Incessant Touring Troubles: It’s Not All Rosy!

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Let me paint you a picture.

You know you want to tour. Life has been hard recently. You’ve worked through the tough times and you know you deserve some time away.

You’ve earned a bit of time on two wheels – away from the mêlée of life and the struggles that go with it.

When the workweek is done, you crack open a beer and dream of visiting distant mountains on your motorcycle.

You imagine the scenery, the cleansing feeling of tranquillity, and the rejuvenating mountain air.

Preparation starts with the enthusiastic scrolling of motorcycle touring travel blogs. And then come the videos on YouTube.

The excitement starts to build.

You research new kit, new places, new adventures. And it feels good as dopamine floods your brain.

Just as you think you have it all planned, there’s nothing left to do but start making bookings.

And this is where, for many people, the adventure comes to an end.

In this post, we’ll look at three incessant touring troubles that will undoubtedly rear their ugly heads – both when planning a trip and when out on the open road.

honda africa twin on tow truck - touring troubles

1. Incessant Touring Troubles: Self-Doubt

Trust me, you’re not the only person who’s felt (or is feeling) this. So let me put this plainly.

It is NEVER the right time to go touring. And we all feel it.

When the notion of a motorcycle trip makes the transition from fantasy to reality, self-doubt creeps in for us all. It’s the first of the incessant touring troubles we have to face.

We begin to wonder if we’ve bitten off more than we can chew. I mean, who do we think we are with these imaginings?!

We begin to doubt our abilities.

“It’s just not the right time. Maybe I should wait until next year.”

And it’s at times like these when you need to cut off emotional doubts and get on with it.

honda africa twin in french in vosges mountains

Take Time To Self-Evaluate

Identify what’s holding you back and face those issues head-on.

Yes, there will be struggles out on the road. But the overcoming of these struggles is where the growth lies. The stories of achievement lie in the very foundation of conquering these setbacks.

So embrace them.

Ignore the critic on your shoulder that tells you you don’t have the ability.

Because there is never a “right time” to tour. And if you continue to listen to that critic whispering in your ear, your dream of touring and travel will never become a reality.

And as we all know, the regrets that come from NOT doing something far outweigh the struggles of actually doing it.

So do it.

motorcycles in vosges mountains - touring troubles

2. Incessant Touring Troubles: Packing Issues

The war on packing is something we all have to endure.

To this day, packing is a daily fight for me.

I either have too much stuff or not enough.

I loathe the feeling of leaving something at home only to need it a few weeks later when I’m stuck at the side of the road.

Equally, I loathe packing everything I own because I then have to lug a heavy bike around for weeks on end.

Every night, you need to unpack all the shit you probably won’t need. And every morning, you have to put it all back on again – just in case.

And it’s the worst feeling in the world when you finally get on the bike and heave it off the stand. The reality of the sheer weight of shit you’re carrying sets a disappointing tone for the day.

I guarantee that despite the planning and preparation, whatever it is you need at any given moment will be at the bottom of your bag – underneath everything else.

And the boring and laborious task of unpacking and re-packing begins all over again.

motorcylces grand ballon

No Matter Your Choice, It Will Be Wrong

The fact is, whether you choose to pack light or pack everything to cover all eventualities, you will likely feel you made the wrong choice when out on the open road.

If I had to choose, I’d recommend packing light. Be ruthless and pack only the essentials.

In my experience, things go right more often than things go wrong. So you may as well add to a positive experience by carrying around as little as you dare.

But either way, decide whether you will pack light and risk not having stuff, or pack everything and deal with lugging it around.

There’s no right or wrong way. So make a decision, make peace with it, and stick with it.

touring troubles in the vosges

3. Incessant Touring Troubles: Mind Games

In the planning phase, we dream of long and winding roads and perfect surfaces. We imagine ambient weather conditions and picture ourselves on a mountain top.

As the imaginary birds chirp in our minds, we don’t envisage rain, wind, or adverse weather.

But the reality is, touring isn’t always rosy.

Weather & Road Surfaces

You could spend days getting to a road that you’re particularly looking forward to riding. In your mind’s eye, it would be one of the highlights of your trip.

But when you get there, it’s been dug up, is full of potholes, has roadworks all over the place, and is continuous gravel.

And to make it worse, it rains all day.

In your mind, you imagined riding this road with a smile on your face. The sun would beat down on your back and it would be a life-affirming moment.

Instead, the ride you’ve been looking forward to becomes a chore. And the disappointment of it not being how you imagined can start to chip away at your mindset.

For an entire day, you ride over the gravel and potholes in the pouring rain. And you resent every single moment of it.

You resent the road and you resent the people who dug it up.

You resent the weather and resent God for personally ruining your experience.

Bitterness sets in along with the cold.

And as the rain seeps through your waterproofs, you resent the world even more.

motorcycle in jungle
There will come a point where you just can’t take anymore! Image via Aranha on Pixabay

The Good Times Aren’t Free!

The fact is, even the most beautiful experiences are tarnished with little unfortunate events. It seems to be the world’s way of making sure you don’t forget them.

But when you get home, you realise it was the bad times that made the good times. You fricking earned it.

At the time, though, these bad experiences can break us.

I remember once being lost and alone in the pouring rain as it got dark. I dropped my bike at the side of the road, crouched down, put my head in my hands and cried into my gloves.

But afterwards, I heaved my bike up, got back on the saddle, and rode my way out of trouble and to the warmth of a hotel bed.

And you need to remember that touring does that to you.

Remember, bad experiences tell just as good stories as awesome experiences.

When the shit hits the fan, you break everything down and concentrate on one kilometre at a time.

Rather than fixating on the colossal nightmare in front of you, turn every kilometre into a mini victory.

Because sooner or later, those kilometres will tick down and you WILL make it to the other side with an experience to remember and a story to tell.

motorcycles on col d'isrean - the start of touring troubles

Incessant Touring Troubles: Conclusion

It’s easier said than done, but it’s so important to put perspective on things when they go wrong.

Yes, the experience is shit right now. But be grateful that you’re having the experience at all and take comfort in the sense of achievement that will come from it.

Be grateful to be sharing it with the person or people you’re with.

And if you’re touring alone, be grateful for the chance to grow.

Break everything down into single problems and tackle the ONE thing that would make the biggest difference right now.

When you’ve done it, move on to the next ONE thing that would make the biggest difference.

Step by step, kilometre by kilometre, you’ll work your way out of this mess.

And remember, just because nothing goes to plan, that doesn’t mean you have any less of a story to tell.

That experience will help build you into the better person that’s to come.

So be grateful for having the opportunity at all.

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