Ted Simon took a round-the-world motorcycle trip in 1973. Twenty seven years later, at 69 years of age, he began his second round-the-world motorcycle trip, documented on his website The Return of Jupiter’s Travels. The author of two classic travel books Jupiter’s Travels and Riding High, Simon finds himself constantly facing his fears, and he writes about it with honesty, humor, and self-compassion. This dispatch about Columbia is a moment that most travelers on a round-the-world trip can relate to. Here’s his story.
Risk management on a trip like mine still seems to me to be a largely futile endeavour. The anticipated dangers hardly ever materialise, and obviously there’s no way to prepare for the others. In any case, I learned many years ago that the odds in our favour are vastly higher than we imagine.
A modicum of fear is a useful preservative, but I try not to let it affect my behaviour. Sometimes, though, I fail. Even in the seventies, Colombia’s reputation for theft and violence reached out to me long before I got there, and induced me to take precautions. I remember sharpening my kitchen knife (though what I had in mind to do with it escapes me). I also put padlocks on my boxes, but they were of little use as I soon lost the keys, and had to have the locks sawn off. Read the entire dispatch.