Understandably, I’m nervous about undertaking a long, solo motorbike tour.
The question is, what exactly am I afraid of?
Pretty much everything would be the short answer! I have no experience touring, no experience camping and no experience of motorcycle maintenance. The roads are mostly unfamiliar, the Sat-Nav is brand new, even the laptop is relatively unfamiliar; so the chances of something going wrong are mounting…
Examples of things that could go wrong:
- Collision with another vehicle
- Accident on unfamiliar roads
- Mechanical failure
- British “summertime” soaking all my (uninsured) gear
- Theft of my gear
- Freezing to death in the wilds of Scotland
- Finding the trip un-enjoyable
- Going over budget
I’m sure I could think of more but what I’m getting at is this: none of those things are important, nothing really matters, not even the death part. What’s important is the living part! Frankly, almost everything on that list is more interesting than the day-in-day-out routine life that I have to suffer through in order to save up for things like this. This trip is about getting out of my comfort zone on purpose.
Despite this being one of my central beliefs, it doesn’t stop me feeling apprehensive – but that fear is actually a good thing; that’s what let’s you know you’re stepping outside of the comfort zone. The trick, at this point, is to acknowledge the fear as a sign alerting you to keep your eyes, ears and heart receptive to the magic!
Now, being a thorough thinker, I realize the inconsistency in this theory. And I’m sure you’ve spotted it too: it’s not sustainable is it? Eventually, if you keep on stepping outside of your comfort zone (in effect, expanding your comfort zone), then you’ll subsume all activities you’re physically or financially capable of, therefore using up all the magic!
In fairness, the world is full of possibilities, so your chances of ‘using up all the magic’ are slim. In any case, it’s also important to realize that there’s plenty of magic happening within your comfort zone too. The little things you take for granted, your creature comforts, your family, your favourite sandwich! The good thing about stepping out is that, when you step back in, you get to appreciate those things properly again.
Taking another look at that list of fears above, it’s easy to see that things can be done to minimise the risk of those things going wrong. It would be sensible for me to take a course in motorcycle maintenance (or buy some great breakdown cover), take advanced riding classes (or drive slower in unfamiliar roads), get insurance for my gear (or take steps to waterproof and thieve proof it), get comprehensive motorbike and personal injury insurance etc etc.
These are wise things to do. Acknowledging your fears includes doing what you can (within reason, and avoiding procrastination) to minimise or prepare for them. And don’t worry about death; everyone meets death eventually, so it’s pointless being afraid. For me, the worst one on that list is the worry that I just won’t enjoy myself – that would defeat the purpose of this trip! (But at least I’ll have learned from it).
Over and out.