A Very Messy Journey Around the World
by Dan Walsh
384 pages, $28.00
by Gus Breiland
Here in the states, we understand there are a few differences between England and the US when it comes to motorcycles and all things motorcycles. They get all to cool bikes. We get cruisers. They get all of the great magazines like Classic Bike, Superbike and BIKE, we get most absorbent Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly and Knuckle Dragger Gazette.
So, with that understanding I went head long into Endless Horizon by Dan Walsh expecting a raucous tale of adventure, struggle, with hopefully a hint of debauchery that ultimately ends in triumph, glory and self realization. Sadly I found a wallow in the life of a man who wasn’t prepared for the mental instability of life on the road. The book is about Dan’s assignment to travel the world for BIKE as he road and wrote his way through Dakar, Ghana, South Africa, the States and South America. All roads leading to another hotel, another bar and another lost moment of adventure at the bottom of a bottle.
While looking for adventure in the pages of Endless Horizon, I found Dan to be regaling us with his time spent wasting away in each city as he languished over dead lines, a broken relationship back home, the death of a good friend back home that put is adventure on pause, then ultimately the foolishness that is a young man without direction, without a reason to go home nor a clear understanding of why he is on the road.
There are those who try to teach and share their experience of just going, getting on the bike and realizing that there are very few road blocks as long as there is a tomorrow. From what I can tell about Dan’s experience, he was his own roadblock. Trying to be Hunter S. Thompson yet becoming a drunken buffoon hoping that a girl would take pity on him and spend the night or some how getting back to his cheap hotel and waking up lamenting the the wreak he had become without the wisdom to avoid a repeat performance come sun down.
While I am envious of a man with an assignment to ride the world, I found Endless Horizon to be immature and dangerously stupid. A man set forth without the mechanical skills to be self sufficient, a time line to be driven by and a clear destination to return to. A man lost in an assignment of a lifetime without the discipline and strength to fulfill it.
As you can read, my opinion of Endless Horizon is scornful at best. I wanted to enjoy this book for the risks that he took. The coffee, cigarettes and booze that he consumed and the lack of foresight and planning that create epic adventure. Yet I kept coming back to my perspective, the perspective that will ultimately keep me from such a solo adventure as I realize that it takes a special person to be alone on the road for years at a time without succumbing to the ease of self destruction.
Dan was able to capture the deep psychological holes of being alone in a wilderness that is humanity but I never really found a spot where Mr. Walsh came to his crossroads and chose his path. He seemed to be going in circles of deterioration only to come round the bend, find a new wallow to lye in until it dried up and a new wallow was to be found.
Squid – Sweet, he got drunk and got laid. I’d do that, like, a lot dude.
Commuter – How does this help me ride defensively?
World Traveler – Um, yea. Sure I’ll ride with you Dan. Why don’t you lead… by a continent or 2.
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