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    • Evergreen

      What are some of the most common myths or concerns that people have about world travel, especially on a motorcycle?

      So far, the most common ones I've heard are:

      - it's very expensive

      - it's very tough

      - it's a very difficult effort

      - it's impossible if you're not independently wealthy

      - it's dangerous.

    • gorudy

      I haven't had the opportunity to travel via motorcycle yet but as far as travel goes I've heard things along the lines of ...

      "people will take advantage of you"

      "people don't like americans"

    • asciimeow

      Regarding not speaking the language... I was helped with some moto trouble in Thailand (in '96 I think) and the language gap wasn't a factor. My chain had jumped off and was stuck in the countershaft sprocket while hooning around backroads somewhere north of Chiang Mai . A guy and his family happened by in a pickup not long after. He jumped out and enthusiastically dove into repairing my bike with a hammer, while his family and I watched and sipped the water they had insisted on giving me. I spoke no Thai, they spoke no English. The bike got fixed and we all had a fine time hanging out together. In fact, the lack of common language might have made the whole thing more fun or funnier, because we did a lot of pointing and shrugging and making weird hand gestures. Not an accident in the strict sense, but an example of how we can rise to the occasion without using words to communicate.

    • sashapave

      On a recent tour in Baja MX, I had many Americans tell me I'm crazy for riding a bike down there with the drug wars, cartels and rampant violent crime.

      When I got out of the border zone, I felt safer there than where I live in Oakland CA. I was only confronted with kindness, curiosity and friendly folks.

    • Dracula

      I can attest for both good and unpleasant (but never really threatening) scenarios during my travels, perhaps illustrating very well which places one should expect trouble the most. For examples, one time while waiting for my ride near Milano Centrale I was accosted by some nasty looking individual who asked for a cigarette, made it look like he accidentally dropped it, then asked for another.. asking for trouble basically. While at other time, in central Mexico getting lost while riding, I simply talked in my spanglish with a cab driver who agreed for me to follow him until my destination address, but then to my surprise did not accept any money in return. Vaya con Dios!

      I think it really depends if one is open minded and likes to enjoy the travel experience, while for others the simple idea of leaving their home town and familiar places seems lunacy.

      Finances, accouterments and comfort & accommodations is where it really becomes very different for everyone. I have met people who would absolutely not sleep in a tent or go in a place without regular bedroom and bath. And I have not yet met anyone who enjoys gas station food ;-)

    • Chris

      Hey sashapave, great to see you here! I'm with you on Baja, I've only experienced kindness from the locals, although the police did shake us down a couple of times.

    • Evergreen

      I have actually met American backpackers in Europe wearing patches with the Canadian flag and I never quite understood that:) I don't remember people expressing anti-American sentiments anywhere in Europe or Central/South America.

      One big myth is that world travel is very unsafe; that's probably thanks to all the horror stories in the media... Or is it something more primeval and tribal, not to trust the "other"?

    • Chris

      I don't remember people expressing anti-American sentiments anywhere in Europe

      Oh wow. You must really not look or sound like an American.

    • Evergreen

      Funny you should say that! I do get mistaken for an American a lot, especially as I have Arizona license plates on my bike:)

    • Chris

      So very many times and often I could understand their point of view—in Israel, Saudi Arabia, France, Colombia, England...

      For example, when the U.S. made the decision to invade Iraq because of weapons of mass destruction, France erupted in huge protests. Their decision not to support the war inflamed tensions between our countries and we in the U.S. reacted by boycotting many French restaurants and trying to rename french fries to freedom fries. Some french restaurants in the U.S. went out of business during the time.

      The French have always been kind to me when I traveled there but at that time the conversations they struck up with me were hard. In retrospect, I think many Americans can understand.

    • Dracula

      I guess it depends how prejudice is manifesting and how much one takes it to heart. But for example having to sit for several hours next to a French elderly family where he was extremely jovial and talkative in decent English, I had to nonchalantly brush off quite few remarks he was making apropo of American state of things internationally. I learned long ago that usually engaging in such controversy does no good, unless you can read the person well, and so I don't feel obliged to approve someone else's points of view, nor to share mine for that matter.

    • Evergreen

      Hitch hiking back from from a festival in Spain, my friend and I got a lift from a slightly drunk French man who drove like crazy and told us how horrible English literature was. As he sped through France, he picked on every single English writer and poet he cold think of, and methodically tore them to pieces while smoking and sipping wine from a wineskin he kept under his seat.

      It was actually very entertaining :D

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