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Offline Dorsland

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Reflections on Adventure
« on: July 12, 2015, 01:51:09 pm »
I recently started a project of scanning all my old photos so I have a permanent digital library rather than a pile of albums filled with fading photos.

The reminiscing of a purist can be a bastid though.

While going through my old travel pix, I was comparing the simplicity of those trips with what has become a technology and money race to see who can take the most gadgets along as they “get away from it all”.

In the process, I believe the essence of adventure has been lost as we strive for more comfort and connectivity, certainty, schedules and gadgets. What is billed as an adventure has become more of an extended road trip as we load our pre-planned routes onto the GPS; arrange cell phone roaming contracts with contact numbers for roadside assistance, Medivac, insurance with vehicle repatriation; charge laptops and tablets so we can update the blog;  book accommodation that has a WiFi hotspot and make sure we have enough memory cards for the gazillion photos we will be taking to prove to everyone that we had an ADVENTURE.

We then load everything into our 4WD or onto our bike that has Satnav, ABS, ESC, ESA, airbags enough to refloat the Titanic, heated seats and air conditioned interior, hill descent control, cruise control, hands free, Bluetooth, DVD player, snorkel, winch, Inmarsat phone, SPOT, GoPro, fold-up satellite dish, DSTV card for the lodge decoder, and and and.

And then we head out into the great outdoors.

To me, adventure is the unknown, the unpredictable, the new and undiscovered, the challenge of testing yourself under unexpected circumstances, of finding a solution, adapting existing plans to suit changing circumstances.  Of pushing the envelope of everyday humdrum experiences a bit further.  An adventure must have an element of risk and uncertainty, of edginess, to it.  There must be the “What if ….?” in the back of my mind all the time.  

As I get older, I like my comfort as much as the next guy.  I am also a paid-up member of G&GA (Gadgets & Gizmos Anonymous). But it seems to me we are planning our adventures into Sunday picnics with every aspect catered for, every eventuality covered, all risk removed and insured, sanitised.

The first men in space - without detracting from their achievement or the enormity of the task - had pre-knowledge of what to expect and thus their “adventure” - big as it was - was less than that of early explorers in their sailing ships who had absolutely no idea what to expect, no pre-knowledge at all.  Those early explorers had much bigger ghoens than the former.  Theirs was a true adventure.

Our road trips masquerading as adventure leave nothing to chance, no sliver of mishap is allowed, all bases are covered.

Going through my photos, some of my best memories and greatest adventures were experienced on a TT500 with no lights and no instruments. I strapped a cheap Pep Stores bag, my army sleeping bag and a cheap shoulder satchel to it, stuffed a few cash notes into my Fox Racing canvas wallet and took off for 5 weeks with absolutely no plan.  I had not even a road map with me.  

I slept under one of those concrete picnic tables on the roadside near Warden when a hailstorm caught me, got arrested for sleeping on a beach near Southbroom where I’d stripped the bike as I couldn’t get it started, met some RLI guys at Port St Johns and we got into a barney with some hippy types at the hotel, got dumped by my girlfriend in PE, meerkatted on the N1 with a guy on an XT500 I met in CT.  A true adventure.

I have travelled through Africa in 3 different LandCruiser station wagons I have owned.  But the best trip I ever did was to Tanzania in the cheapest one of them all: a 1986 FJ60 G Series with a 3F engine.  The 5 week solo camping trip - including fuel - cost me R3300!   Between Tete and Blantyre I could travel a maximum of about 60 km/h after I got dirty fuel in Tete. Big interlinks were passing me.  I paid nothing for a strip down and repair at Blantyre Toyota.  I was accosted by smoked up Mozambiquans when I stopped to photograph a burnt out Russian T54 tank deep in the bush somewhere (that event got my heart rate going!); I met a beautiful German girl in Zimbabwe, celebrated her birthday on the ferry between Milibizi and Kariba town, but that ended in heartache and tears on both sides; I unwittingly snorkled with a crocodile at Cape Mclear on Lake Malawi, enjoyed the company of Nganazana and Nikson at Monkey Bay who cooked, washed, tidied my camp and prepared a fish and rice meal of note on the beach for Christmas Day for me.  Nikson invited me to his village to meet his family and wrote me for about 4 years after that trip.

We all have stories like this, but my point is that the quality of the experience seems to be inversely related to the level of planning and money and gadgets and technology and pre-knowledge. This, and other forums like it are wonderful sources of information, technical knowledge and gear reviews.  I spend too many hours here reading and writing and looking and pix, dreaming of adventure.  But sometimes, what is learnt, cannot be unlearnt.  If you have seen or experienced what you have hoped for, what is there to hope for any longer.

The unknown is the adventure, the thrill, the challenge.  How will I square up against that big unknown, that adventure?
« Last Edit: July 12, 2015, 03:00:46 pm by Dorsland »
'Tis the time’s plague, when madmen lead the blind.

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Offline Bliknêrs

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Re: Reflections on Adventure
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2015, 02:21:40 pm »
Awesome!
Post more, please.
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Offline Wayne

Re:
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2015, 02:54:55 pm »
More please
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Offline Cracker

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Re: Reflections on Adventure
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2015, 03:01:29 pm »
You are right and wrong at the same time.

