Adventure Travel Archives
I did the dumbest thing along the way…
I accidentally re-programmed my GPS to take me to the south of France instead of to Zurich for my Dad’s 70th birthday (my GPS thought it was taking me on a beach holiday!). I only realized my mistake after I had ridden 200km in the wrong direction, freezing my ass off in the pissing rain!
Instead of camping overnight like I had planned, the thought of a warm bed rather than a wet sleeping bag compelled me to hit the highway and blast all the way to Zurich in one stretch.
It was one of the toughest rides of my life. I ploughed through the rain for 8 hours, keeping myself awake by singing to myself in my helmet, and arrived in Zurich at 9pm, exhausted and wet, but with a smile on my face.
It’s 4am as I type this from my 2 man tent in Montherme, France. I’ve just been woken by a torrential downpour and I’m wondering if my tent was designed to withstand this level of bettering from the elements…
Yes, you guessed it, I’m camping… this time in France.
It’s my Dad’s 70th birthday party next weekend in Zurich, so I decided to make an adventure out of it and ride my motorcycle (I’ve named her Noushka – as in Anoushka without the first A) to Zurich instead of fly.
Yesterday morning I woke at 5am and rode to Dover to catch my 8am ferry to Dunqerke, France. After 6 hours of blatting down the motorways (a technical term for riding my motorcycle fast) I arrived in Montherme, a quaint French village built beside a peaceful river.
I set up my tent and ‘viola’ (as all the French say – pronounced ‘wal-la’), I was in camping heaven… until I realized I left my motorcycle boots outside to be filled with rain… Oh well, I’m going to have wet feet when I get back on my bike, but hey, that’s why I call this adventure motorcycling, not sightseeing from a bus!
Caio for now… I’m off to listen to my Relaxation For Manifestation in the rain…
In today’s Lesson From The Saddle Of My Bullet (my Indian motorcycle) we learn about an essential ingredient for success that many people overlook.
I hurtled towards a left hand corner on a dusty dirt road cut out of the Himalayan mountainside. I was aware that this could be the last 5 seconds of my life. The sharp corner had appeared out of nowhere and was getting closer and closer with each passing second.
Dirt road has a lot less grip than tar and I needed to slow down fast. Braking on dirt road is like a delicate balancing act. If you pull the front brake too hard, you lock up the front wheel. Pull the back brake too hard and it will also lock up without slowing you down.
If I didn’t slow down enough, I would be forced to lean my Bullet into the corner at an angle far greater than its tyres would cater for and the probable outcome would be a few broken bones at best. Getting around this corner upright was going to be a calculation of note – a dance with the forces of nature as I juggled the variables of momentum, traction, acceleration, gravity and trajectory.
I applied gentle pressure to both brakes at once, focused my eyes on the apex of the corner, shifted my bodyweight to the left of the saddle and entered the corner too fast.
The tail end of my Bullet twitched as my rear wheel passed the apex of the corner, threatening to give up traction at any second. However, seconds later, the dusty mountain corner was in my rearview mirror and I was still alive. Phew, that was close…
Bullet Lesson #5: Practice makes perfect
The reason I was able to make those calculations so quickly and survive that dangerous situation without falling off had little to do with luck and everything to do with practice. I have been practicing riding motorcycles for 18 years, attended advanced motorcycling courses and covered hundreds of thousands of miles on 2 wheels around the globe.
What I am pointing to is that I have PRACTICED cornering thousands of times before and the practicing gave me the skill to get out of this sticky situation alive.
Success in any endeavor does not happen by accident. It happens when practice meets opportunity.
“Practice as if you are the worst; perform as if you are the best.”
The easiest way to prepare for success is to practice in a simulated environment, where failure can be explored. In such an environment, you can move out of your comfort zone and test the limits of your capability, because growth only happens outside your comfort zone. This is particularly useful when real world failure could cost you money or your life…
For example, I became a capable motorcyclist through attending training sessions on a racetrack (a simulated road environment), where I could fall off safely. Knowing I would be safe, I could push my riding skills to their limits, and quickly grew as a motorcyclist.
Pilots practice in a flight simulator before and after they have passed their pilots exams.
In the Stock Market, a new trader practices ‘dummy trading’ before investing his real money in the market. When you ‘dummy trade’, you trade the stock market with monopoly money. This way, the trader is safe to explore what happens if he places ‘risky’ trades or plays it safe. By practicing first, the trader stands a far greater chance of success when he invests real money in the stock market.
Here are two examples of simulators I use:
- If you want to become wealthy, you can practice before investing your own money by using a game like Rich Dad’s Cashflow 101. I have the eGame on my PC and can play it anywhere – very cool indeed!
