14 August 2011

I understand completely those people who prefer to travel without any means of communication. No laptop, no visits to internet cafes, not even a mobile phone. It is possible and absent pressure from others to let them know you are safe many adventure tourers would even recommend this approach.

I’m at the opposite end of the scale though and I’m always in search of a free internet connection to stay in touch with those of you who remain in the real world.

But today I wish I had none of this technology.

Emails are for the most part a delight to receive. I have received many since my trip began of support and encouragement for my travels and honesty. For this I am most grateful.

I do think emails in the corporate world are the single most overused method of CYA. We all know only the first 2 lines at the most ever get read but we like to state our position just in case something goes pear shaped so you can pull it out later and say “I told you so”.

I’ve been terribly guilty of this. Some would think I was being paid per email word. Some of this is due to my training as an auditor where you are taught to document everything.

Emails also can be one dimensional and convey little empathy. Absent a reassuring voice calmly speaking the message conveyed they can be easily misinterpreted.

There have been times when I have put my own spin on an email I have received due more to my relationship with the sender than its contents. I jump to conclusions and look to fire off a reply justifying my position. It is only on reading the email a few more times that I realise I was way off track.

Emails can also bring you back into a situation you have been wanting to move on from. A few simple words can expose unhappy feelings or refresh long forgotten bad memories … take you back into the feelings we try to escape from.

For me there is a fine balance between feeling good about myself and feeling bad about myself. I’m not completely insecure but I like to be liked, as we all do. Many others are better when confronted with personal negativity than me. They simply don’t care based on who it is coming from or their ego is so large they find it simply unbelievable anyway; they can convert truth into pure fantasy in their own minds. They can quickly move on as though they live in a house with no mirrors. I am envious of this ability.

I’m more reflective than that. Way too much. But hey that’s me. The micro analysis of my actions is exhausting and once it starts its terribly difficult to just stop. Then it’s easy to become negative about everything. And I hate being wrong but when I am, and this is often, I have no problems saying so and apologising, hoping this will bring closure, enabling me to move on and bring an end to the micro analysis.

The experts claim there are two responses to stressful situations. Fight or flight.

I like a good intellectual stoush. Some may say that I just like to argue. I would put it that I simply want others see things from a different perspective. Seems I always want to take the other side of the debate regardless of what I actually believe or feel.

But this is tiring. I just don’t want to argue any more. No more fighting for every inch – not for the moment. It’s flight for me now. Get on a big motorcycle and travel thousands of miles to new countries. And tell family and friends of my adventures and my feelings on the way. Something for me to review and reflect on when I have to re-join the real world.

An email today took me back to another time when my sanctuary was invaded and made me feel like I had nowhere safe to go anymore. There is no worse feeling for me. The loss of sanctuary is debilitating to the point where I just want to get away from that place as fast as I can and not have anything else to do with it.

Another low point on the road today.

I’ve come down a long way from the heights of the Transfăgărășan. I’m not even sure if this blog will be published. I think that tomorrow I’ll realise I have over reacted and am just way too sensitive. But today this is how I feel. And my feelings are all I have now – my reality.

Tomorrow is another day. The sun will shine and my bike will take me to new places. Hopefully not just in a physical sense.

Update: My original blog documenting my Turkey motorcycle tour was being posted on the Horizon’s Unlimited Travellers Stories website.  A wonderful free service provided by HU to which I am most grateful to have been able to utilise in my pre-WordPress blogging days.

Whilst free in a monetary sense, it is – as I was to learn – subject to regulation.

On the morning of the 14th of August I received the following email from HU founder (and global motorcycle touring legend) Grant Johnson:

Hi Brett,

A request please – after a few exchanges with Chris about your posts – please remove  the disparaging comments from your posts. True in your opinion or no, we can’t allow “nasty, abusive, disparaging” etc comments about people. We don’t allow it on the HUBB, nor in blogs.

thanks for your help to keep the peace, and HU a fun and friendly place to be. 🙂

all the best,


I was devastated and still to this day cannot find any “nasty, abusive, disparaging etc” comments in the original (but by this time edited) blog post ….

To which I replied:

Hi Grant,
Let me say at the outset I fully concur with HUBB/HU policy.  I apologise that you have become involved in this matter which I thought was closed.
I have already done an edit at Chris’ request so I’m not sure why this is still an issue.  I would also like to add that in my opinion there was nothing offensive in the blog in the first instance, just a light hearted presentation of actual events.  However, as we all have different views on such things I took out the content which I considered may have been what Chris was referring to.
I have asked Chris to confirm that he was happy with the changes and he if felt strongly to give me a mark-up of anything else he would like changed.  I have apologised to Chris saying it was not my intention to cause any offence and advised him that just to be safe going forward he will not receive any further mention in the blog.
He has not responded with any detail other than to say “I do understand that you had no intention of causing offence, and now that you’ve revised the blog let’s let it be a bygone.”
Again my apologies for taking up too much of your valuable time on this matter.
I have copied in Chris so that he may communicate dirctly to me regarding anything else he would like changed so as not to involve you any further.  This is the sort of petty power squabble that my trip is supposed to take me away from and I find it extremely disconcerting that I cannot put it behind me and just enjoy my journey.
Kind regards

Good work Kalahari George (aka Chris) – what a complete tool!  Thanks for ruining my trip.  It took everything I had in me not to head back to London that day.  Even reflecting on it now, some two and half years later I still find Kalahari George’s actions most immature.

A couple of days later some more emails were exchanged:

Hi Grant – I have not heard from yourself or Chris following my email (copied below) a couple of days ago but this could be due to travel schedules.  I have now removed from my blog all references to and photos of Kalahari George or KG (replaced where simpler with Aussie Joe or AJ) I could quickly locate.  Chris [surname removed] was never mentioned in any blog, original or amended.  If I have missed anything please let me know and I will amend further.
This incident has upset me considerably and I would like to move on from it and enjoy the rest of my adventure.  It would be grateful if you and Chris could acknowledge I have done all that is required.
Thanks for your understanding.
Kind regards

Grant responded with:

All looks fine to me, although I didn’t check everything!

no worries Brett,



Then finally, a response from Chris:

Hi Brett,

Looks fine to me. Have a safe trip.



Luckily that was the end of it and I was able to put it behind me and press on to Turkey where blog dramas would be replaced with dramas of the mechanical variety.  

Apart from another couple of emails I exchanged with Chris in early September inquiring about his whereabouts/itinerary, I never saw or corresponded with him again.