Years ago we had no gadgets, they didn't exist and you went on a trip with the best you had - which was some kit and lots of advise from other people - some useful, some crap. You couldn't book ahead or phone and cancel, you just went - it was normal to do it that way. You didn't know any different.

Nowadays, we can organise plenty things we couldn't before - so why not? We would have if we had it back then.

You're right, though, the biggest adventure now is to purposely leave all you know behind and ride off into the distance - now that's something worthwhile to put on the bucket list.
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Offline Dorsland

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Re: Reflections on Adventure
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2015, 03:08:36 pm »
You are quite right Cracker, and I too, despite the purist in me, love planning a route on BaseCamp, checking out my GPS all the time to see what the route is, the bearing,  ETA, how far to the next waypoint.  I SMS my 2IB now and again to let her know where I am.  I have written most of an RR from my damn cell phone, complete with pix.  It's great.  

But it's so easy and so comfortable.  It's just so bloody safe.

Your signature line says it all:  we have to take some fear along with us.   An adventure should be so much more than a ride to the shops.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2015, 03:16:10 pm by Dorsland »
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Offline alanB

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Re: Reflections on Adventure
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2015, 03:13:48 pm »
I agree with a lot of what you say.

When I 1st started 4x4'ing I got caught up in the hype of buying all the nice accessories, and it seemed that you simply had to try and bolt ever conceivable thing to your car or roof.

So like everyone else I tried to do that.  It was great fun.

But after going away on some really nice trips - one starts to learn.

Firstly we tend to try and take waaaaaaay too much stuff - most of it is only used once or twice on a trip simply to show off to your mates that you brought what ever it was along.  Plus it all takes time to pack and unpack etc.  But then of course you are tempted to buy "the next level" where you take a lot of stuff but it all just "folds out" to minimise the schelp of packing - and pretty soon you are looking at trailers that cost more than your car  :o :biggrin:.  Been there done that  ;D

In fact the standard progression with all 4x4'ers seemed to be:
1) Buy 4x4
2) Fill the car full to brim with stuff
3) Buy roofrack and all the other outside bolt-on stuff
4) Fill roof etc full of stuff
5) Buy trailer
6) Fill trailer full of stuff
7) Buy bigger 4x4
8) Start from 2 above...

But actually the moment of truth came when I was on a kayaking trip around Inhaca isalnd, and we were forced to stay in a local village on the mainland for the night (we camped in one the locals back garden).  On the kayaking trip we were forced to pack light because you had to fit it all into your kayak (you cant strap anything on top because you will probably lose it in the surf and in any event you have to paddle the dam thing, as well as drag it along when the water isnt deep enough), and being in the local village I got a good perspective of how the locals live (a very simple pleasant life IMO).  Anyway, while I was wondering around the village having a look around the next morning, a SA 4x4 came through the narrow track that rant through the village.  It had every conceivable thing bolted to it, a huge roof rack full of stuff, as well as a huge trailer - with only two people inside, and they were probably just on a couple of days trip!

It just struck me as it drove past just how excessive that whole thing was.

On my next 4x4 trip after that I got rid off all the unnecessary stuff and just concentrated on the basics.  Result was much less load, much better fuel consumption. Much faster packing/unpacking .  Much less hassle getting through tricky areas etc etc.

You dont need all the crap - really.  Only real things to worry about is fuel, water, small tent, mattress etc chair food and beer.  If you select your kit wisely it doesn't take a lot of space and doesn't weigh much when in the car.  

Same applies on the bike, only more so.  Keep the stuff you take to the absolute minimum!
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Offline 2StrokeDan

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Re: Reflections on Adventure
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2015, 04:46:45 pm »
I am a purist when it comes to motorcycling, and I agree, Johan, that we originally never wavered to set out on a trip, on equipment which will see most modern riders sit at home rather than own a motorcycle, let alone travel into remote places on it.

Yamaha DT400, army sleeping bag without inner, tin food, matches, and off you go.

Just on Saturday, while riding at Macassar's sand dunes, another rider asked me; "Do you not worry about riding on your own, without back-up, and not even a cellphone?"

I meet so much disbelief, and people actually insinuating that I am being either stupid/trying to act tough, people cannot accept that this is who I am, I ride without atgatt,
without GPS, without cellphone and certainly without Satphone.

And I know that most disbelievers are actually just trying to justify their own insecurity by doubting me.

Once again, it is for yourself to decide. If you need a 24volt electric system on you bike to power your homing devices, use it.
It is after all available, while in my days they were not.
 

Offline Bokveld

Re: Reflections on Adventure
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2015, 04:50:21 pm »
   Dankie Dorsland.Ek het gedink ek is al simpel bliksem wat oor is!
 

Offline TheBear

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Re: Reflections on Adventure
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2015, 04:52:04 pm »
The problem with humans, Dorsland, is that we have the capability to learn.  My first ever bike tour was a 2000km trip on a 50cc Yamaha.  Sleeping bag and clothes.  It was fêkking awesome!  My 2nd trip, I took Mom's paraffin cooker thingy from her fondue set and a tin cup with a bit of coffee and sugar and the bloody comfort cycle started.   :imaposer: 

Third trip, now on a 250 Yamaha, I even took a tent!


