Hello. I’m Robert.
I’m an ordinary bloke, a Joe Public, with an insatiable curiosity.
I appreciate adventure travel, nature, beauty, good coffee, science, kindness, technology well done, photography, authenticity, integrity, facts, social justice, accountability, progressive ideas, noble ideals, good dogs, gravity, living better, laughter, compassion, toques, wool socks, maple syrup, as well as smart, practical, reliable machines.
My curiosity has lead me to faraway lands where I can experience new sights, smells, and cultures. I am fortunate to have travelled to over 30 countries. Slow travel allows me explore, gain a better understanding of the regions, people, and their cultures.
After 28 years working for the same employer, I took early retirement shortly after a colleague was diagnosed with a terminal brain cancer. Paul had worked 37 years for that same organization and was only two months shy of fulfilling his dream of travelling full-time with his wife. After he told me of his diagnoses, I knew I had to go. While I was still able. Paul passed a few months later.
My last day of work was exactly 28 years after I started at that organization. The day after, I saddled my motorcycle and started on a journey from eastern Canada, to California, then through Mexico, and Central America. I then shipped the bike from Panama City to Cali, Colombia by air cargo, to hop over the wild Darién Gap. I then rode through much of South America, all the way to Ushuaia, Argentina, the most southern city in the world. Then I rode back.
That trip was mega for me. It took nine months to do it on a heavy motorcycle. I know it’s a cliché, but that adventure was a life-changing experience. It changed my perceptions of the world, and the direction in my life. I wanted to do more of this type of travel. And to more parts of the world. If I was to do that same trip over again, it would take me much much longer. I’d take more time getting to better know the people, and learn from them. And I’d do it on a smaller motorcycle.
A few years after my trip to South America, I rode the length of Vietnam on small 110cc Honda Super Cub for 5 months, and had just as much fun. Maybe even more. The developing world runs on these wonderful little machines. Bigger is not always better. Often the simpler solution is the better option. I knew first hand that vehicle-supported adventure travel is less about the vehicle and more about the people, the cultures, and the beauty.
Your mileage may vary, of course. Your experiences should be unique to you. Just as importantly, time is shorter than you think, and tomorrow is not guaranteed.
Travel has shown me that we all live on one beautiful blue marble and have more in common with each other than most of us realize. I think the world is a better place when we honestly and openly take the time to get to know each other a little better.
I’m a sailor, a motorcyclist, a racer, an overlander, a voyageur. I have run seven marathons, including the Boston Marathon. I’m a licensed amateur radio operator. I have seen more people in pain than any one individual should. But, oddly enough, I don’t know how to ride a horse.
In my younger days, I raced an open wheel Formula Ford, and rallied 4-wheel drive Subaru in the Canadian Rally Championship. As a teenager, I dreamed of racing against Gilles Villeneuve, the great Canadian Formula 1 driver. I was fortunate to admire him race his Ferraris up close when I was a race marshal. He too passed away too young.
I’ve owned and travelled in a VW EuroVan camper (fun, but frustratingly unreliable), and two Toyota Tacomas (reliable, mostly, but uncomfortable, prone to rust, over-hyped in popular culture, and severely limited in their carrying capacities – great for what it was designed for – grocery shopping and looking the part), a Four-Wheel Camper (too heavy, too wide, and not very aerodynamic which dramatically decreased gas mileage and range).
I now have a much-loved, custom-built All-Terrain Camper (lighter, narrower, more aerodynamic, and more reliable). I’m a big fan of things that are reliable, purposeful, and work. Honest machines.
So, from December 2021 to April 2022 I stress-tested the light-weight pop-up truck camper, travelling on interstates and two-lane back roads between Maine to California, through snow storms in Wyoming, Nevada, and California; off-road in Sierra Nevada mountain range, the deserts of the American southwest, and Baja California Norte, Mexico. I could be comfortable and off-grid for a week at a time. The ATC performed fantastically. The Tacoma, not so much. So, I ordered a new Ford Ranger to replace the Taco. Life is just too short.
I now know I have a reliable custom light-weight truck-camper combination for future voyaging. Contingent on world events, I am confident the little Ranger and ATC will help me explore Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, and North America for 10 or so years.
I still have a dream of sailing a small boat across an ocean some day. That plan is on hold while I concentrate my efforts overland.
I have visited our ten Canadian provinces and have taken up residence in half of them. I have yet to visit our three northern Territories. I hear they are magnificent. I plan to spend more time in my own county and see more of it. But first I want to travel to more distant places while I am able.
There’s a whole lot more to this story that I’m not quite finished living. Perhaps by sharing some of my story, I will inspire some of you to follow your dreams.
If you are interested, you can connect with me through one of my links listed at RAV.IM.
I hope you are all well.