Saturday, October 13, 2018

Travel, and Travel with Parosites

Welcome back to Life on two wheels.

Every now and then, when you leave your comfort zone behind, remarkable things happen.


Yes, truly remarkable things.

Things that alter your perception. Quite simply, things that change your life... for the better of course.

To illustrate, I give you a vlog episode musing on travel, and a companion journal entry on the blog which follows immediately below. Not surprisingly, I think that the one compliments the other. But you already knew that.

First the vlog episode in which I attempt to explain the somewhat challenging relationship I have with travel. I told Stephanie Yue during her interview in Episode 35 of the Vlog that I wasn't a traveler, which Stephanie thought was "nuts". In a way she was right, and yet...  I'm not a traveler. It's complicated. This episode of the vlog seeks to provide some insight. It may, or may not... sigh...

... and now, without much further ado, herewith a reading of the first gospel of the Parosites.

So it came to pass that my beloved wife and lifelong companion Susan, dragged my sorry ass far, far to the east. So far east, that truly, never easter had I ever ventured.

In that mystical way I came to be delightfully yet utterly stranded. We were on an island far, far away, in the middle of the fabled Aegean sea, in the ancient haunts of Zeus, Poseidon, and ModernVespa fellow member Aviator47 (may he rest in peace) who made a significant contribution to my Tuscan Loop. We came to be cut off from the world we knew by winds so fierce that no boat would sail, and no plane would fly. We quite simply had no means of egress.

What to do?

We soon found ourselves in the company of another couple. For the sake of this incredible narrative, let’s just call them Errol and Lisa.

I will now share with you what happens when strong winds blow and a Jew, a Catholic, another Catholic, and another Jew, Canadians all, set out to plumb the secrets of a marvelous island where the spirit of Ulysses and of the Odyssey remain present to this very day.

Should this story cause an awakening in you, should you choose to become, of your own free will, a pilgrim, an adherent of a sort, a fellow traveler of a new order, to become followers of a new and mysterious cult, set your course for Paros and Anti-Paros. There you may yet find our footsteps on the sandy shores, on the pebbled beaches, perchance, in the very rock of this island paradise.

Every journey worth the telling of its tale requires a beast of burden. Christianity traces its roots to wise men on the backs of camels. We chose a Panda. Pandas are large enough to carry four prophets in comfort, they are fierce and strong enough to ward off evil, kind and gentle enough to ease fears and carry on tirelessly, as well as nimble and sure-footed enough to venture to the very furthest reaches of the realm, to the loftiest peaks, to the very ends of Paros, to the very peak of Anti-Paros, and to the threshold of its truly mysterious depths, where the ancients scrawled a precious few words of wisdom on the stalactites and stalagmites of the depths, those silent and stoic witnesses to the countless millennia of human evolution.

We came to call ourselves Parosites. We are Parosites. You can become a Parosite too. Parosititus is simply the encapsulation of the lessons we learned, that we have vowed to impart to others who wish to follow on the enlightened path we, your prophets, your icons, forever after have pledged to follow.

Fear not. Like early Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Persians, Egyptians, Incas, Mayans, and other predecessor religious orders, behold here the true font of all that is Parosititus. It is simple. We have no commandments, and we have few rites, though we do suggest some modest guidelines that Parosites must commit to memory.

Notwithstanding the essential simplicity of the new religion we impart to you, and of the fundamental truths we pledge to seek in your company, Errol, Lisa, Susan and I concurred that we couldn’t do without some form of worship. So we have worship. But relax, there are no armies of saints to memorize, no repetitive obsessive-compulsive hand or body motions you are required to perform. You need only worship the four of us.

The only gesture you may choose to adopt, should you wish to embrace it, but that is by no means required of even the most devout Parosite, is to greet fellow Parosites with a benign smile and the merest hint of a wry knowing wink, while raising your middle finger proudly in a form of salute. The Parosite's salute.

Oh... we also decided to have tithes. We, the four founding brothers and sisters, accept, with absolute humility, and a solemn vow to avoid all forms of conspicuous unbecoming consumption, including travel on private jets or yachts over 50 feet, or other overt displays of wealth or privilege (other than travel in business class), annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly, or daily donations of small and modest gratuities never, ever, under any circumstances, to exceed 25% of Parosites’ net, after-tax annual income. Bear in mind that no amount is too small, and all donations will be acknowledged promptly on Twitter (#Parosites, #PandasRule). The Parosites’ PayPal account will be up and running in no time at all, so please be patient. In the meantime BitCoin tithing is encouraged. Your generosity is our pride and joy.

We trace our awakening to a modest table in a simple yet elegant restaurant a stone’s throw from row upon row of frond parasols and the gentle, cool and rythmic surf. This became a recurring theme. A meme really. Could it have been that our table was in fact a white marble altar? Yes, that must have been the first of many revelations. I asked Errol “Errol my dear friend and fellow traveler, what must this table weigh?” In truth, the white slab was a good three or four inches thick, four or five feet long, and the width of a generous kitchen table. The altar of the Parosites. It will surely weather the test of time.

Please bear in mind that in the very beginning we knew not that we were Parosites. True awakening, true fellowship in the path of the Parosites, dawns slowly.

Days later, as our trusty Panda carried us onward and outward bound, our consciousness rose and blossomed. In that way, a second truth revealed itself to us, once more with the blue expanse of the Aegean spread before us, shimmering in the midday sun, as we sat before a glorious meal of octopus and pizza. The essential revelation was this: when as a Parosite, you find yourself faced on the one hand with a choice of labour, toil, or industry, and on the other hand with the alternative of strolling ankle or knee-deep in the cool welcoming surf after a glorious heavenly meal, soon followed by an afternoon siesta on a lounge chair lulled to the very doorstep of a snooze by the rhythms of the sea and of the breeze in the palms ... always choose the latter.

The charcoal grilled octopus might have become the perfect emergent animal spirit and icon for our new religion... but for a later revelation, in another moment of enlightenment, that the leech was to be the true and lasting icon of our faith.

If you feel compelled to seek the comfort of a good book, a compendium, or guide to the meaning of life, beyond the simple truths laid before you here, by all means rely on the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and the immortal words of Douglas Adams who famously recommended "... to congregate at boundary conditions. Where land meets water. Where earth meets air, Where body meets mind. Where space meets time." He also observed, quite rightly "I love deadlines, I love the whooshing sound they make as they go by." Clearly he must have been an early Parosite.

Nevertheless, to be a true believer, a true Parosite, you need only worship the four of us, scrupulously and periodically submit your tithes, and commit to memory and forever loosely abide by the following Ten Guidelines:

I. Seek out and ponder the surf, and immerse yourself in it, unless it’s too damn cold.

II. Worship no idols save for Errol, Lisa, Susan and David, and learn from their indolence.

III. Study the ways of the leech, only then can you become a true Parosite.

IV. Always seek the perfect pizza, borne of a blistering smoldering brick oven.

V. In ordinary conversation or in the game of bridge, wheresoever you may be, when there is a mention of trump, raise the Parosite’s salute and spit upon the floor.

VI. Apologize at every turn, and learn to say “Eff-Harry’s-toe”.

VII. When your Panda tears a paw, seek out a kind fixer in the dead of night to shod the beast with new rubber for a modest fee.

VIII. When the pavement ends, carry on regardless and seek the ocean, even when the peril seems great, and the Panda scrapes its belly on the rocky soil.

IX. When you are speaking the truth to Parosites, never fail to embellish it with stretchers and knee-slappers.

X. When on the path to your resting place for the day, up is always right, and down is out.

So there you have it. Parosititus. It’s truly simple, and simply enlightening. Become a Parosite. You won't regret it.

That's it for a riveting double travel, lifestyle, and religion edition of Life on two wheels. Don't forget to like the video, please click to subscribe to the Life on two wheels YouTube channel, and don't forget to visit the blog where you'll find the Touring Guide, the Gear Guide, and so much more! See you next time, on life on two wheels!

The music for this episode of Life on two wheels is Mysteries  by Dan Lebowitz, made available courtesy of the YouTube Audio Library.

If you are interested in moto-touring routes in the UK, check out the following infographic published by Trago.

Finally, here are the links to the moto-adventure travelers mentioned in the video:

Stephanie Yue:
It's easier to link to Stephanie's Life on two wheels profile that contains links to her blog, professional website, and most of the interviews she has given

Lois Pryce:

Steph Jeavons:

Michael Strauss:

Ken Wilson:

Bill Leuthold:

Tim and Marisa
The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.