And I know that most disbelievers are actually just trying to justify their own insecurity by doubting me.



How do you know this!?   :eek7:
« Last Edit: July 12, 2015, 04:56:50 pm by AMZ »
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Offline 2StrokeDan

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Re: Reflections on Adventure
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2015, 04:53:58 pm »
And I know that most disbelievers are actually just trying to justify their own insecurity by doubting me.



How do you know this!?   :eek7:

I am sure now that one of them just questioned me again. :peepwall:
 

Offline TheBear

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Re: Reflections on Adventure
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2015, 04:55:28 pm »
And I know that most disbelievers are actually just trying to justify their own insecurity by doubting me.



How do you know this!?   :eek7:

I am sure now that one of them just questioned me again. :peepwall:


I didn't question you, or your riding methods and style.  Just asked how you knew that bit.  Ah well.  I should have know better.   ???
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Offline Dorsland

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Re: Re: Reflections on Adventure
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2015, 04:58:44 pm »
   Dankie Dorsland.Ek het gedink ek is al simpel bliksem wat oor is!
Ou Bokveld, hoe meer geleerd en gevorderd die wêreld en sy mense raak, hoe minder pas ek daarin. Ek verlang party dae erg na daardie eenvoud. Ek wonder of elke generasie so 'n hunkering het.
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Offline Tommy Transalp

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Re: Reflections on Adventure
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2015, 04:58:54 pm »
Talking of minimalism...... I've taken my gps off my bike now as well....... garmin tries to lead around the bush anyway with all their options!
Take a paper map frommeled in your top pocket, study the map beforehand and go!.... getting lost is half the adventure! Quite often I've had the best experiences and memories by getting lost... :3some: :thumleft:
I live in my own world...
But it's ok... they know me there!
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Offline Tommy Transalp

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Re: Reflections on Adventure
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2015, 05:01:08 pm »
How do they say?   Take half the kit you think you need... but twice the money! :ricky:
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Offline 2StrokeDan

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Re: Reflections on Adventure
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2015, 05:01:37 pm »
And I know that most disbelievers are actually just trying to justify their own insecurity by doubting me.



How do you know this!?   :eek7:

I am sure now that one of them just questioned me again. :peepwall:


I didn't question you, or your riding methods and style.  Just asked how you knew that bit.  Ah well.  I should have know better.   ???

In fairness to you, let me try and explain the statement that you queried.  Someone will ask me; do you not take a cellphone along? Do you not use a GPS? Then they will comment that, in their opinion, it is not wise to ride so recklessly.
IOW, these guys display their own fear of my manner of riding, and then justify it in their own minds by insinuating that I am the reckless one, and they are safe.
 

Offline Dorsland

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Re:
« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2015, 05:03:50 pm »
@AMZ: that 50cc trip still leaves you with the best memories right?  Precisely because it was a bit scary, a bit seat of the pants, very "waaghalsig".

I want every trip to be like that, butterflies in my stomach, cant-sleep-the-night-before nervous.
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Offline TheBear

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Re: Reflections on Adventure
« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2015, 05:04:35 pm »
And I know that most disbelievers are actually just trying to justify their own insecurity by doubting me.



How do you know this!?   :eek7:

I am sure now that one of them just questioned me again. :peepwall:


I didn't question you, or your riding methods and style.  Just asked how you knew that bit.  Ah well.  I should have know better.   ???

In fairness to you, let me try and explain the statement that you queried.  Someone will ask me; do you not take a cellphone along? Do you not use a GPS? Then they will comment that, in their opinion, it is not wise to ride so recklessly.
IOW, these guys display their own fear of my manner of riding, and then justify it in their own minds by insinuating that I am the reckless one, and they are safe.

Thanks.  Makes sense.
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Offline TheBear

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Re:
« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2015, 05:05:35 pm »
@AMZ: that 50cc trip still leaves you with the best memories right?  Precisely because it was a bit scary, a bit seat of the pants, very "waaghalsig".

I want every trip to be like that, butterflies in my stomach, cant-sleep-the-night-before nervous.

By far Dorsland, by far. 

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Offline 2StrokeDan

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Re: Reflections on Adventure
« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2015, 05:10:06 pm »
I love to sit at home, the few days before leaving on a trip, and taking the overall route, I break it up into what I am roughly planning to do daily, then draw up daily maps with a lot of detail on them. These I obviously take out on each relevant day.
Mostly though, it is just a Caltex roadmap, or often the maps you get in your car's service book kit, of where the dealer network is.

The latter obviously not from a French car. :peepwall:
 

Offline 2StrokeDan

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Re: Reflections on Adventure
« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2015, 05:14:17 pm »
There are definitely like-minded people out there, like Bokveld and the OP, out there, but I yearn more for a slow, reliable motorcycle to take a real slow-food trip on.

I am going to get my DT175 roadworthied, now that Dorsland has sparked up the flames again.

Will someone just track me electronically in case I encounter difficulty? :eek7: