I stopped watching television a long time ago and I’m pretty sure that many of you will have done the same. I travel a lot, and after spending time away from TV, going back to watch it was painful. It had no appeal whatsoever. It had changed, and I had also. After spending months at a time watching the sunrise, and sunset, in places like the Indian Himalayas, Everest Base Camp, the shores of the Arabian Sea, and the Great Indian Desert, the connection had been switched off for good. I did, however, used to watch a bit of television back in the day and my favourite programme of the time was the Sopranos. And, as you would Imagine, Tony Soprano was my favourite character. Yes, I know – thief, murderer, adulterer, liar, violent, and just an all-round bad man and dishonest person. A real gangster and a professional criminal into the bargain. But, despite all that, he was likeable.
There were so many brilliant scenes and take aways from the whole series. One I particularly liked was when Tony got pretty upset when the conversation was all about the past. He listened grudgingly and then interrupted to say, ‘remember when, is the lowest form of conversation…’. People were being excluded and there was a lot of ego feeding going on. It sticks in my mind to this day. I think about it a lot. And I think the statement is very true. It became relevant again recently as I was making some changes for Nomadic Knights. I’ve dropped a couple of successful and much liked rides from our itineraries just for that very reason. They were great rides and I loved them, but there was too much history. The fresh spark that new ideas bring was dulling. Time for change.
Running motorcycle tours in this part of the world is a tough gig. Mentally, psychologically, and physically. I’m in no way complaining. Why would I do that? I love what I do. I’m just observing and being candid. I get asked a lot what my favourite ride is. And that changes constantly. I live in South India, which is sub-tropical, the sun shines for 9 months of the year, it’s an average 32 degrees Celsius and there’s a 22km beach at my doorstep. I can be on the Western Ghats Mountain range within a 25-minute ride and explore some amazing roads and forest trails. What’s not to like about it? But, like everything else, I get used to it. When it’s time to head to Nepal and Tibet/China for the Rode To Everest rides, I’ve had enough of Goa and I’m ready for the Himalayas. Talk about a contrast of environment. I spent the night at Base Camp in October this year at over 17,000 ft and it was minus 11 degrees. I was back home at sea level only 4 days later with 34 degrees showing on the thermometer. I reckon it takes me around a week to acclimatise.
I’m going off subject here but that’s normal for me. The circus in my head plays very loud sometimes. But that’s where my ideas come from. I think the point I was trying to make was about change. As much resistance as I put up to it, it’s inevitable and just part of what we do. When faced with the unpredictability of nature on a constant and daily basis, surrendering to and accepting it is the best course of action. Or, of no action. The Stoics called this Amor Fati, or ‘love your fate’. In a positive and constructive way, of course. Fighting nature is futile. If we do that, we fight ourselves. We’re part of all this.
So, back to the Sopranos. I have some brand-new motorcycles arriving in the next few days. As in, brand new releases. The new 450 Himalayan, the Triumph Scrambler 400 X and the very latest KTM 390 Adventure Rally version. I’ve ridden all of them and it’s hard to find fault. They’re all good, very good. They’re the best motorcycles we’ve been able to use so far. Every manufacturer has upped their game. How I see this working is that the Triumph Scramblers will replace the 500cc Royal Enfield Bullets we have and use on our South India rides. The 450 Himalayans will replace our existing 411 Himalayans for use on the Roof Of India and Rode To Everest rides. I’m not sure where the KTM fits in right now, but I bought it anyway. Why? Because I couldn’t resist it, and I’ll make up some excuse as to why it was necessary.
My existing fleet of 500cc Bullets are special motorcycles. But it’s time to move on and offer up something different. I have my own personal collection of Bullets – 350’s and 500’s. I’ll keep those, but the others will be sold on. It’s time to make way for the new. I’m still very fond of the past rides and that will never change – some brilliant times with absolutely amazing people. It felt like the best. But was it? I don’t know. In my gut, I feel that the best times are yet to come. I just know it.
If you’ve ridden with me before or will be riding and meeting myself and the team for the first time, there will be ‘remember when’ conversations. But be rest assured, we’re all looking forward to what happens next, and you will be part of the new story and this exciting journey.
I look forward to riding with you.
Founder and Lead Rider