- If you want to manifest an important goal, use the Relaxation For Manifestation to mentally simulate your goal and program your mind for success. I use it daily and get truly miraculous results.
Great success requires great practice.
When you are doing what you love, the practice will be so enjoyable, you won’t want by stop.
So, find yourself a safe environment to practice in and get practicing.
Till next time, go gently on the corners,
This morning, as I sat down to write this week’s ‘Lesson From The Saddle Of My Bullet’, a concern popped into my head: I keep writing about motorcycle crashes or near misses as I rode my Royal Enfield Bullet through India. I thought that perhaps this time I should write about some of the happy experiences we had.
So, I tried to remember what I had learned from being at the top of the snow capped Baralachla Pass (the 2nd highest road in the world) or visiting the Tibetan monks in the highest village in the world.
Guess what? I couldn’t remember even one lesson I had learned from any of those times! A moment later, the lesson hit me on the head…
The times when I learned the most were not when I was admiring the view from the side of the road, but when I was riding my Bullet.
- It was when I was battling to keep the bike under control that I learned that ‘the faster you go, the smoother the ride’.
– It was when I almost got squished by concrete roadblock that I learned about relaxing.
– It was watching Adele get back on her bike after crashing in a river crossing that we learned about courage and determination.
BULLET LESSON #4: The journey is more important than getting to the destination.
There were two ex-military guys on the trip who had arrived together and who approached each day like a race. They were always the first to cross the finish line and when we arrived hours later, they were sitting in the bar drinking waiting for us. I don’t think that they saw much of India, because they essentially spent eight hours a day racing through India to drink beer on their own! Needless to say, they were also the ones who complained the most. They were so focused on the destination that they forgot to enjoy the ride.
Think back to a time when you accomplished a worthwhile goal.
You probably invested a whole lot of your time and energy into achieving your goal.
Now, remember the moment when you actually accomplished your goal.
You probably felt euphoric for a minute or two or perhaps a day or two if it was a really big accomplishment, but then you moved on and continued life as usual.
I think that it is important to understand that the moment of achievement is usually a very short ‘peak experience’ in comparison to the time it took you to achieve your goal. Yet, so often we are so focused on ‘getting there’ that we forget to appreciate the beauty of the landscape we are traveling through and the thrill of being in the saddle.
Have you ever wished that success would just hurry up and happen? I know that I have.
To think that, however, is to be ignorant to the way nature works. A tree doesn’t just appear. It grows over time. In the same way, it is only when we leave our comfort zones and the wheels feel like they are about to fall off the bike, that we can soar to new heights.
If you are feeling frustrated that a goal of yours hasn’t manifested yet, know that this is life’s way of telling you that you need to grow some more. Give thanks for the tough times for they contain the lessons to grow you to where you want to go and most importantly, remember to enjoy the ride…
Till next time, may your saddle be lined with sheep skin,
“The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn’t matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark.” – Barbara Hall.
Would you like each day to feel like a holiday? If so, read on…
Yesterday, I rode my motorcycle through four countries from London to Amsterdam to surprise my wife, Adele, who is in Amsterdam on business.
Over breakfast, one of her colleagues asked me what work I was going to do today…
“Well, first I’m going to write a newsletter to my Moving Mountains subscribers. Then I’m going to film a video lesson for my blog on one of the canals in Amsterdam and then I’m going to set up my portable recording studio and finish recording my next CD product, Mind Mastery 101.”
His face was visibly surprised. “That’s not work!” he exclaimed. As I left breakfast, I gave thanks that my work feels like play to me.
I believe that a fundamental part of being successful is being able to wake up each day and do the things you love to do. Work then feels like play. Once you figure out how to successfully make a fortune from your playing, life takes on a whole new dimension. This usually doesn’t happen overnight though. You have to prove yourself first by earning the right to success. Today’s lesson is all about what it takes to earn that right.
BULLET SCHOOL LESSON #3: The courage to get back in the saddle.
I watched, beaming with pride as Adele crossed her first river. Her submerged exhaust gurgled in a cloud of steam that trailed behind her as she navigated her bike through the rocky river. Two meters before she reached the other side, she hit a submerged rock and her Bullet fell on top of her in knee high water (watch the video below).
Still wet and in shock, Adele got back in the saddle and rode for another 10 minutes before pulling over complaining of an excruciating pain in her foot. It turned out that she had fractured her foot during the fall and could no longer use it to change gears.
She burst into tears, more from disappointment than from pain. She had come all this way, spent so much time and money preparing and only three days into our trip, it was already over for her. She spent the rest of the day in the ambulance.
