I’ll always remember what Steve Jobs said about how it’s only possible to connect the dots of your life when you look back at it. He was referring to himself dropping out of university and then sneaking into calligraphy classes that he wasn’t supposed to be in, just because he loved it so much. It was this love of typography that inspired him to develop the beautiful fonts available on Apple computers and which have led to most of the popular fonts we use today. At the time, it made no sense for him to be “wasting” his time with calligraphy and typography, but in retrospect, it’s a damn good job he did. Pardon the pun!
When I did my motorcycle test back in 2009, I did so with the intention of riding from Wales to Spain. After researching the route I realised it could take some time and more to the point, money. I figured I could save enough to get me to Spain, but then I’d have to get a job and save some money to get me back home. I started searching for job sites in Spain and that’s when I discovered the world of TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). It’s also when a sense of adventure took over any common sense that was left in me. One minute I was booking myself in for my motorcycle CBT, the next, I was booking a one way ticket to Barcelona. I couldn’t work out how to move to a new city with my motorcycle, so I just took a flight in the end. Perhaps not exactly the motorcycle adventure I had had in mind, but an ambitious one never the less. Little did I know, Barcelona would turn out to be home to what must be about 50% of the world’s motorcycles. There were more bikes than people!
I arrived in Barcelona on the 2nd of August, 2009 aged 25 with almost zero knowledge of the Spanish language and even less of the Catalan. It was stiflingly hot and I could feel the sweat running down my chest as I dragged my clumpy suit case up Passege de Gracia. The Gaudi buildings struck me with such force that I almost cried with excitement. I was doing it, I was really doing it. Life was exciting again and I was ready to let it consume me.
I worked my socks off and enjoyed every second of my teacher training. My class mates were great and there was a real sense of camaraderie among us. We’d all moved to Barcelona in search of something, but no one could really pin point what it was. There were times when I would look around the class room and smile to myself. We were all rejects in some way, shape or form but I was proud to be one of them. We weren’t “normal”, we were something else.
As the end of the course approached so too did my American classmates. Jason and Naomi were a young married couple from Orange County California and were looking for somebody to rent a flat with. They asked me if I’d be interested. It’s strange. Looking back it may have come across as if I wasn’t that interested, but in reality, it was as if I had assumed this would happen. I don’t mean with them in particular, but it was as if, without consciously thinking about it, I had expected this to happen. So when it did, I didn’t even have to think about my answer. Of course I would rent a flat with them. It’s what was always going to happen, wasn’t it?
Little did I know that this couple would become two of my closest friends and also introduce me to the most beautiful and amazing person I’ve ever known. Sylvie was a friend of theirs from California and had also moved to Spain, I guess looking for whatever it was that we were all looking for. We all had our tales to tell and the more we got to know each other, the more we realised we had in common.
As time passed, things calmed down but the adventure continued and I let it control me. One thing I learnt about adventure, is that it happens to you, it controls you. Not the other way around. You may even notice a shift in the tone of my writing, when Sylvie and I started adventuring. Luckily, she’s also into travelling, eating and motorcycles. All of which were thrown beautifully together when we travelled to Italy and visited the Ducati Factory in Bologna and let’s not forget our Welsh motorcycle adventures of summer 2011.
It’s now the 14th of December 2011 and I’m living in London. I’m here because everything I have ever done has led me here, and I still have the same mentality; let the adventure guide you and let it be what it will be. I’m excited about 2012 and all that it will bring. I know that it’s all connected to the good stuff that happened in 2010/11, Barcelona, Madrid, Italy…….
QNBIKES. is one year old now and I’m proud of the way things have panned out. Like most things in my life, the best parts have happened when I let them happen organically. I’ve poured my heart out and learnt so much. The articles on this site have been inspired by my quest for adventure and my passion for motorcycles. But when I read through what I’ve written, I remember everything that has gotten me to this point. My midnight runs down to Barceloneta beach to watch the Harleys cruise through the city, the high flying business men riding their Triumph Bonnevilles through the rush hour traffic and my more destructive nights out in Barcelona, drinking €1 beers with my mates Dazmatrazz (English), Giant Jason (Irish) and Blair (Scottish) – I’m Welsh don’t forget! It was the adventure of a life time, but it still continues, in a different form.
Barcelona became my home and to some extent will always be my safehaven. It was a beautiful period of time and reinforces my view on life: Do what you love, as and when you can, it always leads you to your next adventure. So stay tuned for more. The game is still very much afoot and London’s calling.