"Are you going
away for a longer trip again? Why, you just came back from Spain, bought
a house and all!" Several people said the same thing when we initiated
our plans for a one year, Pan American trip last summer. We did not really
have a good answer, but maybe it will be clear after reading this chapter.
|Kind of obstacles we can expect,
I guess. Rocinante made this one, although it came so sudden on the
driver, that is me, because of another earth slide that caught his
attention, that all he had time to do was open the throttle and stand
up on the foot-pegs The rear suspension hit rock bottom when it tried
to dampen the impact. The irony was that the road ended after another
200 meters and he had to turn and go back the same way.
I was 27 years old when I first left Europe on a longer sailing adventure
to Caribbean and Venezuela. This was the year after I had finished university,
and I stayed away for seven months, one half was spent on the sail ship,
one half backpacking my way through the three northern most countries
of South America; Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador. To get going, I abandoned
the plans to take my education to the next level, decided to wait a year
before applying for work as an engineer, and worked temporarily in a metal
plant to save up the funds I needed. The funds didn't last, and halfway
through the trip I engaged my father back home to negotiate a loan from
my bank, in order to continue a few more months.
The trip ignited the traveler in me. After I came back, I looked for
work as an engineer and found a good job in the offshore seismic company
of PGS(Petroleum Geo Services). I worked both offshore and onshore for
the next seven years - and still do when I write this for another few
months - and since for each day I worked offshore I got one day off, I
managed to do quite a bit of traveling.
When Bente and me got together, my urge to travel got a companion, as
she had also done her share and wanted more. She worked as a tourist guide
in Spain and Greece for a couple of years before we met, and in the times
we talked before we got together - we had known each other for years -
we always ended up talking about places we wanted to see.
Naturally traveling became an important factor in our life together,
and the next few years we traveled with backpacks to Mexico, Australia
and Greece - but always on a tight time schedule.
Bente was the one who initiated the idea to stay in Spain over a longer
period. I was reluctant at first - I don't know why - but slowly I got
convinced that it was a good idea. The Spanish period is well described
on it's own separate page, so I shall not linger with it here. But one
big change it brought on us, or especially to me, was my commitment to
motorbike travel. I started reading stories on the web about world travelers
on two wheels, and read books by famous motorcycling world tourers like
Helge Pedersen and Ted Simon.
With these books behind me, I was sold. Over the next months I used all
my power to convince Bente that a one year trip on the bike was the way
to go. This time it was she who hesitated. No wonder, since we just had
gotten back from Spain and bought a house that we still were braking in.
But she gave in and finally, in Geiranger on our Lofoten trip on the Tiger,
we raised our glasses and agreed to go through with the Pan American trip.
Restlessness is definitely a key to why we do this. We have decided against
having kids, and when you get to an age where everybody else have children
ranging from babies to teenagers, you start looking for an excuse not
to go down that road. Or is it the other way round? Do people settle down
with a family because they are afraid of the world out there? Is it easier
to follow the rules and standards made by society, than it is to follow
I don't know. All I know is that I am restless to get going on the next
trip. It's not all healthy, as I have sometimes been planning not the
upcoming trip, but the next one.
This time we have made decisions far more serious than before. I have
quit my job. I'm still working, but by the time we are on the road, there
will not be the safety of a job to come back to. I have worked seven years
in the company, and have considered changing job for the last three-four
years. The reasons for staying were always the same, a work schedule that
gave me six months off each year, and a pay far beyond what I could expect
in a regular job onshore. The reasons for leaving were just as good; After
so many years there were nothing new to learn, and I was bored, quite
I was given a push to make the decision this time. Just after getting
the approval I needed for a one year leave of absence, my company initiated
a redundancy program, offering a substantial pay for people who volunteered
to leave the company. I took the offer, which of course speeded up our
travel plans, and at the same time initiated a flood of mind crunching
thoughts of what I should do when we get back.
Bente has been working both for her father and for Manpower for the last
few years, and gathered quite a wide range of experiences from it. She
will probably be working again long before I have found something I can
But let us not forget why we get restless and the itch comes back again
and again. We simply love to travel, to seek out new places where they
receive you, not like a stranger, but like a traveler. Spain had this
effect on us, and I suspect Latin America to be much the same. We also
love the Spanish language. Both of us speak it fairly well, and frankly,
the language was a very important factor when we chose destination. Where
else in the world can you travel through country after country for months
where they speak the same language. Instead of learning a little of every
tongue, we're going to be close to fluent in one.
I'm a bit more hesitant with the USA, since I grew up with big brother
on television, in fashion, food, cinemas, cars, the whole lot, to the
extent of almost despising it. But although I've been to most continents
in the world, I've actually only spent six hours in the US; On the international
airport of Miami hunting for a cheap ticket over to Europe on my return
from South America. And then again, this is the country where most of
our contacts live, and where most invitations for stopovers comes from.
And it is definitely the best place to start a trip like ours, since any
upgrades we want to do, or have to do, before heading south into more
rural areas, can be done here at a fair price. And finally, they say it's
supposed to be beautiful.
I put my trust on Bente, who have been over there, driving a convertible
in California. She will guide me, I hope.
I'm convinced we are doing the right thing. You never know when the next
opportunity will come up, and postponing dreams often end up with them
being just that for the rest of our lives.
The above is another way of explaining
why we leave....