The next morning, Adele showed me her foot. It was swollen and black with bruising. I nodded my head gravely as if to say, “Tough luck, honey…” One thing I know about my wife is that if you tell her not to do something, she becomes even more determined to do it.
She looked at me with disgust and said, “I didn’t come all the way to the Himalayas to ride in a bloody ambulance! Pass me my boots please…” She screamed in agony as we persuaded her fractured and swollen foot into her damp bike boot. I piggy backed her to her bike and between us, we figured out a way for her to change gears using her heel instead of her foot. As long as she did not put any weight on her fractured foot, she might just be able to ride.
That day, 30 bikers rode through some of the toughest terrain known to man (the Himalayan Mountains). Adele was one of them. She fell off many more times, but each time she chose to climb back on her Bullet. Nine days later, not only was she the only woman to cross the finish line, she was still the only woman on the trip.
Adele is no different from you and I. She is an ordinary person with an extra-ordinary commitment to being successful at whatever she does. Her story contains many powerful metaphors:
- BE CREATIVE: Through finding a way to change gears with her ankle, she learned that there is always a creative solution to any problem. You just need to be willing to look for it.
- BE COURAGEOUS: She learned that the only prerequisite to success is finding the courage to get back in the saddle and continue riding. Life works in the same way.
- KEEP FOCUSSED ON YOUR DREAM: She completed the trip because she never gave up on her dream of riding through the Himalayas, even when it was extremely painful to keep going. If you are willing to keep going, even when the going get’s tough, success will follow you wherever you go.
- USE A TEAM: 30 bikers rallied together to help her complete the 12 day trip. She never would have finished had she tried to do it on her own. Make sure you have a team supporting you. Otherwise, success can be hard and lonely.
Next time you face a disaster, will your dreams become yet another casualty of war, or will you get back in the saddle and ride off into the sunset? Choose.
If you choose the ambulance, in two years time, your life will probably look the same as it does now.
If you keep choosing the saddle, you will eventually reach a point where each day feels like a holiday, as you live the life of your dreams.
Till next time…
Stay in the saddle,
I pride myself on being a safe motorcyclist, but after 10 days of tearing up the Himalayas on some of the roughest roads known to man, I was getting cocky with my Bullet and riding faster than I should have been.
Suddenly, the tar road turned into dirt track. Normally, this would not have been a problem, except that this time I was hurtling forward at 80km/h heading straight towards a concrete roadblock just 50 meters away!
Slowing down on dirt road is a tender affair. One almost has to almost stroke the bike into submission. If one grabs the front brake lever even slightly too ambitiously, the front wheel will lock up and skid. Unfortunately, if I did not brake in time, I was going to end up much like the insects that were splattered on my visor.
Time slowed down as the roadblock came closer and closer. Contrary to my natural instinct, my arms relaxed their grip on the handlebars and my unconscious mind took over steering the bike. I felt as if I had been temporarily ejected out of my body and somebody else was steering for me while I watched…
There was no time to think or brake. The only option was to attempt to persuade my Bullet to somehow go around the roadblock. I had about 5 seconds left before I would become dinner for the local vultures.
I knew that if I jerked the handlebars even slightly, I would lose traction and skid, so I did the only thing any sane man would do in this situation – nothing! Well, almost nothing….
I focused my attention on the right edge of the concrete block in the road and miraculously my Bullet began drifting to the right hand side of the road. Inch by inch and what seemed like hours later, I scraped past the roadblock, missing it by millimeters. I still do not know how I made it out alive, but that evening as I sat around a campfire warming my hands, I reflected on some valuable lessons this experience taught me about biking and about living.
Bullet School Lesson #2: When the sheet hits the fan, relax…
When it looks like you are going to crash, relax your grip on the handlebars and focus on your escape route, not on the obstacle in front of you. Your bike goes where your focus goes.
My experience shows me that life works in the same way.
When the sheet hits the fan and I don’t know what to do, I step back and observe the situation, take a deep breath and relax. The minute I relax and let go of having to control the outcome of my challenging situation, a solution usually presents itself to me. I equate this to loosening my grip on the handlebars and allowing my unconscious mind to step in and guide the bike for me.
Next, I choose the outcome I want and I place my attention on making that happen using every ounce of focus that I have. Before long, if I have managed to stick with this process, my solution has blossomed and I am over the worst of the problem.
If you are facing some challenges right now, why not step back a little, take a deep breath in and assess your situation from a distance. Then, choose the outcome you desire and place your focus on making that happen. Be sure to focus on the solution and not on the problem. Visualizing your desired outcome will help you stay focused on it.
