Friday, 12 December 2008

He Says – A whinge and a gripe

There has been people travelling around the world overland for literally decades and most of these people have done it without a full support team. So why is it that every time anyone hears about our plans the first thing that comes out of their mouth is “Oh like Ewan and Charley?”..... NO NOT LIKE THEM! this question is really beginning to get my goat.

I have wanted to do this before they even knew how to ride. We will not have a support team with us and when we do need help I will not lie about it! We make no claims that we are the first or the most adventurous, just an other in a long line of travellers. If someone were to say to me “oh like Ted S., or Grant and Susan J., Sam M. or any host of other travellers” I would be honoured and say “yes I hope so”. We are travellers, tourists, or "backpackers on a bike", Tam and I have done it by foot now we are going to do it by two-wheels. We are not E and C converts.

I respect that fact that E and C rode their rides (although there is many a rumour about actual riding being only for the cameras). I also understand that a support crew is needed when making a TV show, we would not expect any other TV show not to have a crew. So I have to ask why did these guys have to try and “hide it”? These guys have opened the eyes of the non-biking world to the idea of bike travel, they have increased sales of a particular bike model and assocated high end bling of dubiouse quality (mostly by people that will never leave their comfort zone) both major sponsors of the program. This is in some ways a good thing for all of us. However, E and C are not the first, nor the most adventurous and are definitely not an inspiration to me, nor are they even the first celebrity to travel off the beaten path.

If I had to chose a celebrity, to say inspired me it would be Michael Palin, he has inspired me with out the £30K worth of bike gear given to him for free, and complaining about what they actually had to pay for. Plus most of us save and scrape the funds together we don’t get paid to do this. E and C are not travellers they made a TV show. They rushed though countries as fast as their director told them to, it maybe the editors fault but by watching their program I never got a sense of where they were, only how hard they found things. Hence this is more like big brother or survivor then a travel show. We intend to see as much of the places that we can and meet as many of the peoples we can, we will see as much of the wildlife as we can. We have no intention of doing an entire country in less then a week. Yes (I admit it) there will be places that we will just pass though, this being for money, visa or time constraints, but we will not do this regularly and will lament it every time. If we have to just pass though a place we do not consider ourselves to have travelled there, (do you consider a lay-by in a aeroplane flight a place you have been?)

I travel simply because I love to travel, I just love seeing new things and being exposed to things that are weird to me. I love food and love finding new food that I have never considered. I travel on a bike for many reasons. There are just too many different ways of living to make me not want to at least see them once. The saddest thing to me is a person so scared to die that they do not live, a person so scared of the outside world that they live only though the experiences of others. I think overland travelling is the best way to see the place. The getting there is once again part of the journey and experience. I use a motorcycle simply because I like them. There are lots of other good reasons and these have been discussed copiously by a completely unbiased group of motorbike travellers (note the huge amount of sarcasm in that adjective) on the HUBB. However, none of these reasons have anything to do with a TV show. If bikes were not available to me, I would still want to overland travel.

So please next time someone tell you that they want to travel anywhere by motorcycle, please please do not compare them to a pair of actors! For many people they are the antithesis of what we do.