A fellow Versys rider from Greece was in the area this weekend so I decided to invite him for a drink at the newly opened Ace Café here in Barcelona. We spent a couple of hours talking about travelling and – of course – comparing our bikes and the modifications we’ve made.
Kostas is touring Europe, basically circumnavigating it:
Now when I’m looking back at our first holiday on four wheels I can conclude that it was, overall, a success, although with its ups and downs. First of all, leaving London was emotional. We both have had a great time there and didn’t really want to leave although we could see an exciting future ahead of us, riding motorbikes all summer and then heading off for Japan. So having left our keys and loaded up the bikes we headed towards Hay-on-Wye in Wales for the Horizons Unlimited event where we were to spend the first weekend.
The weekend proved to be just as inspiring as I had imagined and I fully enjoyed being among people who do amazing things which makes my travels seem boring. To me, it proves that all the people who tell me that travelling alone is dangerous, and that I do crazy things, are wrong and I love seeing the limit for what is possible being moved further ahead – the true meaning of Horizons Unlimited is that only one’s imagination is the limit for what one can achieve. To name a few people that inspired me during this weekend, Sjaak Lukassen who travelled around the world on his Yamaha R1, Dylan Samarawickrama who rebuilt his BMW GS to create a raft enabling him to cross the Darien Gap and enter Columbia during his around the world journey and Tiffany Coates who travelled for three months in Madagascar riding the muddy trail and crossing rivers by means of dugout canoes. Although these people and their stories inspire me, I do not desire to do what they have done and their adventures will never be mine – simply because my dreams are different. I do not want to ride to the north pole, sail a raft or ride in the outback of Madagascar. I want to go to Japan together with my partner, teach English, buy motorbikes and travel around the islands.
This is where this post becomes a tad political and utterly sad. While we, of course, were aware of the referendum and Christopher had posted his vote before we left London, we did not expect the Vote Leave to come out on top. With our situation, as a British-Swedish mixed couple, using the free movement to live and work in different EU countries, we are personally affected by the referendum result but we do not yet know to what extent it will impact our future. So how does this affect our plans to go to Japan, one might wonder. Well, the idea was to return to Europe after a couple of years, work in Italy or perhaps Germany for a couple of years and then return to Spain and settle there. Now, when Christopher is running the risk of losing his status as a European citizen we feel that heading to Japan may risk our possibilities of returning to Spain. In this sense, time is against us, and it would possibly be better to give up the dream of the land of the rising sun in favour of an early return to Spain to get established there and apply for permanent residency. One major drawback with this is that I no longer have a job there, since my application of an extended leave was turned down and I had to resign. I honestly couldn’t believe some British people would be so stupid that they would think that Britain would be better off leaving the EU. Especially not after studying Vote Leave’s propaganda for an essay in sociolinguistics where I studied power and language. I was specifically looking at loaded words and how a specific use of words can imply a meaning that is not actually backed up by facts. Sadly, the Vote Leave supporters didn’t bother to read up on the references for the claims made by Vote Leave.
At this point, I have got over the feeling that it is a nightmare and I will wake up soon and we are trying to come to terms with the fact that our future will take a different turn. We are trying to evaluate our possibilities and be positive about the alternatives. As long as we can be together we will create a good future. By now you are probably wondering what this has to do with motorbiking… well – I would say: everything! To quote Haruki Murakami and “Dance, Dance, Dance”: “It’s all connected, the sheep man says”. Stay tuned for my next post – which will be about our touring in ace Wales, and an upcoming guest post by Christopher – novice motorbike rider and proud owner of a Honda CG 125 called Koneko.
I’m amazed to find this “thank you” letter from the Australian GP corporation in my letter box, it has authentic signatures, not photocopied. We were 500 marshals. I’m impressed! It also shares some statistic from the race, such as the number of overtakings between the top 4 riders in the GP category, 52 (!) and the number of lead changes, 12 (!). Apart from this they prais our work as marshals and wants us back for next year, if only I could, I had the time of my life!