Putting together this project was one crazy jenga puzzle! The journey started 5 years ago after returning from my first real adventure abroad. I had spent 12 months travelling through North America and Europe.
I had become infected by the travel virus and it has proven to be an incredibly difficult affliction to shake. Some say that the bug is permanent and fatal. Further damage was dealt by Ginsberg’s On the Road, Boorman and McGregor’s “Long Way” series and then, the final blows came in a flurry of responsibility and the banal monotony of a quotidian 9 – 5 existence.
My favourite quote is that “regret hurts more than failure”. After 5 years practicing law I was starting to make headway. I became director of a small firm, relatively knowledgeable and had built a reasonable client base. The next logical step in the sequence of life would be to invest in a house, a wife and a long-term loan to an incorporated, legitimised thief, splitting my fortnightly pay packet with them down the middle. For 30 – 40 years. And then die. But I yearned for more. I yearned to travel – freely and without restriction.
I had always been attracted to motorbike travel. There is a sense of freedom which is impossible to explain. I had also had the goal of traversing the southern tip of Argentina up north to Alaska. The trip then planned itself.
I started researching motorbikes, visa requirements and putting together some costings and expenditure. It all looked possible on paper, and certainly the track had been worn by travellers before. As I built upon that idea, the reality struck – it was now or never. I went into overdrive and set the wheel in motion.
It was a friend of mine who suggested I take the opportunity to raise money and awareness for a worthy cause. I would have gathered some public following from my time on MasterChef Australia and he explained that the journey was newsworthy in itself, regardless of how many people I might connect with along the way. It did not take long for us to narrow down our cause and our charity – Beyond Blue and their work with depression and suicide prevention.
My own battles with depression were a primary reason for embarking on this trip. The confines of life and social pressure to climb the corporate ladder had seen me cast aside a lot of what I held close and push aside my dreams. This spiralled into a sense of depression which would see me cut off from friends, sleeping through days and suffering under a general cloud of malaise. The reasoning was that I remained unfulfilled. There was a world out there that I wanted to chase, however I was ground in one spot.
The theme for the journey was then set – dare to dream, and chase them. Go out there and have a go. Do that thing you have always wanted to do. The task we wanted to set then needed to meet the strength and importance of the message. Joel joked to me “mate, why just the Americas? Why not ride around the world?” We laughed a little before realising how much sense that all made.
The impact of depression is that you feel helpless and weak. The world seems too big and you seem not to matter. The slightest of tasks seems like a mountain and the helplessness and hopelessness can be crippling. Such was the daunting task of riding a motorbike, solo around the world. It had to be done. It had to be proven. And if it wasn’t possible, and if I never made it – at least I could say that I tried. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, success and failure are mere outcomes – what is important is that you tried. The pain of failure will never hurt as much as the pain of regret and so if you can say you tried, and failed, you can still hold your head up high.
And that is the message that we are looking to spread. Try, try, try. Take it in baby steps – one meter and one mile at a time. Go out there and do what you want to do – take the leap, make the decision and have a go. Whatever the end result, I promise you’ll be happier for it than if you never make the attempt.