7 Things to Do Now to Prepare for Travel

by Liz Jansen

Now that I’ve decided to ride to South America, it’s time to get a little more specific. Other than knowing I’m leaving this year sometime, the rest is still a haze. The best way to clear that haze, is to start researching and planning at least the basics.  Although I want to avoid over planning, some strategic preparation is prudent.

prepare-for-travelI’m extremely fortunate to have good friends who’ve traveled there by motorcycle. If they don’t have the answer, they know who to connect me with. I’m also fortunate that forums such as Horizons Unlimited and Advrider are available with a wealth of information from people who have traveled around the world. It’s from hanging around these friends and travelers that I’ve caught this bug!

7 Things to Do Now to Prepare for Extended Travel

These aren’t in a specific order and I’ll be doing them concurrently anyways.

  1. Learn Spanish. I’m pretty good with English and that’s about the extent of my language skills, even though my first language was German. You pick up bits as you go along, but I want to get a solid start, and then build from there.
  1. Get fit. An exercise regime takes on new meaning, knowing I’m going to be traveling by motorcycle in far away countries, by myself. This also includes visiting the dentist and doctor for pre-emptive checkups and immunization. I’m going to be in the best physical shape possible before I set out.
  1. Take rider training. I can’t possibly know all the situations I’m going to come upon, other than I know there will be challenging road conditions, somewhere. An advocate of regular refresher courses anyways, I’m getting additional training in early so I can practice it before I go. And I know exactly who I’m going to call: Clinton Smout at S.M.A.R.T.
  1. Identity the musts. In my travel planning and coaching webinars, I advise people to have a goal, even if that goal is not to have a plan. Knowing your starting point and end point shapes the way you’ll move between those two points. This trip came about because I want to research teachings of indigenous people, looking for the cross-cultural common grounds. I’m interested to learn the wisdom that was in place before it splintered and fragmented into many exclusive dogmas. To do that, I’ll want to visit specific locations.
  1. Define scope. “Riding to South America,” is a pretty broad target. Given the goals of this trip and the resources I’ve got to do it with, I want to stay focused. Whatever plan I come up with will be a guideline, with lots of room for serendipity. I also know not everyone is on my timeline, there’ll be new information and all this can change, but I have to start somewhere.
  1. Draft timelines. Planning requires facts to work with. That means I need to start putting together a plan of the best time to travel, where I’ll visit, and how long I’ll stay. Because this is a working trip, I’ll need to allow more time and allocate workdays between travel days.
  1. Plan for borders. Once I know which countries I’ll be going to when, I can research requirements for administrative things such as visas, insurance, and shipping. Of the countries I’m planning to visit on this trip, I’ve travelled to Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Peru, and Bolivia—all in the 90’s and via a very different mode of travel–and a different lifetime.

And so it starts. I’ve got approximately six months before I leave, but departure day will arrive before I know it and I’m going to be ready. At least as ready as I can be.
photo credit: Bunches and Bits {Karina} via photopin cc


Author, writer, student and motorcycle aficionado Liz Jansen combines her artistic mediums to create stories that inspire readers to embark on their own journey of self-discovery. No helmet or jacket required.

2 Comments on “7 Things to Do Now to Prepare for Travel

  1. wOW! Yes indeed it does seem like a lot reading about it, but in thinking it over you really have done most of the work already, it is steadfast in your mind.

    • That it is Mary. But that seemed to be the easy part. It just arrived there one day. I knew I had to answer that call – and now I’m headed south! 🙂