The Library of All Knowledge

The Art of Exploring - Making the First Big Step...

Basically this is Newtonian physics in action, an object at rest will stay at rest unless acted upon by a force. And an object in motion will stay in motion unless counteracted by a force. This applies to travellers as well as any object.

First force acting upon an

Start dreaming, yup it's that simple. I actually read somewhere, "Put your dreams a little out of reach so you never lose your dreams" What a pile of dung. That's a receipe for accomplishing nothing and being bitter about it. You take your dream, do it, bask in the glory and then get another one.

Then start adding to your dream. Add the idea that it's doable. Yes you can ride a motorcycle. If you can drive a car with a standard tranmission and ride a bicycle without falling down, then you are two-thirds closer to riding a motorcycle. Add the idea of getting the bike. Don't fret about getting the perfect machine, there simply isn't one. There are many members of the RTW club, that have ridden the "wrong" machine.

I hope you've read this with your tongue firmly in cheek, because that's the way I wrote it. These people took their machine and rode on major trips with them. So there really is no wrong bike to ride. You do have to be a realist and determing what your bike is capable and understand how it is going to affect your trip and plan accordingly.

But lets jump back into your dream. OK, you've got the bike, now decide how you want to make this a reality. You will need a few things:


The dream is a good place to start. Start making it concrete. Start planning. Nothing too specific, just a rough plan. Just deciding that your going to ride from point A to point B will do. Anything more complicated is just a waste to time. I had a plan when I did my trip to Alaska. By day 3 I was behind schedule and by day 5 I threw it out the window. The plan at this stage is to flesh out what you can do and how long it will take to do. Another trick to aid motivation is to tell all your friends what you plan to do, then you will forced to do it, or hang your head in shame. It also helps to hang out with other riders who have done the same thing you have planned to do. I do recommend Horizons Unlimited Travelers meetings. Think you're too old to ride, you meet riders that have done a RTW in their sixties and seventies. (Werner Bausenhart and Ted Simon are examples) Think you haven't got enough experience, you meet riders that have done their motorcycle test when they were fifty (Werner again) or have done RTW rides several days after getting their bike license. (Long Way Round's cameraman Claudio von Planta) Think you're not physically tough enough, then you hear stories about physically disabled people riding, such as Dave Barr who rode around the world, and he was a double leg amputee.


Anything with two wheels and an engine is a good start. I could go on a recommend a motorcycle, but that list changes over time and is different in different countries. And what I like in a motorcycle may not the be the same as what you like in a motorcycle. So feel free to peruse the web, check out magazines. Think about your dream and imagine what kind of bike you dream yourself being on and where you plan to go. Then find a motorcycle to fit that dream. But keep an open mind and be prepared to change it. I originally dreamt of buying a crusier, but then I started to like the BMW R1150GS. My dream was changed by the price tag ($25K for the Adventure) and the fact that my feet are still 6 inches off the ground when sitting on the der GelandeundStrasse


Dive back into your dream and imagine how your going to travel. Are you going to camp or are you going to sojurn from hotel to hotel? How you go will decide what kind of equipment you will need. When I prep for my trip I usually heap all the stuff I will need in a pile on the table. The I will add to the pile anything I will need. Once I start packing though, it will be through an examination of what is truely required. This is where you have to search your soul and ask yourself that deep question, do I really need this? Otherwise your combination espresso-maker/sock warmer and tie-iron will have to stay home. Avoid carrying duplicates. Motorcycles aren't graced with a lot of room, and extra weight makes them harder to handle. Also consider the words of Ted Simon who has travelled the world twice, "the next time I go, all I'm taking is a toothbrush and a credit card." Don't forget that many items can be purchased on the road. Also aim at packing your bags to 75% full so you have room for all the stuff that you pick up along the way. And if your bags get too full, you can always ship stuff home.

I'll go over equipment a little later.


This one can be tricky. First get the idea that you have the time into your head, then make it happen. Ask for the time off. Tell your boss and significant other why you want to take that much time off. Make deals, make offers, make threats, make what you have to. Life is too short to be a slave to work. You would be surprised as to how many people say yes to your request.


Another tricky issue. You have the money, it really becomes an issue of how to collect it. Some riders have sold their houses, sold calendars and wrote books on their travels, or collected sponsorships, rented out their houses and lived off the rental income, bank overtime and holiday pay. You can also trim your expenses, ride a cheaper bike (KLR?) camp all the way, or work along the way. Another idea is to divide your round the world ride into sections, working to pay for the next section. But don't let your lack of money hinder you. Emillio Scotto, rode 735,000 miles through 214 countries, started his trip with $300.00 in his pocket.


To travel internationally, you will need a identification, passport and visas for yourself and your loyal steed. Of course your motorcycle will need registration, insurance and a carnet.


In a word, don't bother. Seriously I think it's best to plan to the point where you're comfortable and have an idea of what you will need in terms of time, money, documentation, equipment. But don't overplan. As General George Patton once said, "The best laid plans never survive first contact with the enemy". So keep an open mind to adapt to changes to your plans as you travel.

Contents Copyright (C) Michael Fodor 2012.