Motorcycle owners fit into several different categories according to how they use their bikes. Some live for the thrill of high speed races, stunts and off-road riding. Others like more leisurely, often long-distances journeys, taking in the great outdoors and the open road. Some people are sternly utilitarian – they use their motorbike to get them to work or school and back, and that’s it. Others fall in love with an image or a lifestyle. Then there are those who join biker gangs or become motorcycle hooligans.
Many bikers quickly become so attached to their bikes that they find it difficult to imagine themselves existing without them. They enjoy their time with the bike more than any other. Sometimes these people decide to quit their jobs, sell their homes and hit the road with their bikes for a life of adventure – a never ending journey in the saddle.
One such fearless adventurer is the Argentine Emilio Scotto. Back in 1985, he was living his life as an unremarkable salesman. He’d barely ever left his hometown and didn’t own a passport. One day he got home from work, thoroughly fed up and started to wonder whether he was wasting his life. He didn’t make much money, he was single, he hadn’t experienced anything remarkable in his life and he was just going through the daily grind, over and over, knocking the years off his life.
The following day, Scotto submitted his passport application documents, packed a small bag and set off on his five-year-old Honda Goldwing. After riding around Argentina for a few weeks, he picked up his passport and crossed an international border for the first time in his life. He had $300 in his pocket, no map, no plan, no contacts – just his trusty bike and the open road.
It wasn’t until ten years later that Scotto set foot in Argentina again. During his absence he had traveled over 500,000 miles, through 280 countries, including war-torn Nicaragua, Liberia and Iraq. He personally met Pope John Paul II and Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. He got married in India. His adventure began to attract global media attention and Scotto featured in publications such as the New York Times. This attention helped him to secure sponsorship from corporate giants such as Pepsi. These funds were added to when Scotto returned to Argentina and received millions on the publication of his book about his travels. He showed the world that one man and his trusty bike really can conquer the world – he quit his job, saw the world, found love and made himself a millionaire in the process.
Emilio Scotto is by no means the only person to embark on this type of adventure. Several years later, 21-year-old Zenith Irfan stepped out of her front door in Lahore, Pakistan – a place so conservative that women are actively discouraged from even leaving their homes by themselves – mounted her Honda C70 and embarked on a 2000-mile journey around the stunning mountains and less-traveled roads of rural Pakistan. Her journey took her to Kashmir, the Swat Valley and the Chinese border. Her motorcycle gave her the freedom that so many other women like her craved, but couldn’t grasp.
The accomplishments of Emilio Scotto and Zenith Irfan show the rest of us that you don’t already need to be a millionaire, or have a network of contacts in order to be able to let your motorbike change your life. If you’ve found yourself wondering why you keep waking up every day, making your way to work and slaving away all day, only to be counting the pennies at the end of each month, you might eventually decide that it’s time to start living and take a leaf out of each of Emilio and Zenith’s books.
A little bit of cash, a helmet, the right boots, jacket (see http://www.bikersbasics.com/motorcycle-jacket-reviews/ for some great ideas) and protective clothing, your bike, along with an open mind are all you need to change your life forever. If you’re reluctant to go the whole hog right away, start off with long weekend rides to new places. Try to get away for a couple of weeks – cross an international frontier, and then let your heart decide whether you really want to go back or not.