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Bored Of Adventure

Blog Date - 19 December 2017

I've been following the remarkable and ridiculous antics of a young chap called Ed March for quite some time now. You can catch up at C90adventures.co.uk

It all started when he shipped his C90 out to Malaysia then he flew out there and rode it all the way back home. Along the way he made some entertaining videos which are worth watching. This lead to a series of other equally ridiculous journeys and videos.

For myself who has not been as brave or adventurous as Ed he seems to have a lot of fun exploring the world. Of course there have been bad times as well as good, it's not been a bed of roses and persistent smiles. Overall though it appears he's been living the dream.

The lonely and snow covered moors at Rannoch in the winter
This is my idea of livin' the dream. Urgh.

The latest adventure started out in the same vein yet as he progressed from the most northerly point of the Americas towards the most southerly point the mood and tone changed. He started out with his girlfriend but they decided they needed to travel separately. There were regular updates via social media and video but these became fewer and farther between. There was the odd hint of angst and disappointment in the posts.

Then he announced he'd made his way through most of South America but wasn't going to bother completing the journey. He'd packed his C90 and a few possessions onto a crate and was heading home. What?!

He feels as though he's done the adventure motorcycling around the world on a small knackered old C90 to death. He feels as though he's satisfied that need. He is ready for something new and different, a fresh set of challenges.

It is hard for me to imagine in some ways, and in others I totally understand. 

As I sit in my ordinary little living room surrounded by ordinary things like a worn out settee and my TV and my bills and my vacuum cleaner and my cup of tea I suppose I'm as ordinary as ordinary can be. In the meantime there are people out there crawling through jungles, riding across tundras, climbing mountains and sailing the oceans. To me they seem exotic and exciting and intriguing.

I think of BAT reader Borsuk upon a large ship on the vast ocean. In my mind he's a salty old sea dog clinging to a railing while lashing down stores in a tempest then when it's calm he's fixing massive engines with pistons the size of people. To me it's fascinating. 

Of course to Borsuk it is his job. I figure as a young man first setting out it was all new and novel and thrilling but today it's probably another few months away from those he loves and another bloody storm that means he'll miss his sleep and if that pump fails once more he's going to throw it overboard! 

Sharon stands next to her bike on a small ferry crossing the Clyde Estuary
Sharon is also a salty sailer too.

I once dreamt about being a programmer. Now I am (amongst other things) and while I do enjoy my job it's not quite like a scene from a hacking movie. 

And so I guess the same may become true if you're lucky enough to travel the world. From the outside looking in it appears engaging and intriguing, exciting and interesting. But like anything if you do it for long enough it becomes the norm. Another border, another random hotel or campsite, another collection of strange faces and another potholed road. 

It makes me want to not bother doing anything any more. Pffffft might as well stay at home. 

A back street behind the terraces in Bolton
Why would I ever wish to leave such beautiful surroundings anyhow.

If you want to cheer Ren the grumpy old git up then send him a cheque for £50,000 pounds. That way he can try travelling the world for a while and see if it really does become "samey". Otherwise sharing this post on social media always helps.

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Reader's Comments

CrazyFrog said :-
Ren, I've been a follower of Ed March's adventures too, and have a copy of his Malaysia DVD. I'm sorry to hear he's becoming a bit jaded with it all, but I suppose it's understandable. Apart from hacking the front forks of and creating a C90 unicycle, he really has done them to death, including creating a sidecar outfit out of 2 C90's!

It's the old 'familiarity breeds contempt' thing, isn't it. I to, really wanted to be a programmer at one point, but having been one now for the last 30 or so years, it's true to say that I won't be sorry to put it all behind me now. I don't hate my job, but I can think of many, many more satisfying ways of filling the hours. I sometimes think this is because the job has changed so much since I started, but I expect I'd be pretty bored by now if I was still doing 370 assembler.

I've also always thought that doing RTW trips or stuff like Ed March, must make returning home a huge anti climax, and quite how you settle back into normality I've no idea.

