Traveling the world on a motorcycle has many challenges, including communication. As soon as you start to explore, you will realize that not even having several linguistics degrees at the best universities will help you find the right answers for the circumstances that arise every day along the route.
At 5,000 meters in the mountains of Pamir you will want to know where there is someone who keeps some liters of gasoline in his house to help you escape from that frozen hell, the hot Namibia will make you obsess with finding a well that refreshes you, you will want to know if you are in the right direction when your orientation abandon you in the leafy Amazon jungle of Peru or even know if there are lions in the area for what to worry about when we camp in the African savannah of northern Tanzania. Different places present different questions, and when you are looking for an adventure the answers are not in google, you have to wait for your chance with the hope that it will arrive and this usually happens suddenly, in the middle of the confusion, in a spontaneous meeting with someone local that appears from nowhere, an ephemeral and unique possibility to find the answer you need most. But in this conversation there are no words but movements with the hands, gestures with the face, sounds, some drawing in the sand and a lot of imagination. If you learned some words in the local language or if you have the application on your phone of a dictionary of pictures your chances of finishing the day with success will be much greater.
Knowing how to communicate without words is one of the skills that are cultivated while traveling and when you control it the limits can be infinite, to can handle that art of communication will be the difference between getting to a safe place where to put your tent or end the day or be stocked in the route without gasoline, between feeling strong enough to continue or getting sick from dehydration, or in more extreme cases between arriving at a massai village where you can eat a rice with some meat or being you the lunch of a herd of lions.
- Among the motorcycle and bike riders are famous children who throw stones at us through Ethiopia, change those stones for smiles depends on an instant of empathy, a quick message from your motorcycle is the only opportunity to surprise them, confuse them and get their sympathy.
- Identify us as not enemies before the warriors of many of the tribes that cross our path will make their lances and rifles go down to end up taking us to the boss who will invite us to spend the night in his village.
- Simply getting an old woman to dare to leave her shelter behind a tree to be photographed will be a success of our body language.
At the end of the trip you return home and discover that not knowing languages was not a problem to travel in the most extreme way, and you will remember how without words you could maintain a communication with people so different from you with whom you came to feel very connected, reaching sometimes to a greater understanding than in some conversations full of words that await you back home.
Then once you manage the ability for body language and hieroglyphs you will not want to stop looking for situations where to experience communication, so during our travel we thought that the best way was if we shared a roof with people from places that we visited, so we decided to travel without hotels and we managed to do it for four years. Read our next post on how to go around the world without sleeping in hotels.