road and what have I learnt?

It’s just over a month since I left the UK and started riding east, through France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Dubai and across India. I’m over 10,000 kilometres into this journey and it’s certainly given me time to reflect on what I’ve let myself in for — and what I’ve left behind me.

Here are a few thoughts that have crossed my mind on numerous occasions while on the road…

Doesn’t matter where or what you ride – we’re all brothers!

I’m missing my family terribly. I knew it would happen, but not as bad as this. It’s an overused cliche but there truly is no place like home and the people in it. They mean the world to me and being apart is painful, especially as I chose to go. I miss my dog, too.

Without the help of so many, I’d have never got this far. To those that have provided a bed, offered advice and assistance, helped with the bike, phoned their friends further down the road and just watched out for my safety, I can’t thank you enough.

I never realised just how privileged my life has been. And how I’ve taken that for granted. The places I’ve ridden through and the things I’ve seen have convinced me that life is a daily struggle for survival for so many people. I’ll never complain about trivial things again. At least for a week or two.

Living hand to mouth but always smiling

I can get by with very few possessions. I never thought that I could live out of just one bag, but it’s entirely possible, as long as you don’t mind washing your undies and socks out every couple of nights. You wouldn’t want to be stuck in a lift with me though…

My budget isn’t going to last the whole trip. Things were going well, but shipping costs from Iran and air-freight costs from Dubai have seriously dented my finances. I’ll get as far as I can but might have to sell a few more stories to keep putting petrol in the tank.

I’ve not stopped worrying about what could happen. This annoys me because I am as ‘free’ as I’m ever likely to be, but time alone allows you to fret about all kinds of things, like strange engine noises, food poisoning, robbery, ransom and Dengue fever. I’m definitely not as brave as I thought I was.

A lot of older men are grafting hard on the streets

Things can and do go wrong and you need to adapt. Like when I uncrated the bike in Delhi and discovered that the keys were still in Dubai. Shit happens and you just have to readjust your mindset accordingly and try to turn misfortune into opportunity.

My marathon training plan is in disarray. The problem is that there’s just nowhere to run. I managed a trot out in Bulgaria and Dubai but that’s all, and I’m starting to worry that I’ve bitten off far more than I can chew. There are no pavements/sidewalks/sports grounds here, with crazy traffic and huge crowds forming whenever I stop. There’s just no chance of putting on the trainers at all.

Blogging is fantastic. I’m enjoying writing immensely and it’s an amazing feeling to be connected to people all over the world already. I’ll never complain to my kids about overusing social media again — it’s perfect for a trip like this and everyone’s comments and encouragement have really kept me going.

If it ended tomorrow, I’d have no regrets. I’ve given it a go, and that’s good enough for me. In fact, I’m already thinking about another long trip, but this time walking or cycling. Cairo to Cape Town anyone?

Smile, and the world smiles with you

28 thoughts on “A month on the road and what have I learnt?”

  1. Yo M8!

    I suspect this one’s going to take more than one football match, curry or pint to explain in detail… BUT:

    Your family (and friends) is (are) so proud of you; you will appreciate so much when you get home (except the attitude of our fellow Brits); it doesn’t matter what it costs ‘cos this is a money-can’t-buy experience; even though it’s so difficult, please try to live by the “no worries” mantra, ‘cos you’ll be back home before you know it… and forget the running – concentrate on the drinking, eating and the blogging (but that’s only my opinion… 😉

    Proud for you to be my M8! Keep the faith and BELIEVE!

