Chat Zone for The Big Big Trip Journal!

Interesting post today about your inspirations, in this day and age we have access to so much information. It made me reflect on my own inspirations and how I started touring in a more analogue age with much more limited access to other peoples adventures for inspiration. For me it all started in the mid eighties when my Mum bought me a second hand 10 speed Raleigh Winner, I absolutely loved that thing and rode it all over North Devon where I grew up.

Then came a time when I had exhausted all of the day rides around and yet I still had a huge yearning and thirst to know what was over the furthest hills and see for my self where the lines on the map led too. I decided along with a close friend to do what naturally comes next and buy a rack and some cheap panniers. So at the ripe old age of thirteen, we asked our respective parents for permission to undertake a five day bike tour, to our surprise they agreed! I really don't know what inspired me, other than a thirst for adventure and a desire to see over the horizon. We set off and covered about 250 miles I think, around Northern Cornwall. I do remember being told by our respective parents to sleep in an official campsite every night, however, the campsites often forbid any one under 18 to camp without parents, so we ended up stealth camping in small copses more often than not.

That trip led to a life as an Outdoor Instructor where expeditions where a common feature of my life, Canoes, Sea Kayaks, Feet and Bikes where all means of transport. Inspiration came from all around, friends, colleagues, books, magazines and just a good old desire to explore the different spaces on a map.

Nowadays, I'm no longer working in the UK Outdoor Education sector, however the urge to explore has never been greater. Moving to Germany and particularly this Northern corner, I had to recalibrate my ideas about what wild spaces looked like. The forests and gravel riding became my new means of connecting with the wild spaces around. Then I discovered through cycle chat a reference to a bike packing website and subsequently discovered the world of bike packing, which nicely dovetailed with gravel riding and exploration that lay at the core of my ethos for traveling.

With the global pandemic and the climate crisis I have started to look much closer to home for inspiration and realised that I have never really explored the country I now call home. I now have four local routes, two of which start on my doorstep, to explore in the coming year or years. The internet has certainly opened up lots of possibilities for new inspiration and following others in their adventures. However, for me, my primary inspiration has always been the intrinsic desire to explore and connect with nature in wild and remote spots.

Anyway, sorry for the long and rambling post in response to your thought provoking write up on your own inspirations. It's always fascinating to hear what inspires us to under take the journeys we do.
Oh, please, Chris, don't be apologising! This is the chat thread! All chat genuinely welcomed!

Thanks for sharing your inspiration!

It's funny, because I had a similar experience to you as a 13/14 year old. Myself and a friend took a train to the opposite end of the country and set off on a bike tour of 4-5 days. In my case, at least, it wasn't an urge to enjoy the outdoors or nature - it was first and foremost a way to get away from a very restrictive upbringing and to have an adventure.
For some reason, I don't count that as my "first tour".
What's also interesting, is that I got permission! Originally there were three of us, but the one with the most "liberal" parenting regime was forbidden!

For you, it led to a career (if I'm understanding correctly), for me it led to........nothing😊

It is amazing what can be on our own doorstep - if we open our eyes. After about 15 years living in NL, I started going out on a bike and started to see the country in a totally different light.

I was sure camping as an adult would be a horrifying experience and now I'm pretty sure it's my favourite part of the whole package! (The danger of preconceptions!)

From my own experience, inspiration is really the key.
I remember as a kid being made to play the trumpet. All classical music. I hated it and dropped it at the first opportunity. Looking back, I wish that I had access to (or someone had shown me) all the different styles of music I could play if I had the basics.

You had the basics, then found bikepacking and everything clicked.
And now you get to inspire the next generation!
I think that's brilliant!

Rugby's over (sigh:sad:), sun is shining so I'm off out on the bike. It may not be "touring" but riding a bike here? Now that's an adventure!^_^

Thanks again.
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