I'm now quite satisfied just pottering round in this country on my bikes, though I wouldn't rule out a continental 'adventure' at some time in the future. In the meantime, there are plenty of lovely places within an afternoons ride of home, and the lanes are so numerous, I never seem to go the same way twice....
20/12/2017 13:51:19 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
When Sharon and I have been away for a week or two in the UK coming back to reality is quite a painful experience. I have heard and I can imagine that coming back after 3 months, 6 months, a year or even several years must be very difficult indeed.

Some people earn a few quid and head straight back out, others just seem restless and others slip right back into routine like a warm pair of slippers. We're all different.

My problem is I don't know because I've never done it. I'm scared I'll quit my job and sell up and hit the road only to find after 3 weeks I'm terribly homesick and I've made a big big mistake. So I do nothing. Then I find I'm getting old. I've already had a couple of health scares and the first signs of arthritis are in my fingers. But but but... I am quite certain I'm not alone in these thoughts.

Despite all this I consider myself a very lucky chap. I have my quandries but overall I'm doing OK.
20/12/2017 16:51:56 UTC
Sharon said :-
They say great minds think alike. Well I don't know about my mind being great but it was contemplating the subject of boredom. So much so I had begun taking down notes from a book I have been reading that touches on the subject.

In Travels With Epicurus the author Daniel Klein actually talks about the fear of boredom in old age. However I think what he has to say is relevant to us all whatever age we may be. Particularly if we use newness as a means to prevent boredom. I thought this was relevant to us motorcycling adventure riders who are always looking for the next trip, the next country, in essence the next new thing.
He says
"New experiences and new things couldn't possibly be boring could they? Well apparently they often could.
Newness itself becomes old. So at the twelfth place to see before dying, viewing exotic terrain can become old hat, you've already done exotic eleven times."
He goes on to add
"If a man cannot invest his life, or any part of it, with meaning, all he has left are distractions from meaningless although few of us acknowledge them as such.
With nothing meaningful in life, nothing is interesting. Enter boredom."

What Klein is telling us is simple. To ward off boredom we have to infuse what we do with meaning.
What the meaning is is only important to ourselves.
As motorcycle travellers to seek newness for newness sake will not sustain us. One pretty French town can blow you away on first sight with its medieval market Hall. 2 weeks later of French exploration and another equally impressive Hall may not even cause a eyebrow to raise.

In another book A Philosophy of Boredom by Large Svendsen he says
"The most hyperactive of us are precisely those who have the lowest boredom threshold. We haven't almost complete lack of downtime, scurrying from one activity to the next because we cannot face tackling time that is 'empty'. Paradoxically enough, this bulging time is often frightening empty when viewed in retrospect."

Ren is rather hyperactive and as such can become bored quite quickly, while I am the opposite. I rarely ever experience a sense of boredom. To some sitting still is wasting time, wasting your life. For me such moments are meaningful, they are peaceful, reflective, recharging times.

If you have watched Eds videos particularly those while travelling with Rachel it is easy to see Ed is in the hyperactive category. He never wants to stop and part of his frustration with Rachel was her desire to just stop and stare, take some photos and absorb it all in. We all have our own way of travelling I guess.

