The other day we decided to watch “Long Way Round” with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman again. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, this is a TV documentary of Ewan’s and Charley’s journey from London to New York on motorbikes. As the title suggests, they took the long way by setting off through Europe and then heading east through Russia and Asia all the way to Bering Strait where they would fly the motorbikes to Alaska. Mounting their bikes again in Anchorage they would then ride them across the American continent to New York.
First of all let me say that I do enjoy watching the DVD’s although this is probably something I would never undertake myself. But that goes for a lot of things I guess . Even if it is about an extended journey both in time and distance the focus is definitely on the adventure part. It’s for big strong guys and maybe not something where you would bring your kids along.
Still, it‘s very entertaining to take part of all the ups and downs. They try to cover everything from the planning and preparation to finally arriving in New York. You definitely get the feeling that a journey like that is not just fun all the time. There are also struggles and obstacles to overcome before as well as during the trip. But despite that and all the hardship, I suppose it’s an experience they wouldn’t want to have been without.
Right now as we are watching it they are stuck in the mud in Mongolia questioning why they are there and why they are doing this at all. They probably found an answer for it or they must have forgotten about it quickly since they later took on a second challenge of riding their bikes from England to South Africa. Putting themselves through all that hardship once more must mean it was worth it somehow for them.
So let’s see if there is anything interesting that we can take away from this:
• For anyone concerned about the very common money to travel issue. Here is for sure a way of doing it that doesn’t take money out of your pocket but rather put money into it. Well, that’s just my guess but I would be very surprised if it wasn’t the case since the TV documentaries seems to be big successes as well as the books. Sure it helps that Ewan is a famous actor (Star Wars, Moulin Rouge and other films) but still it wasn’t just a walk in the park for them either. All it takes I believe is a good idea!
• I said before that this is probably something I would never do myself, the obvious reason being that I am not really a motorbike person. But more importantly than that, I wouldn’t want to exclude my family to that extent. My personal choice would rather be to come up with an adventure that could include my wife and kids as well. Why not get on a motorbike and put the kids in a sidecar and tour Europe or the US for six month instead? It wouldn’t of course be the same but it would for sure be great for the family bonding.
• My third point is time. Give yourself plenty of time! Watching Ewan and Charley in Long Way Round often being stressed because of a tight schedule and not having time to stop and enjoy the present moment, kind of takes away the point of traveling in the first place. Traveling is not a race to me. It’s not about getting somewhere quickly or visiting the greatest amount of countries or cities so you have a nice and big photo album to look back at when you get home. No, it’s about enjoying the journey when I am out there traveling.
Still I enjoy watching the DVD’s tremendously. I am very grateful to Ewan and Charley for making this journey and documenting it all so I can enjoy the adventure from the comfort of my sofa.
What I would love to see in the future though is a documentary of an extended travel adventure with a family. To see how they experience it and what their challenges and rewards would be. I am sure it would be something that would inspire other families to set off on their own adventure as well.
Maybe a film like that has already been made and I just don’t know about it? If that is so we would be very pleased if someone would tell us about it. And even if it has been done I still think there is a market for a new one if someone is looking for a sponsored long term travel adventure with their family…
Maybe something you would like to do?