Above all, remember to relax. When trees are being blown about by a storm wind, they do not resist the wind. They flex and bend to accommodate the wind until it passes. If they did not, the wind would uproot them.
If you can relax and flex like the trees when the wind is blowing your life around, before long your storm will pass and you’ll wonder what you were worried about…
Till then, have a miraculous day.
P.S. Next time you encounter a biker, use the following lingo and appear cool:
“Grab a handful” refers to pulling the front brake lever hard.
“Throwing it down the road” means to lose control of your bike and go sliding down the road with it.
Combine them for added effect “Last week I saw some dude grab a handful and throw it down the road!”
If you regularly read my musings, you will remember that my wife and I spent a month riding through India in the saddle of a ‘Bullet’. A Royal Enfield Bullet is a 500 cc single cylinder, 1950’s designed motorcycle.
Our last trip through the spectacular Himalayan mountains contained many life lessons for us – from finding Adele lying in the middle of the road after an accident with her Bullet hanging precariously over the edge of a cliff to being humbled by the sheer beauty and enormity of the mountains.
In the following series of emails, I’m going to share some of the life lessons I learned from the saddle of my Bullet while discovering India and how it all relates to living an Effortless Life.
Bullet School Lesson #1
It was day 9 of our 15 day Himalayan crossing. What I hoped would be a quick 200 kilometer ride, turned into 9 hours of focused riding through some of the bumpiest roads known to man.
Having ridden the first 10km of the day on rock infested gravel road, I was already beginning to lose my sense of humour. My ass felt like it was going to fall off and my hands were numb from the vibrations coming through the handlebars of my Bullet.
In the middle of all this, I remembered my guide saying something about the faster you ride, the less you feel the road. As counter intuitive as this seemed to me, I increased my speed from 20km/h to 30km/h. My ass still hurt, so I kept opening the throttle. By the time I was doing 60km/h, I was hardly feeling the bumps at all and was clinging onto my handlebars for dear life.
60km/h on these roads felt like 200km/h on regular tar. However, before long I got used to this speed and with my inner speed demon unleashed, the rest of the journey was some of the most fun I have ever had on two wheels! I was grinning from ear to ear all the way.
The Faster You Go, The Smoother The Ride.
Life works in the same way…
The more action you take, the more momentum you gather and the easier success becomes. The faster you move towards your goals, the less significant you problems become. Life begins to feel like plain sailing. It’s only when we stop moving, procrastinate and slam on the brakes that the ride becomes bumpy.
So, the moral of this story is TAKE MASSIVE ACTION towards your goals. Keep moving. Even if you don’t know what the correct course of action is, ACT ANYWAY. You will only know of you are off course once you have moved forward.
Have a miraculous day and don’t bother about the bumps in the road.
Why is it that the best miracles are always the longest to type out? This week’s miracle starts in Africa and ends in Bali.
Four years ago, I met his Royal Highness, Prince Cedza Dlamini, Prince of Swaziland and grandson of Nelson Mandela. He had flown from Boston, USA to Cape Town to meet me as he had heard that I was living as the only white man in a black African township (shanty town). Prince Cedza and I quickly became good friends…
Fast forward four years. A few days ago, I was checking out of the beautiful Vision Villas (Roger Hamilton’s resort in Bali). My Dad, who has been sailing around the world for 4 years on his yacht had not had his feet on dry land for a while, so I treated him to a week in this magnificent resort. We were the only people there for the entire week we stayed there. The night before we left, my Dad asked me if I was still in contact with Prince Cedza. “Yes”, I replied, “but not often enough”.
On the last day in the resort, as I was checking out, a beautiful American woman appeared at the hotel. She introduced herself as Flo (an apt name, I noted, especially considering Roger Hamilton’s work is all about Flow and we were in his resort) and I joked with her that she could have at least had the courtesy to arrive a few days earlier, not when we were checking out! We laughed and she noticed my South African accent.
“A friend of mine is South African” she said to me. In fact, he is a Prince. “Really”, I replied. “Is his name Prince Cedza?” I asked playfully, not expecting her to know what I meant. “Yes!” she exclaimed, “Nelson Mandela’s grandson!”
At this point, my jaw dropped at the coincidence. I asked her how she knew Prince Cedza and she said that she had met him at a conference in Bali the previous year and that she was here to attend the conference again this year. As she said those words, it dawned on her that she had forgotten to tell me something important…
“In fact, Prince Cedza is the main speaker at this year’s conference and he lands in Bali tonight!” Read the rest of this entry