However to prevent boredom it seems our adventures have to have additional meaning than just seeking the new. We often hear quoted that it is the journey and not the destination that matters. That the more things change the more they remain the same.
It may be that to some of us the simple pleasure of riding in itself is sufficient to keep boredom at bay. For others it may be the feeling of freedom they experience. Ultimately it is up to each of us to find what our own personal meaningful journey is.
22/12/2017 11:47:31 UTC
Keith m said :-
Blimey that's all deep and meaningful.Have the winter blues come early? Although I agree with your sentiment. I know exactly what you mean about having to go back to the normality of life after being away.After years of being at work and obviously getting older I just want to get on with life. I don't hate my job I just get frustrated at having to do it to pay my way in life, just feel I've got better things to do with my time. So would I get bored if I had an endless pot of money to do what ever I wished. Would that then be the same normality of life and become boring. Don't know, would be nice to try though.
22/12/2017 23:18:37 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Keith m - I hear a lot of people say that money won't make me happy. Perhaps. But I'd rather be a miserable old git with 5 million pounds than a miserable old git with a fiver.
22/12/2017 23:23:45 UTC
Bob said :-
Sounds like perfectly normal mid-life crisis to me!
I too have read the books and watched the videos and dreamed about the wild adventure. But the fact is I do like being at home. Everybody has their own level, some people are not happy in one place, for me - I like my home, I like my wife (most of the time) and I like my daughter, therefore I don't mind being here. On the flip side I do like to get out and about, but a week away is enough for me, be it on two wheels or otherwise.
You once wrote a piece about urban exploring and that speaks to the idea of little adventures. My 3 days in North Wales on the KLX was a cracking little adventure and the point is if you do little adventures you can do many more of them, since they require much less time and money to complete.
I've just bought a van that I'm intending to use as a stealth camper, I'll be able to go to Wales several times next year and overnight in the van, enjoying comfort and dry accommodation for the cost of diesel. I'll be able ride unencumbered with camping gear and other stuff. That'll do me.
It's human nature to compare your efforts with others, but now I'm the wrong side of 45 I really don't care anymore - do what makes you happy!
23/12/2017 07:14:03 UTC
Rod said :-
Bob- I think the answer (if there is an answer) is to have enough money and free time to experience freedom. So the lower you can keep your costs on your freedom trips the more time you can get away from it all.
I have also looked at the van option, this is OK if you are using the van for other things, like work, but if it is only to get away for a few weekends then it is not 'accommodation for the cost of diesel'. The road tax will be £200 + the insurance will be about the same, so those two costs would give you 40 + nights on a campsite. Then there are the maintenance costs, depreciation, and the MOT.
At the ripe old age of 62 I have just found that stealth camping with a tent is quite possible, and intend to explore this option more in future. Now that is life on the road with low costs.
I have got to agree with the DRY bit, and ABLE TO RIDE UNENCUMBERED WITH CAMPING GEAR ect.

23/12/2017 09:14:56 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
My mid life crisis has been a big issue for me Bob.

You see when I was in my late 20s I was an instructor. Most of the people I trained were men of my present age, presumably having their mid life crisis. I learned that you're supposed to either run off with the secretary, buy a motorcycle or get a flashy sports car.

My concern since then is what I was going to do. I've never been married so a divorce and a younger woman was not an option. I never stopped riding motorcycles so I couldn't "go back" to motorcycling. I can't afford and I don't really want a sports car. So what's an unmarried motorcyclist to do? My only option would be to get married, take a job in middle management at an established business and buy a semi in suburbia. I would have to become boringly normal.

I do accept that this thing about wanting to travel might just be a mid life crisis. I'm the right age and I'm having all the right thoughts. My life is passing me by, I'm not as young as I was, my health is a growing concern, I'm no longer as virile as I once was and I see friends dying or becoming seriously ill all around me. My child has grown up and If I had a wife I can only assume I'd think she hates me by now.

My only hope that it might not be a mid life crisis is that it's been going on since I was 30. That's 16 years! Holy cow where did that time go?

Rob and Bob. Sharon and I keep on coming back to the idea of a van. Ideally we'd be stinkingly rich and own a Winnebago. Otherwise like Bob something big enough to doss down in and trailer the bikes behind. But...but. Anything half decent costs over 7k these days unless you can take the risk on an old one. Like you say Rob - we could pay for a lot of campsites or a few hotels with the running costs and unless you use the van for work...
23/12/2017 18:06:50 UTC
Bob said :-
I know a lot of people do spend a lot of money on a van.
Mine was £795 with 72K on the clock. Today I drove to Birkenhead and back to pick up a TDM850 (I've gone large) and it never missed a beat - you can do it on the cheap.
I don't need the van for work, but for £20 a month road tax it's a useful second car.
It's such a good thing to have, I'm still getting used to the idea after all these years, I still find myself thinking "if I had a van I could fetch this or move that".
Vans and bikes go together like two things that go together really well.

