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“Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul... and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off--then, I account it high time to get to sea“

- Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Rediscovering Freedom Post-Covid

As the world is slowly recovering from the COVID-19 crisis and its consequences, we are all trying to get our bearings and figure out how to get back to normal. But what does “normal” mean at this point, and where exactly are we headed? Can we go back to travel and adventure motorcycle tours? Should we? During the lockdowns and the quarantine, it felt like we entered a strange twilight zone of fear and uncertainty. It’s only natural that people looked to their country leaders and government for guidance; the Coronavirus pandemic was an unprecedented event, and a lot of choices and decisions were made for us to keep us safe.

Husqvarna enduro motorcycle on a ferry in ecuadorHowever, while the lockdown and quarantine measures may have been necessary to get the pandemic under control, they were supposed to be temporary. We were told to stay at home, so we stayed at home to help flatten the curve. Almost overnight, we had lost the freedom of movement and could not leave our own countries at will, so we remained still. We had to work from home and look to Zoom, not hugs, for support; so we spent hours and days staring at screens and baking banana bread. And somewhere along the way, little by little, fear started creeping into our lives. Now that the international borders are opening again, and in many countries, the only lingering restriction is the requirement to wear masks in public, it feels like we are stepping into the sun again, blinking against the light, a little unsure, craning our necks to see what everyone else is doing. Because we have lived with the lockdowns for so long, many of us are still looking to our leaders, politicians, and government officials for counsel and direction.

But if we are to put this strange involuntary pause behind us and to truly start living again, we’ve got to take the responsibility and the freedom back. It may have been necessary to comply with the restrictions during the pandemic, but compliance long-term is just as dangerous as arrogant recklessness. Compliance is alluring because it’s easy: all of a sudden, you don’t have to make decisions any longer. All you have to do is follow the guidelines laid out for you, and nothing bad is going to happen. Except the bad does happen, slowly and insidiously. Blindly following the herd, you become directionless yourself.sheep and shepherd in Ecuador

And this doesn’t just apply to the current situation. It applies to our entire culture of always trying to fit in, get along with the program, never question the state of things or the choices we are encouraged to make, and comply with what’s required of us. Get a good job, buy a nice car, get a mortgage, sell the most precious thing you have on this Earth – your time – for a wage, be polite, shop, get a credit card, stay indoors, don’t stray, don’t wander, don’t go on adventures… Most of the time, we don’t even notice the quiet but ever-persistent lullaby of our culture driving us to live a sheltered, safe, and comfortable life of mediocrity.

There’s nothing wrong about wanting safety or comfort. After all, we’re humans. But rediscovering freedom, adventure, and curiosity is also human – in fact, these might be the best things about our entire existence. Growth does not happen in the comfort zone, and creativity does not flourish in confined spaces; daring to explore the world on your own terms, venturing into the unknown, and expanding your horizons inevitably leads to a richer, more fulfilled life. We were never meant for tiny air-conditioned offices, staff manuals, and strictly regulated lunch hours. We all come from a long line of fearless explorers, pioneers, nomads, and adventurers. We used to build ships and sail around the world with just a compass to guide us, we used to trek across continents to find the dream of El Dorado, we used to travel to the North Pole with nothing but a wooden dog sled, we tamed wild horses and strange seas, we crossed mountains, deserts, and jungles on foot once… what happened to us, and why have we so willingly sacrificed our instinct to explore for some groceries and central heating?

riding suzuki dr650 dual sport motorcycle over a metal bridge in ecuadorThis is where adventure motorcycle tours in Ecuador come in. Leaving everything behind and riding around the world may not be realistic for everyone. Having a two-week getaway riding an off-road motorcycle across the Andes or the Pacific Coast, however, is at your fingertips. You may not be able to ship your own bike across oceans to experience South America, but getting a motorcycle rental and riding Ecuador for ten days? That’s more than doable. Motorcycle adventures are among the best ways to experience unbridled freedom and to feel like a true explorer from the time where the world was a much bigger place and there was still much to discover.

Adventures might be risky in the physical sense – you might sprain your ankle climbing a mountain or drop your motorcycle tackling an off-road trail – but compliance is much more dangerous because it diminishes the soul. Trading freedom for comfort is tempting, but it’s a deal that may end up costing your life.

Innovation, growth, and creativity only happen through discomfort and the willingness to go for the unknown. To grow a muscle, you first have to tear it; to keep growing your soul, you need to throw yourself in uncomfortable situations.

Luckily, there’s just no other way around it.

If you want to live instead of merely staying alive, adventure awaits.

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