Thursday, January 3, 2013

Preparing for adventure

Susan and I just came back from seeing The Hobbit.

Hobbits, wizards and enchanted forests aren't my thing, and yet the movie doesn't fail to inspire.

Too many of us are Hobbits who live their lives never straying from our comfortable Bag Ends.

There's a reason that the story of the Hobbit strikes a chord.  Setting out on a quest with a small band of trusted confederates is a fitting adventure to strive for.

Even if there won't be dwarves, elves, Orks or dragons, there are aspects of any adventure that have mythic qualities. Daniel Hillis is credited by Stewart Brand with conceiving the seven stages of a mythic adventure:
"1. The image in the mind of the goal at the end of the journey.

2. The point of embarkation, the point where the transition begins to becoming a pilgrim on a quest.

3. The labyrinth. It's a concept like the twilight zone, where it's difficult, It's a place you must travel through that's disorienting, where you might get scared, but you have to get through it to reach the point of deep reintegration.

4. There should always be in sight the draw, kind of like a beacon, that draws you through the labyrinth.

5. The climax, the payoff, the goal, the main thing that you are trying to get to and, ideally there may be a secret payoff that you didn't expect, that caps the payoff that you did expect.

6. The gradual return to the normal world, that gives you time to assimilate what you've learned.

7. The memento, something that you are able to take away to remind you of the journey.
There's a chance that mythic adventure will beckon in 2013.  There are signs.  Just the other day I noticed that a link to my blog popped up on the Adventure Rider forum.

As many of you know, there's more to mythic adventure than grabbing a bag and heading out the door.

A real-world adventure requires careful preparation. Preparation is part of the quest and is an integral part of the experience.   If it's up to me (and maybe it is), I choose to add preparation for adventure as a first stage in the eight stages of a mythic adventure.

My preparations began in earnest shortly after I got a call from a wizard far out on the west coast telling me that a small band of adventurers planned to set out on an easterly course bound for the Atlantic, and that I might join them when they passed my way.  I need to act quickly, because as matters stand, I am utterly unprepared for adventure.

I knew instantly that I needed saddlebags.  Treppenwitz came to my aid when he sent me a set of saddlebags from Israel.

These saddlebags aren't expensive, and they are truly only designed as a stow-away solution for impromptu shopping with your Vespa. What they have going for them in this case is, having come from far away in a place that in some ways more than qualifies as the cradle of our civilization, they are ideally suited, metaphorically and metaphysically speaking, as the perfect luggage for a Vespa adventure.

What they lack in structure and security, I will make up for in the coming weeks as fierce winter weather grips the great white north.

The first step to prepare my saddlebags is to add some symbolism to pay tribute to their provenance. So I'm adding a couple of Israeli flags. My first choice was definitely Vespa Club of Israel patches, but Trepp told me that no such thing existed. The Israeli flags I picked up here in Montreal at the Flag Shop will do nicely, and will set the stage for an epic trip to the coast.

Practically speaking, the saddlebags need more structure to make them suitable for a mythic adventure. I'll be adding four adjustable strap-and-buckle closures to each bag, as well as some kind of interior plastic panels to the bottom and sides of each bag to ensure that they yield 100% of their storage capacity.

Because the bags aren't waterproof, I'm also planning to get my hands on some Eagle Creek compression bags that will allow me to maximise the space and ensure that the contents stay dry.

Here are a few photos showing where I'm heading with this.  This first bag is standing true to form thanks to some improvised cardboard panels.
This last close-up shows where I'm planning to attach the front buckles.

There is going to be much more preparation in the months ahead.

Keep an eye out here because I will be sharing all my preparations down to the tiniest detail. Who knows, maybe you will benefit from these words and set out on an adventure of your very own!


Unknown said...


you have to make time for yourself or life will pass you by. take the time to do the things you dream about or it won't happen. when you are old and grey you can look back with fond memories . . . and never wonder, "what if . . ."

Riding the Wet Coast
My Flickr // My YouTube

David Masse said...

Bob, truer words were never spoken. For now though, I'm hiding out in my den. We're below zero here, whether Celsius or Fahrenheit, and waist deep in snow. Could be the beginning of an ice age, or at least that's how it looks from here.

Keith - Circle Blue said...

I'm glad someone has Winter. I looked back at last years riding calendar and there were only three days I didn't ride to work. That's just wrong.

About adventure: That's why I ride. The destination is secondary.

Nice post, but all yours are :)

David Masse said...

Thanks Keith, I agree. Even when the destination is the office, there is always an element of adventure.

Trobairitz said...

Preparation is the key. Just beware of only 8 steps because if they were lettered instead of numbered you might be in trouble. Or not if it is a long long ride with long days in the saddle.

I am looking forward to see all your tips. Minimalist packing is key.

Oh- and the only time I've ever been to Montreal was in January 2001 and it was -36C and snow everywhere. Brrrr.

David Masse said...

Trobairitz, thanks for that Austin Powers reference. Sad to say it took a few minutes to get it.

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