The pull of wanderlust is not to be underestimated. I can imagine that for many of us, the headline of this story alone is enough to inspire equal parts terror and envy. Yet for Mike, the man featured in this video from eGarage, riding 30,000 miles on his Honda Ruckus scooter for months at a time became more than just a vacation. It became a life-affirming journey of discovery, perspective and exploration.
The impulse to see the world for one’s self is strong — something I’d wager is found quite literally in our human DNA. Sadly, the modernity of western society has taught most of us to fear that instinct. We trade the perceived safety of nine-to-five and a steady paycheck for the chance to scratch that primordial itch to cover ground, see new things and take the risks of discovery. I admit, I myself have longed to do this very thing, yet am, so far, too chicken shit to pull the proverbial trigger and just get out there and go. Mike perfectly describes the real peril in this mindset:
Most people wait until they’re 60 years-old to do these sorts of trips or take these sort of adventures and if you have your youth, and you have your health, why would you wait that long — ‘till you don’t have that anymore?
What Mike is up to in this epic scooter adventure is an activity known as vagabonding. It’s long-term travel on the cheap that doesn’t necessarily mean that Mike will never go back to nine-to-five, but it does mean that he’s freed himself from it, on purpose, for a certain amount of time. At some point, he’ll likely land and get back to a more conventional lifestyle, but he’s pushed far beyond the standard two weeks of PTO. More than anything, what his story shows us all is that this abstract dream of travel we all have is a lot more accessible than we might assume.
It’s cheaper than we think.
We don’t need a big, powerful bike.
We don’t need to plan our trip to the last detail.
Now I’m not going to try to summarize the ins and outs of exactly how to take an extended adventure like this because author Rolf Potts has already written that book for us. It’s called, unsurprisingly, Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel, and for any would-be adventurer, it’s the how-to manual for not just the travel pieces, but all the things that come before and after taking on a big adventure like this. Vagabonding covers how to structure our working life in order to create space for this kind of long-term travel to happen. It breaks down how to plan, when to improvise, how to live lean and how to use small jobs and temporary work to extend our travel. Best of all, Vagabonding challenges our assumptions and removes all our excuses for not taking that extended journey we’ve always dreamed of.
What are you waiting for? What am I waiting for?
Postscript: For extra credit, if you aspire to make your Vagabonding more permanent, read Rolf’s book and then follow up with The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. Ferriss goes into great detail about not falling for the “deferred life plan” in terms of putting off the things you really want to do in life. To paraphrase Ferriss, “Waiting for ‘someday’ will take your dreams to the grave with you.”