• Simon Weir

Back to reality

Well, that's it... the trip of a lifetime is over. When can I start the next one?


There's always a slight sadness at the end of a trip - a comedown after a high. Leaving Sydney in early summer to return to wet, cold, Brexity Blighty definitely counts as a comedown. That was inevitable, so I'm keeping positive.


There's lots to do: get a job, get a place to live, get the bike back, get on with turning my adventures into a book (and getting it published, as the publisher who initially said they would take it has changed ownership, direction and, apparently, its mind...)


Do I regret it? Not for one second - though with hindsight I could have done things differently in a few areas. I would have taken the time to ship the bike by sea, direct to New York at the start of the trip. I would have taken a different tent – my trusty Redvertez Nomad Expedition, which has a garage area and is big enough for me to stand up in. I'd have accepted the slower pace that camping forces on you, in return for being able to stand upright and have an under-canvas area where I could sit and work in comfort.


Does hindsight suggest I should have taken a different bike? Not for the trip I did. I loved every mile on my Kawasaki Z1000SX – it shaped and defined the trip, infusing every mile with its sporty side. A shaft-driven bike would have been easier to live with, not needing chain maintenance, and a dual-sport machine would have opened some areas I avoided (from the unpaved Valley of the Gods in Utah to Baja California and all points south). A physically bigger machine with more luggage space would have made it possible to pack the bigger tent, too...


And perhaps I shouldn't have imposed a time-limit on myself. To really do the follow-your-nose, go-where-looks-interesting meander around the globe can't be done on a strict timescale (and certainly not on a budget... though I pretty much blew that to pieces anyway). I ended up skipping Latin America because I'd left myself a notional three and a half weeks to do 8000 miles... and I knew neither figure would stack up. The US had been supposed to be 6000 miles over four and a half weeks, but turned out to be more than 12,000 miles over eight weeks and it still felt like I'd rushed bits (and that was after I'd accepted I would have to skip some places entirely).


But the important decision I reached along the way was to come back: not to run away and hide on the far side of the world, but to build a life with my girlfriend in the UK; to be here for my kids and my parents; and to be able to keep riding in the Alps, the Picos, Corsica, the North Coast 500 and all my other favourite places, of course...


So now I'm back, facing the painful reality of making a living in the UK again but looking forward to riding in Europe next summer. Let's see what happens next...



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SIMON WEIR
The Riding Guide