Episode 13: The Unexpected - Lessons from Ted Simon

Do you ever think about how great it would be to go back in time, to relive some of your childhood memories? I mentioned in an earlier episode how cool it would be to relive the many hours and miles that I spent on my little  motorcycle riding through the creek and out to the park from our house. 

Yeah in some ways that would be a dream come true to go back in time. But if we really think about it, do we want to relive those hard times too? I guess we really can't have it both ways can we. Not this side of Heaven anyway.   I certainly don't want to relive the losses of friends and family along the way.  I mean if we really think about it, isn't it better not knowing what's ahead?  

Maybe that's where the joy comes from. We don't know what's around the corner. It may be great! We just don't know and that's okay.  In this  week's episode we'll discuss Ted Simon and his two Journeys by motorcycle around the world. The original Journey as a 42 year old, and then some 30 years later the follow-up Journey in maybe an attempt to relive the past.  Maybe there's some lessons we can all learn from that.  Thank you for joining me today.

This is not at all what I expected. I should be out on the road right now. I should be on my bike exploring the backroads alone or meeting my motorcycle buddies for coffee somewhere. But due to my hand injury that I described in earlier episodes and now 2 surgeries that are extending the recovery time.  At another post-surgery visit this week they say it may be some months now before I can ride again. For someone who loves and needs to ride that was a bit of crushing news this week. I had certainly plan to ride in the distinguished gentleman's ride this year in the latter part of May but I'm not going to be able to ride instead I'm excited though that I will be one of the ride hosts even with one hand for the Fort Collins Colorado distinguished gentleman's ride so at least I'll get to give the speech,Hopefully being an encouragement to other people spreading the really good news about the fundraising that the DGR does in support of Men's Health specifically suicide prevention and prostate cancer research and help out with some things there so that's exciting.  So I'm lucky to have you to share with to talk about our joy of riding motorcycles and a confidence that I'll be back on the road again sometime soon. 

In an earlier episode I spoke about the adventures of Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. I described how they rode their motorcycles on three epic Journeys around the world. often referred to  as the “long way”These were epic Journeys. I didn't share with you what their inspiration was. Their inspiration was Ted Simon.

Ted Simon is a British journalist and writer who is best known for his motorcycle journey around the world, which he documented in his book "Jupiter's Travels", And then many years later he repeated that Journey perhaps in a quest to relive those earlier memories. to go back in time.

In 1973, at the age of 42, Ted Simon embarked on a four-year journey around the world on a 500cc Triumph Tiger motorcycle. He covered more than 64,000 miles across 45 countries, traveling through Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South America, and North America. During his journey, he faced many challenges, including accidents, illness, and political unrest.

He describes the challenges of having to accommodate the customs and traditions of societies he really didn't understand. The long long delays getting a passport approved when he knew very well it should only take seconds.  He used the expression  “proper waiting”  when he talked about having to just sit and do nothing In a waiting room and wait for no apparent reason. 

After returning to England, Simon wrote about his experiences in his book "Jupiter's Travels", which was published in 1979. The book became a bestseller and is now considered a classic in the genre of travel writing. Simon's journey inspired many other travelers, Including Charlie Borman and Ewan McGregor it inspired them  to explore the world on motorcycles, and his book continues to be read and admired by people around the world. 

What's particularly amazing is that 30 years later he did it again.   Ted Simon sets out on another journey around the world, this time at the age of 70. He revisits some of the places he traveled to in his earlier journey, but also explores new territories, including China, Tibet, and Bhutan. "Dreaming of Jupiter: In Search of the World--Thirty Years On". It is a sequel to his first book.

The book reflects on his earlier travels, and how the world has changed in the three decades since he first set out on his motorcycle.

In "Dreaming of Jupiter", published in 2007, "Dreaming of Jupiter" is a memoir that reflects on the meaning of travel and the human desire for adventure and exploration. It has been praised for its insightful observations, vivid descriptions of people and places, and Simon's engaging writing style.

When I reflect back on my favorite Motorcycle rides and experiences I had along the way, in most cases it was the unexpected that made the ride memorable. It was meeting a stranger or even sharing breakfast together. It was a conversation in the middle of nowhere in the fork of an unmarked dirt road deep in the mountains.

You know I think many of us find that some of the most joyful and memorable moments in their lives were unexpected surprises.  Maybe the unknown breaks us out of our usual routines and patterns, and this can be refreshing and exhilarating. It also gives us the opportunity to experience something new and different, which can be exciting and stimulating.

Another reason is that unexpected events often come with a sense of spontaneity and surprise, which can be very enjoyable. For example, if you unexpectedly run into an old friend that you haven't seen in years, it can be a wonderful surprise that brings a lot of joy and happiness.

A very good friend who once gave a speech. he was talking about the unexpected and what we have control over and what we do not have control over. he described how he would get a cup of coffee and sit on his back porch and watch the birds and the rabbits and the squirrels. he knew absolutely that he had no control over what any of them were doing now or what they would do in the future. but he found real joy and comfort in knowing that he did not have control over them.   That perhaps there's a higher power in control.

Can I honestly tell you that I'm going to be riding again sometime this summer? Can I say that for certainty? Nope, none of us know what life holds for us tomorrow. but I can tell you this, I am  so very grateful for the memories that I have for my friends and family who have loved me through this trial and for an expectation that the odds are really good that I'll be back on the road before you know it. I'm excited about that.

So yes, finding joy in the unexpected is definitely possible, and can lead to some of the most memorable and meaningful moments in our lives.  Thank you for joining me today I wish you peace I wish you love.