Saltair couple gear up for an adventure
Looking for a little excitement in your life? Maybe you yearn to take a great adventure, start a new venture or take on a sport that will get your blood pumping?
Helen Keller’s comment “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing,” may be a bit extreme but the reality is that adventure isn’t just about excitement. It expands our knowledge, tests our limits, and helps us discover our true selves.
In upcoming issues we will be profiling more people who are living “adventurous” lives. Perhaps their story will inspire you to plan out your own personal adventure – no matter how big or small.
Motorcycle adventure travelers Brian and Sandra Smith from Saltair took an early retirement so they could spend more time pursuing their passion.
Brian is a 47+ year veteran of motorcycling and has adventure travel experiences spanning 14 years with wife Sandra. Their largest single trip spanned 16 countries, 3 continents and 22,500 kms. in 2011. Their 2013 trip included previously unvisited Bosnia, Montenegro and Albania and recently they returned from 7 weeks in an area they call Hidden Italy. Sandra makes most of the selections of where to stay, ethnic foods to experience, and sites to see. With training as a dietary technologist, food, for her, is a central part of ensuring a meaningful cultural experience. She began riding with Brian over 42 years ago.
What do you define as an “adventure?”
For us, adventure travel will take us outside our comfort zone, requires our skills and ability to self direct, and use self reliance to navigate the unknown whether it is our sailboat, motorcycle, bicycle or RV; whether it is in a foreign country, interacting in a foreign culture, understanding the language, or finding accommodation, and discovering the local foods and music.
Why do you engage in self-directed motorcycle travel?
Imagine first that instead of the destination being the only goal, the whole ride is an integral part of the experience. It’s like riding the roller coaster to and from Disneyland quite simply. That’s adventure motorcycling. Then imagine you get to select and design the route. That’s self-directed travel. You utilize all your senses when you travel this way. Imagine driving through a small village and smell the flowers or baking on a window sill, or the freshly cut wheat in the fields, and, there are no barriers to impair your vision or your hearing. Secondly, imagine the freedom of being able to travel or park pretty much anywhere when sightseeing. We have stopped for directions only to take a look around and see the Eiffel Tower just down the road from where we pulled over. We have driven into the Sahara desert and Dades gorge and stayed in remote areas in Kasbahs and Riads.
Has your adventurous lifestyle been an asset or detriment to your personal/business relationships and how?
Our adventure travel has been extremely beneficial to us. When I was a Corporate security advisor of an Energy company the knowledge that I had from foreign travel allowed me to understand and make sound risk assessments for our business executives who would travel to other countries. Since retiring we have met many people, most much younger than us, that we have become real friends with.
What is your favorite adventurous activity to do in the Central Vancouver Island area?
Sailing is something that actually brought us to the Ladysmith. We used to haul our sailboat out to the Gulf Islands when our kids were small and gunk hole the islands for 3-4 weeks each year. Not many people from the prairies ever did that. Explore the backcountry here.
Our motorcycle is a 2006 Suzuki Vstrom 1000, fitted out with aftermarket gear for the purpose of adventure and off pavement riding. It currently has over 70000 kms on it and has never had any sort of breakdown. It was shipped by container to Europe in 2010 The motorcycle featured on this issue of TAKE 5’s front cover is provided courtesy of Doug Stephens and Mile Zero Motorsport in Ladysmith. It is a 2014 Suzuki Vstrom 1000, fitted out with aftermarket GIVI gear.
Follow their adventures at vstromadventures.blogspot.ca www.youtube.com/watch?v=RePUwL9Ubrc.
There’s plenty to do right here at home. Bungy Jump, scuba dive the sunken Boeing 737 reef or take a ride on the Vancouver Island hovercraft. That’ll get you pumped! The back country offers motorsports and mountain biking opportunities. Rent a kayak, learn to sail, take riding lessons or join the Ladysmith Sportsmen Club and get outdoors. We have an extensive network of hiking trails that range from beginners to hard core. Want to get wet? Choose from creeks, rivers, lakes and ocean. Switch it up and do something new. Meet new people visit new places or see old places with a new attitude.