Welcome to Thoughts from the Road. Here’s Angela and Wayne on the language of motorcycles…
We are Angela and Wayne. When we meet Angela loved travelling and Wayne loved motorbikes. Combining the two is a match made in heaven. After spending four months travelling in South East Asia on a bike, we have now set our goal on the world. Which we are completing in legs and are just coming to the end of leg two in Central America. Leg three will start in early 2024 with South America.
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The Language of Motorcycles
Travelling to a country where you don’t speak the language can be frustrating. Doubly so when you love to interact with the locals. But we have a secret weapon – our motorcycle.
We do always try to at least learn the basics: hello, thank you and goodbye in each country we go to. For our current trip, we knew we were going to be in Spanish speaking countries for a while, so we have tried to learn more. However, as our Spanish slowly improves, we realise just how much we are missing out on.
Fortunately, the motorcycle is a great icebreaker and conversation starter. Bikers are bikers everywhere in the world regardless of nationality or language.
Early on in our trip we pulled into a small town called Imala in Mexico. We heard there were hot pools there (and we could do with a good soak). We pulled in an hour before dark but couldn’t find a single hotel.
As it happened there were a group of local riders from a nearby town. We exchanged info and photos of our bikes and told them we were traveling from Los Angeles to Panama. They bought us a beer and showed us on Google maps where the closest hotel was and the best rides for tomorrow. We gave them stickers which they proudly put on their bikes. All this interaction with only the Google Translate app and a shared passion for bikes.
And this wasn’t a one-off occurrence. All across Central America people have approached us to ask about the bike and our travels. Often, they too are riders but sometimes it’s just locals who want to interact and make sure we are enjoying their country. They tell us a little about themselves, what we should do and where we should go – usually all done with us speaking Spanglish and them speaking no English.
As our Spanish slowly improves, our interactions with local people become even more rewarding and the journey is so much more enjoyable for it.
Thanks to our motorcycle, we have met some amazing people, travelled to some fantastic spots and ridden some stunning roads we would never have otherwise found.
We are grateful that our motorcycles have allowed us to navigate both borders and language barriers.
Angela and Wayne
Thanks for checking out this Thoughts from the Road column. We hope you enjoyed it! Here’s a few more articles on adventure motorcycle travel that we recommend you read next.