Long term motorcycle travel. Not the quick tour or RTW trip. But long term travel. The kind that never lets your mind reset. Seeing the world, the good and the bad, the haves and the have nots, for years on end and then taking off the rose colored glasses.
Does long term travel leave you enlightened? Or just with Post Travel Stress Disorder?
We have been doing this for 13 years now. We go out on our motorcycle for a journey, for three to six months, and then return to our “normal” lives. We go to see, hear and feel. Sometimes the people talk and sometimes the air whistling through our helmets does the talking. After, it leaves just helmet time. Time to talk to one another and time to just think. When we return our “normal” seems just out of reach. It’s as if all around us has changed. Just slightly. But we know normal hasn’t changed, it’s us that has changed. And everytime that normal is just a little further away.
Years ago the change was so small. We could talk to non-travelers about it. Their views of the world were from media propaganda. It differed from reality. We could talk but most didn’t want to hear, or believe. After years of travel you learn to talk about the elephant that walked through camp, but then leave out the reality of corruption and 60% unemployment. If some are interested, they will ask. The wedge between the haves and the have nots.
Then there is the constant inflow of reality. You see it from your saddle as you ride the dusty paths of the world. You wonder about their lives, now and before. Ignorance is bliss. An old saying. Were people happier before they knew they shouldn’t be happy? The internet, a blessing and a curse. Tribal villages without much, but technology has found its way in. You see barefoot children playing in the dirt, squeals of happy laughter. Then, the adults without anything to do, no jobs. Then we look into our lives and the lives of the more fortunate. Where shall we dine tonight? What new car to drive? What private school for our babies? Helmet time is a mean thing.
The more fortunate don’t understand, and really don’t want to understand. We return to our normal lives and that normal seems just another reach away. And we, the travelers, have been changed again, another part of you, left in a far away country.
Over years of travel and seeing, the pile continues to grow. We return time and again, changed. But, without a long period of our “normal”, can you ever fully reset? I don’t think so, which brings around the question, again.
Have I just been enlightened, again? Or, is the PTSD just grown a little more.