Gotta get this out there, cause it's too good not to share these thoughts (even if they sound a little too "mushy" for a bunch of adventure riders.)
I've been talking or typing with so many of you for months now, discussing your riding wishes and advising with my best judgment about which of our options will best satisfy your riding desires. In doing so, I get to know you a bit. I've learned things like which motorcycles you ride, in some cases, which was your first bike ever, and reasons for finally taking your "dream trip." All of this brings back fond memories of my own riding past, and therefore a smile. Congratulations to so many of you for retiring, turning 50, or celebrating by going for a international ride somewhere to mark a special time in your life. (Not to mention those of you who are just due for a vacation.)
Ilay Avnin from Canada, it put such a huge smile on my face when, a year after your trip ended, I was doing some YouTube work and stumbled across a Patagonia video with your name on it. Makes me wonder how many other Customers have posted similar, or with such befitting musical choices.
Mark, that you shared Your Shot on National Geographic along with your Patagonia Testimonial was heartwarming enough. That this riding experience also inspired you to launch an online magazine, well ... again, I love my work.
Eva-Maria, the first time we talked, it was clear that this first ride into the Andes Mountains was one you had in mind for a long time. The build-up and suspense that went into getting your boss's permission, along with your formal booking being made just a few days ago was one I enjoyed along with you : )
Over the years, at least a couple of you have cited how the lyrics in Once in a Lifetime by The Talking Heads inspired you to take this first international trip. Thanks to your mentioning this, a song that I never really noticed or appreciated now has meaning to me as well. I can't hear those lyrics now without my mind jumping back to my earliest days out there exploring the world on my KTM 950 Adventure, and the friends who encouraged me to do so.
Sadly, some of you have later had to cancel trip plans due to medical priorities, which is a tough exchange vs. a motorcycle tour. Often this results in 2nd round of plans a year later, perhaps with an even higher level of appreciation for the adventures we still get to enjoy. In other cases, however, I've gotten to know you a bit and gained the sense of what a nice person you are ... so it only saddens me further when I search for your name a year later, only to read your obituary. #fuckcancer
There are so many more examples of how I've enjoyed working with you all, I could go on forever. It's also a strange thing these days, but necessary and understandable in our line of work that we resort almost entirely to email for this "getting to know each other" phase and for everyone to document the riding plans we are arranging for you. Perhaps its the charm of the written word that still gets to me sometimes.
RIDE Adventures has crossed more important milestones this year thanks to so many of you who have trusted in us for your travel plans. As was hinted at throughout this post, I guess I get a little misty-eyed all over again, as I'm gathering the necessities and packing my bags to head down and guide our "Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego & Ushuaia!" tour coming up over Christmas and New Year's Eve. Reflecting back to the fun I've had traveling with, and getting to know you all ... guess I'm just feeling thankful. For you all.