The Spirit of Exploration Defined...
Back in 2008, I wrote an article for -oddly enough- Bombay Sapphire on how I defined the phrase "Spirit of Exploration." The article was written time-wise following the conclusion of my almost two-year exodus from a conventional life, and of course there are motorcycle references. While we are on the tailwind of all things adventure-y here on Moterrific, I thought I'd share it as well as a few of my favorite photos** (see link below) from the last ten years of travelling on foot.
"The potential for a life beyond the looking glass lies dormant within us all; perhaps not on a scale as grand as conquering the Seven Summits, but certainly the ability to seek out and discover the endless possibilities in everyday life. Exploration is, after all, defined as ‘travel for the purpose of discovery.’ Whether it be a night out on the town at a new restaurant, a bicycle ride beyond the confines of town, or a weekend road trip sans agenda, to quote Dante: “From a little spark may burst a mighty flame.” And so it begins…the spirit of exploration starts with the first step toward our fascination with discovery and the challenges brought forth by life’s unpredictability.
After that first taste of the unknown, a sort of perpetual flame manifests itself and a hunger for the next journey begins. The waters are tested with an impromptu purchase of a plane ticket to an exotic locale. You invisibly slink into an environment far outside the realm of academia. ‘I am captivated by this new culture but I don’t speak the language.’ ‘The food tastes incredible, but I have no idea what I am eating.’ ‘I’d love to travel outside the city but how does one accomplish that?’ Faced with challenges that test your reflexes, your ability to think outside the box, and cope with any and all situations, you are consumed by doubt and fear of the unknown. Suddenly, you surprise yourself. You pantomime hunger to find the nearest restaurant. You remember the pen is mightier than the sword and hastily draw a train on a crumpled credit card receipt, visually asking directions to the train station. You find a fancy four-star hotel with bilingual staff, learn how to say “take me somewhere you go to escape,” and momentarily stun the taxi driver when you ask in his native tongue. Back home you feel a strange sense of pride, of conquering your fears and doubts, and in your dreams at night, you find yourself planning the next great escape.
The great announcement comes: a chance to leave behind the dusty mauve walls of your claustrophobic cube to travel the world for a year. A thousand pessimistic voices creep into your head, followed by interventions of all kinds attempting to evaluate your sanity for choosing something so…irresponsible. After eight months of touring Europe and Asia, poking and prodding your way through different cultures, creatively overcoming language barriers, dealing with the influx of tourists into your clandestine hiding spot, indulging your ignorance at mealtime, and battling brief moments of insanity coupled with bliss, you find yourself blazing down a different path, this time on a motorcycle in South America. You cease to depend on the whims of all others and there before you lies the open road, the ultimate adventure into the unknown. Eight months later after an expedition of almost all of South America, you return home to regale bar patrons with stories that leave them questioning if it were all a lie. And then, after a late night of carousing, they head home to their beds, and in their dreams at night, they picture themselves on that motorcycle. And so it begins…the spirit of exploration manifests itself once again as a little spark which bursts into a mighty flame."
**Aptly titled Globetrotting, here is a selection of photos from years 2002 through 2009, excluding the South American motorcycle adventure.