What inspires us to wander and wonder, to pursuit our passion or to push our minds and bodies beyond the limits? The more I travel, the more I learn how important travel is to growing personally and learning.
Unlike those who are happy traveling afar only to cocoon themselves in an all-inclusive resort buffered from culture beyond the resort walls, I believe those of us who prefer to travel differently are motivated by an insatiable curiosity to explore and discover.
Several years ago I woke up to the fact that I was jobless and my marriage had ended. I had come to another fork in my life. At first, I started another business. It didn’t take long for me to realize that my work was unfulfilling. That’s when I decided to travel around the world—alone on my motorcycle.
For two years I planned my adventure, poring over books, maps and internet sites. I trained my body, learned languages and made modifications too my motorcycle all to prepare my mind, body and bike for the rigors of overland travel.
I winded down my business, sold almost everything I owned and headed to the Arctic Ocean. The journey north from California was an adventure and a test ride. I would have a chance to tweak my bike and load, which I did, before crossing into Mexico and heading south to Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego and beyond.
Along the way, I traveled 62,000 miles through 35 countries on five continents. At first, I traveled too fast, buzzing through British Colombia, Yukon and Alaska. I quickly learned that the goal of travel is not to check destinations of lists, but rather to experience culture and connect with people.
There were challenges along my journey. I broke my leg badly in Bolivia. I was marched into the Colombian jungle at gunpoint, and I had to plead with the governments of Syria and Sudan to let me into their countries.
My journey lasted three years. Most people don’t have the time, resources or will to travel for so long. For me, travel is the one thing on which I spend my money that nobody can ever take away from me. Travel is an investment in both time and money, and its return is immeasurable.
After returning from this adventure, I’d come to yet another fork in the road. What do I do next? I decided to write a book—another journey that took me nearly as long as my around the world motorcycle ride.
At first I planned to write a traditional travelog or memoir, but I realized the best way to share this adventure would be beyond words. That is, to see it with photos, to feel it through stories of culture and connection and to taste it with flavors of local food.
Agents and publishers asked me to simplify the idea, take out the food and photos. Rather than compromise, I decided to turn to the crowdfunding site, Kickstarter. I was humbled and grateful when after just 9 days FORKS reached its funding goal of $22,000, making my dream a reality and ensuring that FORKS will be on tables later this year.
FORKS, A Quest for Culture, Cuisine and Connection, is a 280 page hardcover book with 500 color photos and 40 recipes from all over the world.