Monday, March 6, 2017

Travel Doubts

It was over that lovely Cajun food in the Blind Tiger that we looked at each other and went, "What the hell are we doing?" We were six weeks in and neither of us had an answer.

Travel is hard. It's exhilarating, it's exciting, it's educational and fun and exhausting. You meet great people who become friends for life, and you meet assholes who make you want to stop meeting people. There are riding roads and there are roads that just go places. I've been thrilled to ride on a gorgeous day, I've been disturbed by a semi-deserted town that was full of bad juju, I've looked forward to the next town, and I've wanted to quit and go home - all in one day.

If you asked me why I took this trip, I'd say something vague about "getting away." I can't tell you what I want to get out of it, because I don't know. Rogue wants to go back to Massachusetts when it's all done; I don't.


All the towns look the same after a while. Setting up the tent and starting a fire have become automatic and somehow vaguely irritating. This again? Didn't we just do this last night? For the first time I understand why Dad hated camping; he had done it too many times in the Marines and probably felt that he had earned a real bed, damn it.

In a moment of trying to convince myself to push forward and not turn around, I messaged Jon, another biker who's doing long-term road travel around the US. We met in a Tiger group on Facebook, although his touring bike is a Honda (that actually looks remarkably like Bumblebee).

He told me that 4-6 weeks is when the honeymoon phase of travel ends. He'd been on the road for 13 weeks when I messaged him and was taking a break with family back in England, which he admitted was a welcome recharge from the mental toll the road takes. His goal is to hit all 50 US states and his blog (On Your Bike Tours) gives him an "obligation" to visit interesting places. Reading through the blog, a difference in our travel styles caught my attention: he seeks out locals and asks for things to do, using the internet only as a last resort. This is the opposite of the way I've been doing things, and the next time we land in a new town I think I'm going to try it that way. It may be a little different for us girls, but we can certainly take care of ourselves, so I'm willing to give it a go. Obviously something isn't working as is.

Rogue asked what I would do if she left. I said I'd be surprised.

"Really? Why?"

"What are you going to do - ride back to Massachusetts and live on your motorcycle in the snow?"

Quitting now would be pointless at least for me, because if "gave up," I'd still want to visit my friends in Texas and ride around before going home, which is exactly what I'm going to do in the context of the trip, so giving up means nothing at all. It would be more difficult right now to ride the 1,800 miles into the cold and try to find a job and a home than it is to stay here and keep doing what we're doing.

4 comments:

  1. I agree with Jon on the take a break idea. Anyone doing what you've set out to do cannot keep up the pace and daily camp set ups/hotel stays without some "breaks" in the grind. I have read stories of live aboard boaters taking 6 months to a year travel time returning home for a few weeks every 3 months to "freshen up", then with renewed energy, continuing their quest. You might consider just leaving your rigs at a trusted friends house and flying home to re-energize and return with a fresh sense of purpose. Just a thought.

    Hang in there and always be safe.
    Dad

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    1. That would certainly do the job, but finding work wouldn't be any easier. I didn't have the kind of job at home that could let me pop in and out. Staying with friends has been pretty good as a recharge; just not having to camp is pretty great.

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  2. I'm glad you asked me as we all need someone to lend an ear. I may need the same in the future from you.

    Jon
    And shockingly my old Honda does resemble Bee

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    1. I'll be happy to help in whatever way I can! I'm really glad to have another road warrior to exchange notes with. What flavor of Honda is yours?

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