- Countries: 18
- Kilometres: 27,000 (My speedo has never worked so this is a google maps calculation)
- Bottom end rebuilds: 2
- Pistons: 5
- Thank you emails from followers: 24
- Gearboxs: 2
- Batteries: 4
- Rear Tires: 1
- Bad crashes: 1
- Fractured bones: 1
- Police bribes paid: 0
- Clutch Packs 6
- GB of footage taken: 600
- Donations: 58
- Breakdowns: 94
- International TV appearances : 2
- Radio interviews: 6
- Motorcycles events attended: 10
- Weekly social media reach: 50,000
- Total Instigram likes: 73,607
- Individual Flights: 15
- Helmet stickers gifted for the trip: 63
- TAIAY business cards handed out 450
When the trip started at the start of last year, I had no idea where it would go - I mean, I knew that it was to go towards London, but I did not see it becoming the beast that it did.
In full disclosure: I have never really been completely in control of the trip. People keep asking me for advice about doing a “round the world" trip and I think, if anything, I am less qualified now than I was two years ago. But I think I needed to travel such a distance to learn that it’s ok to have no clue about anything. I would hate for someone to take off on a trip and not have their own joy of learning while they’re on the road. Sure, I wouldn’t recommend anyone to crash their motorcycle, but for me it was involved in the adventure. Someone once said, “I have learnt plenty of ways that don’t work and a few that do”. What I did take on this trip with me − which undoubtedly put me in a better position than the best gear or training was the ability to roll with the punches, bounce back from challenges and to keep at it with an almost moronic tenacity and complete openness to this strange and wonderful world.
I was never really in control of the trip. Instead, I would follow the advice of strangers and try to direct this collection of incredible encounters and episodes slowly in the direction of London. I wish I could take more credit, but my distinct lack of control of the situation is what drove the trip along.
Given how little I was in control of the process, I think I, more than anyone, was surprised, shocked and even bamboozled when I finally rolled into Ace cafe, with the Enfield spitting hot oil in all directions, tattered jeans and a unmistakable slight craziness about me. I felt like I had just been spat out of a wild LSD bender. The trip might have been over but there was still a certain fuzziness about everything. While the goal was always London, the arrival point was really there just for the sake of having one (everything has to have an end point, right?). The point was always the journey. When I stepped off the bike at Ace to friends, followers and complete strangers clapping and showering me with beer and congratulations, my body had the response of crying then throwing up my breakfast. It was done. The end point had arrived. My collection of encounters had finally been directed all of the way to London.
Throughout this journey, I set out to find some answers. Answers to what it was to be a man. To make sense of what it was to grow up. To explore these concepts of masculinity in different cultures. Urrg. Even writing that out feels gross to me now. How shallow, naive and egotistical of me to think that I could ride through all of these cultures and sum up such experiences so simply. Fuck, I struggle to string together a few sentences that make sense, let alone articulate something as complicated as that.
That’s not to say that my trip was a waste. I have, above all, certainly had a successful trip - it’s just that what I wanted and my understanding of the questions I set out with have changed. I didn’t find any clear-cut answers, but I have come to the understanding that it’s ok to be hopelessly confused by the world. It is a confusing place and I now know that I will never really understand the role of masculinely - which, over the course of 27,000kms, I have come to accept and even enjoy a little.
So.. What’s next? Honestly, I have no clue. My inspiration for taking such an old bike on this trip − my grandfather, Herman − is terminally ill. Once I finished the trip, I headed from Brisbane to Gympie to spend time with him. For the last week, I have been helping around the house, chopping wood, mowing, driving my grandmother around. Doing the things my grandfather would be doing if he wasn’t bed ridden as the cancer eats away at him. They have an old caravan out the back. I am staying in that. It’s simple enough and, after living out of a bag for so long, I finally feel like I have my own space, my own little apartment all wrapped in 10 foot of portable 60s design. My Dad has leant me his Enfield - a very shiny and relatively new 2012 500c fuel injected bullet, which is parked out the front that starts every time I press that red button. It’s a dream and a joy to ride. I am writing. I still have a year or more of blog posts to publish and sponsor reviews to finish. Enfield has agreed to come on and support me. They will help me get the motorcycle back to Australia and I will tell some of my stories at upcoming motorcycle events, including the past Good Wood festival in the UK. Meanwhile, I am trying to get back into my profession: urban design.
I guess what I’m saying is I don’t really know what’s coming next. What I do know, though, is that whatever the world throws at me; whatever expectations I, or others, place on me and the concept of masculinely… I think I will be ok. I think I will be able to share what I have come to understand. Answers or not.