On the stealth camping front, the most important aspect for me is precisely that I don't have to use a campsite, not to save money but because I flipping HATE campsites - spending all night awake listening to other people snoring/talking/breaking wind or doing "the other thing". My van is my own detached cottage, park in the middle of nowhere down a deserted lane and a perfect night can be had.

23/12/2017 22:17:57 UTC
Henrik said :-
Our trips to Norway we do in car, my wife don't like tents that much, an we can carry our to kayaks on the roof as well, so next year we will try out with a new solution making us able to sleep in the car anywhere, despite its a little Skoda Fabia Combi only ,... the car is exactly long enough :-)

We will even bring a little kitchen and a ice-box with us for the wilderness

A small 220 volt converter as well, and "emergency wc",.. etc etc

I can see nothing that prevents carrying two MC's on a trailer, in opposition to a van, yes a pain with a trailer, but a cheap solution, that ads some value to a normal car, in case such one is already there,..

The "transportation" at least can be dry, the sleep can be dry, and you can take turns driving, basically that was also the way I got from DK to RO in 2010 ,... that's was 2000 km cross Europe in less than two days, we was 4,..

24/12/2017 14:23:59 UTC
Henrik said :-
Transporter, (not mine), one week in the mountains, two days each way, my best mc adventure ever, could have sleept in the car, but we found a nice place in Romania, with full pension, and a fresh shower each evening coming down from the hills, Btw. some of the best food I have ever had, I might consider the 2000 km once again, just for the food :-)

My wife and I have been playing with the idea of a van, but we will keep it smaller, some day maybe a new Caddy, or Berlingo,... nothing more

24/12/2017 14:39:46 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
My own car is a little Ford KA. Strictly speaking I can't tow a trailer with this because Ford never got it homologated for towing - lets face it - who'd tow with such a small thing? Sharon has a 2003 Vauxhall Corsa (Opel Corsa elsewhere) which can tow up to 400kg which is enough for our bikes - just.

Both vehicles are a little too short to sleep in though.

I would consider a car large enough to bed down in and tow a trailer. Use the car to cover the dull motorway miles and share the driving, then use the bikes for exploring.

There are a few ideas bouncing around in my head but they involve spending money and you all know how much I hate spending money. BAH HUMBUG!
24/12/2017 16:59:33 UTC
Henrik said :-
"I would consider a car large enough to bed down in and tow a trailer. Use the car to cover the dull motorway miles and share the driving, then use the bikes for exploring"

Exactly my point, my Skoda Fabia Combi 2013 can just do this, ugly admitted, but to my surprise just long enough. Can tow 800 kg with brakes, 550 kg without, guess you can find similar relatively cheap, still ok,..

Definitely consider the trailer question when next time you look for a new car,.. the comfort of a bigger tent also, etc etc,.. do a base-camp

Untill then you could consider a second-hand roof-tent and use sharons car
Just to check out the basic idea in case none of the cars are being sold any time soon, but you whant to start the experiment partly,.. at once

24/12/2017 17:48:49 UTC
ChrisBell said :-
I have no advice, but I feel you may have been listening to this from the last couple of lines (or so).

Motorhead We Ara the Road Crew (rest in peace Eddie Clarke 2018)

Another town another place,
Another girl, another face,
Another truce, another race,
I'm eating junk, feeling bad,
Another night, I'm going mad,
My woman's leaving, I feel sad,
But I just love the life I lead,
Another beer is what I need,
Another gig my ears bleed,
We Are The Road Crew
Another town I've left behind,
Another drink completely blind,
Another hotel I can't find,
Another backstage pass for you,
Another tube of super glue,
Another border to get through,
I'm driving like a maniac,
Driving my way to hell and back,
Another room a case to pack,
We Are The Road Crew
Another hotel…

13/01/2018 14:17:42 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I never was much of a Motorhead fan but I hold (held?) them in great respect. I was from a later era - Metallica, Anthrax and Slayer but I know their roots were founded by Motorhead et al.

It is sad they've all passed away but considering their lifestyle I think they had a fair crack of the whip. They sure knew how to party that's fer sure.

Cheers Chris - a poignant and relevant comment.
14/01/2018 10:49:51 UTC

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