A flourish of inspiration and finding a mentor
Wow, I can’t believe how quickly this past year has gone. I must admit I’ve been in a state of waiting and probably haven’t made the most of this time of preparation. My dad calls it the the joy of expectation, and it’s true, there’s a lot of joy in planning and looking forward to a big undertaking.
Last year I went to The Overland Event, a gathering of like-minded travel enthusiasts, mainly motorcyclists, and a great way to get inspired. The best thing I took away from that event, apart from meeting new, great friends, was encountering Ted Simon, author, adventure motorcyclist and well eh…absolute legend. His advice was to not over-plan your trips and allow yourself to be surprised. Naturally I stopped going into insane detail about where precisely I want to go and what I want to see.
This year the event took place in August and was an even bigger success.
The Fox and I arrived on the Friday evening, pitched the tent and I was very to happy to bump into friends almost immediately. That’s what is so great about these gatherings. The folks!
They had a lot of great presentations from some very cool people on the agenda, I was especially excited to see Dylan Samarawickrama on the list. Now, Dylan’s story is absolutely…well..unbelievable! On his travels through the world and through Central America he encountered the notorious Darien Gap (12000 square kilometers of dense, pristine, roadless jungle and bandit territory bordering Panama and Colombia). Most other travellers get a boat or a plane to bypass the Gap, but not Dylan. No, Dylan decided to built a raft, place his motorcycle on it, attach a propellor to the drive shaft to power the raft and sail to Colombia. Not a small undertaking and you might say brave if not foolish, but his story is very entertaining and Dylan himself is an inspiration of optimism and positivity.
I told Dylan that he would make a great mentor and that he should indeed mentor me! He paused for a bit and said he didn’t really see how he could mentor me and I suggested that it would be useful to contact him should I end up in a Colombian jail, at which point Martina, his wife, laughed and said that he would simply say, that I would eventually get out.
We shook on it, and I now have the coolest mentor out there!
What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time to the day before your first big adventure?
That was the question I was asking a few of the many well travelled adventurers at the Overland Event.
Here is what they said..
Sam Manicom: “Do an off road course, you will thank yourself, and take less stuff!”
Dylan Samarawickrama: “Don’t overplan it…it’s an adventure!”
Ted Simon: “Get on with it!”
Sjaak Lucassen: “Take time as your friend – go slow”
Stergios Gogos: “Organise your thoughts.”
Derek Mansfield: “Just Go!”
Lovely stuff from people with serious experience. Another lovely tip from Sam Manicom was to make a mental note of the time when you first feel; “Yes – this is why I’m doing this”!
I look forward to finding out when and where that will be.