    PS Looks like Spurs are better than United again this season EXCEPT for that all-important trophy count ;-)))

  2. Andy, you are doing so well, keep doing what you wish to do, dreams are never easy, but they are so worth it.. thinking of you. Pete

  3. Hi Andy – long time no see!! I came across this by accident and think you amazing!!I can’t believe you are fulfilling your dreams – so jealous. I heard Simple Minds on the radio today and it reminded me of Wembley with you – good luck with the rest of your journey and take care. Lisa x

    1. Hi Lisa, I’m struggling to place you… what was your maiden name and did I go to a Simple Minds concert with you? Sorry, but I’ve taken a few blows to the head over the years…

  4. Things I’ve learned and re-learned from reading this blog:
    1. You will always miss the freedom of not caring what you look like and carrying your possessions (three T shirts and a few pairs of pants!) on your back
    2. Being away from those you love really clarifies the magnitude of what you have and how lucky you are
    3. We are indescribably fortunate compared to most people in the world and it’s so important to remember that and be thankful for it
    4. You have an incredible amount of family and friends supporting you which is phenomenal and shows what a special person you are
    5. Re. running: maybe motorcycling is enough – nothing worth doing in life seems to go exactly to plan, just doing it is enough
    6. Maybe still worrying about what could happen is an age thing rather than what you’re doing! You’ve got more reasons back at home to look after yourself these days!
    7. You’re a good writer Dukesie, I’m enjoying.
    8. Carpe Diem
    Love and beers xxx Big
    Ps aren’t Spurs always better, Paul?!

  5. Keep taking the pill Andy, just think of the stories you will be able to tell on your return, maybe a beer overlooking the Waterhills will just have to take a little longer.

  6. From what I hear the weather’s been great so you’ve probably already cracked open a few Paul? Make mine an Old Speckled Hen please, and keep it cold until I return! BTW, have you cut that tree down yet? Feel free to get your chopper out!

  7. One life ,… live it.. When you are more of an old git with your dog and pint watching the sun go down in your favourite rocking chair its all about the memories. Your dog misses you too!!

  8. Just read your blogs, loving the updates and your ups and downs, so real, I travelled America on my own and that was hard enough but totally get the freedom bit with waking up with just you and the world, the hardships people entail is truly inspiring especially when they see it as normal and you sit there gobsmacked! I cried a few tears, felt lonely but boy what a lesson to learn. Keep going and enjoy those rocking chair moments when you get home, stay safe x

  9. Wondaful to read of your progress Andy but then I get behind with sending you a message! Isn’t the world such an amazing place! Don’t worry about the running for now as team CRC are out and about in force – every weekend lots of runners and supporters out having FUN – you will catch up on the run bit as long as you keep hold of the fun bit 🙂 Just enjoy the journey –
    happy travelling xxx

  10. Hey Andy. Heard about your adventure from a friend and started to subscribe. Love your blog. Inspires most of us to go out and do what we want and not just about the riding but life itself. Keep the spirits high and the mind on the road. Keep going mate. You’re doing fantastic! 👍

    Cheers
    Jason, Malaysia

  11. Hey Andy, if I’m being honest I’m not a person that reads a paper, magazine, in fact I have often read an article on myself and stopped reading half way through and just looked at my pictures on the magazine, but just read through your blog now and read the whole thing, one of the things I like most when reading your articles or blogs or what ever you write is how honest you are and how well you put words together..! You are a better man than me I can tell you, I have traveled to many countries to perform with everything very well organised by BMW and my good shipping agency and it can still be scary and I have experienced some of the feelings you explained and I was only gone for a week or so. Well done and proud of you for taking this adventure. Safe riding and looking forward to catching up with you soon. Mattie Griffin

    1. Kind words Mattie, and well written too mate. Your talents stretch a lot further than freestyle riding I can tell you. Be well buddy and catch up with you soon somewhere in the world!

  12. Hi Andy,
    Just letting you know that we are very much looking forward to seeing you in the Australian Outback at the end of July and fear not, we will make sure that your trip ends with a Marathon Medal. It’s the very least you deserve.

    Safe travels and we will see you very soon

    Michael Walton
    Race Director
    Australian Outback Marathon

    1. Thanks Michael, it’s comments like yours that keep me going! Can’t wait to experience the Outback on two wheels and two feet! Cheers and see you soon.

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