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Reflections of a Pillion Passenger

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    Paul Brown (Brownie)
    • Bike: BMW F800GS
    Rank: 400cc Rider

    Tracey Brown – Pillion Passenger
    Paul Brown – Rider
    NZ residents, Currently in lockdown in Morocco

    As we sit here in under lockdown in Morocco thousands of ks from our home in New Zealand and halfway through our 2 year adventure ride through Europe as a result of the Covid19 pandemic I have been reflecting on our journey to date and life as a pillion passenger on our motorbike.

    2 persons on a motorbike equals 100% meaning either 100% are having the best time or 50% are terrified, exhilarated and want to get off!

    To be a pillion you must be able to trust the rider with your life which can play games with your natural body instincts for danger meaning you have to be able to constantly adjust your head thoughts and emotions to get thru the fear of falling off, someone knocking you off, speed, cliff drop offs, narrow windy roads, gravel, sand, mud, unexpected tracks that you thought were going to be roads.
    However if you can get past all of these annoying natural human reactions, your senses will be lifted to a new level of wonder. The smells, the scenery, the freshness and time you have to think about life, future or past or not think about anything at all but to just be. These are the beautiful experiences of travelling on the back of a motorbike and at times having a little snooze.
    That’s another wonderful feeling, of closing your eyes and feeling and smelling the ride, so peaceful or in some cases if you’re scared, closing your eyes can work but I promise you your curiosity will get the better of you and as long as when you open your eyes and you look at what’s ahead of you like into the next corner, it will bring your head back on track to enjoy the moment.

    The rider definitely can ride for hours due to the love of navigating and having control with the feeling of leading the bike wherever he/she wants to go but it’s different for a pillion as really you have no control over anything except your head and emotions. So to travel for hours and hours can be a completely different experience and may not want to be on the bike forever in a day like the rider.

    A lot of motorbike riders just forget to stop for a break, food or just to stop to admire and take stock of where they actually are because they just love riding their bike full stop. It’s not about the destination usually, it’s about the journey so why do you need to stop.
    Well if you are carrying a pillion, the rules change as the pillion is usually riding with you, thinking there will be plenty of wow stop moments, a mementos lunch stop somewhere and just cruising at a speed that is not wondering at what speed you can hit that corner but that gives the pillion time to enjoy the scenery.

    My adventures of being a pillion on a motorbike have taken me all through and around New Zealand (North and South Island), Turkey, Vietnam, Bali, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Italy, France, Andorra, Spain, Portugal and Morocco so far. Living the dream is hard work with a lot of adversities that the mainstream don’t see like repairs, itineraries, money, what to take and/or leave behind, visas, insurance, where are we going to sleep, weather, illness, crime, road state, safety and the responsibilities you still may have at home like property, investments or family just to name a few. But hey guess what, it’s better than working that same safe daily routine each day, buying ‘stuff’ and wondering what life is like out there in the big wide world and “if only” had not happened etc.

    You don’t always fall in absolute love with the riding in some countries but it does remind you of your core values and boundaries, what’s important in your life and how fortunate you are with what you have or don’t have. Also what you find acceptable in the world plus what you don’t and how you react to that.

    Travelling on a motorcycle puts the important and not so important things in life into perspective, like material possessions, choosing your battles, understanding why a person maybe like they are, walking away from what you choose is unimportant to you. Also travelling and immersing yourself in different cultures can give you a view on just how magnificent and beautiful the world can be.

    I found a Mark Twain script on a copper plate high up in the Tegalberg mountains in Germany that touched my heart
    Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails.

    Lastly after sharing all my thoughts and feelings, I leave for my next destination with these words to you which apply in a lot of life areas.
    To gain that which is worth having, it may be necessary to risk everything else.
    So just do it!!

    • Town/City: Tauranga
    • Bike: BMW R100GS, Ducati Mark 3 250 narrow case
    Rank: Round the World Adventure Globetrotter

    Thanks Tracey @brownie.

    We were in Portugal and had been in Europe a year when Covid started to kick off in Europe and made a decision to come back to NZ in March as we also had our daughter with us. I haven’t been keeping up with the lockdowns over there since we got back but hope you’ve managed to get moving again. There’s probably worse and certainly more expensive places than Morroco to be holed up in during a lockdown.

    Paul Brown (Brownie)
    • Bike: BMW F800GS
    Rank: 400cc Rider

    Thanks @Eddieb. We finally made it out of Morocco after 5 months by way of a repatriation ferry to Genoa Italy 14 days isolation and we are on the rise again. Currently in Sicily

    • Bike: R1200GS, DL650, DRZ250, DRZ400S,
    Rank: 1200cc Rider

    Thanks Tracey, well put and very true.

    As the rider, If you’re lucky enough to have a partner that will ride with you, then you need to look after them. I’d also suggest you ride pillion on someone else’s bike every now and then. Just to remind yourself what you’re passenger may be feeling. If you don’t do it often it can be a bit unnerving!

    Best of luck with the rest of your travels.

    stu coutts
    Rank: 125cc Rider

    That was a good read, I ride with my wife a lot and it’s cool to be able to share the riding experience.

    Rank: 1200cc Rider

    So much of what you have said rings so true with me, my wife some of the time rides pillion and at other times rides her own bike which I think makes being a pillion all the more unnerving
    With out doubt seeing as much of the world on a motorcycle has got to be the best way. If you end up in the UK anytime give me a shout we have a place in Devon and you would be very welcome to come and stay.

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