In this episode, I provide an introduction to me and my trip, a trip through the Americas, covering 60K miles through 20 countries over 18 months. I want to explore new places, learning about life firsthand in these faraway places. I go with an open mind and heart.
Like all of my posts, I plan for all of these posts to be “dual-track.” I’ll post up a “cliff notes” video as well as a more detailed writeup.
Here’s the cliff notes 5-minute video if you prefer not to read or are pinched for time:
And here’s the writeup:
My name is Brent Carroll and I am from Chesapeake, Virginia.
I am taking on North, Central, and South America on my motorcycle, solo. I left Virginia at the end of April, 2016 and intend to share this trip with you in words, pictures, and videos.
About me… I have always had a passion for adventuring and seeing the world. While I have been lucky to travel all over the world and see it from above and below in the Navy and on vacations, I have not experienced it from a motorcycle. I feel I have missed the people, the culture, and myself in previous journeys. More importantly, perhaps, is I have never had the feeling of control, being in charge of my own time. That is what I am seeking.
First, after a fine career in the Navy for 20 years, and then working as a civilian for the US Coast Guard for almost nine years years as an engineer, and finishing my PhD, I feel I have worked hard, and cared deeply about the people that I worked with and the work I did. I am just 47, but…
I want to see and experience the world in a new way while I can – which means NOW! My Dad passed away when he was 51! That alone is enough motivation for me to realize life is too short.
When everything is said and done, I also want to point back to some chunk of my life that was completely under my own terms, doing what I want, going where I want to, truly getting to know the world in which I live, and not worrying about… anything, really, and not waiting until retirement or when I am not physically able to do this. I strongly feel the urge, and need, to do this now, to see the world for what it really is.
So… having said that, and perhaps the more “pure” reason I want to do this is that I believe that the world is full of good, purposeful, and striving people, and that everything we hear distorts our world perspective in really negative ways. I want to challenge that really negative dogma and share my experiences with the world on this blog and in social media.
Erstwhile, I have come to know that riding a motorcycle is the purist form of therapy possible, and that you get to see the world while riding all the better. You get feelings, sensations, smells, and experiences riding a motorcycle you simply cannot get on a vacation or in a car. You are not watching the scenery go by, you are in the scenery.
I am an engineer and I like to attend to every detail if I can, so here and throughout, I might seem anal, but that is just me – I like attending to details. What this really relates to for you and my story is planning. As much as I’d like to just point the motorbike in some direction and then crash after a long day’s ride (find a place to sleep, that is) wherever I can, I like to plan ahead a bit. I’m sure at some point, I’ll find some happy medium between meandering and planning.
Any-hoo – I left Virginia in the spring of 2016, and plan to first travel north to Newfoundland, cross Canada, head up to Alaska, and then follow generally the Pan-American Highway in its entirety all the way south through Patagonia to the southern tip of South America. And then… turn around and head back to Seattle. I think I will cover about 40,000 miles with my meandering.
So, how can I do this? Yes, that’s also a common question. No, I am not independently wealthy. How can anyone walk away from a good-paying job and all their possessions and venture out into the world on their motorcycle? For me, well… I retired from the U. S. Navy so have a lifetime annuity that essentially covers my trip. I also have savings, no debts, and a wonderful better-half who understands and supports my dreams. I am probably unique in this way.
But, I do plan to land in Seattle once this is all done and resume a productive, working life. But for now, I just don’t want to worry about that.
So, off I go. I do have a few generic, overarching goals for my trip, though:
Live life – see, smell, and suck in all that the world has to offer – take my time
Meet and chat with as many people as possible; capture and share my thoughts about those experiences
Average no more than 125 miles a day (to rest, to see sights, to smell the roses, to reflect, and to document)
AVOID Interstate highways when I can (I think you should, too—that’s not the world)
Average less than $50 per day in costs, covering fuel, lodging, food, and bike maintenance
Tent camping mostly, then hostels, couch surfing, AirBnB, and last, hotels
I really do hope that you keep in touch and say hello. I’d love to catch up with you along the road or trail.