The ‘Why’

So why do this trip? I have already received this question many times, from none moreso than myself. Why risk the danger? Why spend the money? Why be away from the people you care about? The answer to this question is very much a work in progress, but I will give my best attempt in this post. It will be painfully introspective (hopefully more for me than for you 🙂 ), but for that reason it should serve as an effective way to introduce myself.

Human motivation is a tricky thing right? And since the only person’s thoughts to which I have access are my own, I can only truly attempt to understand motivation through examining myself. As I get older, I realize just how weak and prone to error I am. Reexamining decisions from previous points in my life make me realize both how much I have grown and how much growing I have yet to do. Many times in my life I have made terribly selfish decisions under the guise of honor or service. Sometimes I was truly unaware of these dastardly motivations, other times I knew full well and proceed to follow them regardless.


So this post will try to examine all possible motivations, from noble to ignoble, since the decision to take this trip was probably a mixture of all of them. If nothing else, I hope to get full marks for honesty. 🙂


  1. The Process is the Purpose

This phrase has become sort of a rallying cry for myself over the past 6 years. I know that this trip will change me. Anytime we face any sort of ordeal, change is inevitable. Regardless of whether or not I succeed in completing the trip, I am excited for who I will become by the time it is over. I think I will have a deeper faith, more self discipline, an increase in empathy and a greater understanding of our world. I’ll probably be a better motorcycle mechanic too :-). This motivation has little to do with completing the trip. It is more about the work that is being completed within me. This is usually what I say when I’m asked why I’m doing the trip, and I sincerely hope it is my greatest motivation.

Nobility rating: 8/10



  1. Mid-life Crisis

Don’t laugh. I’m plenty old to have one. I guess when men feel their youth is slipping away, they often do something drastic to shake things up. For some this may be a new sports car or even an extramarital affair, for me it is a motorcycle trip. I don’t think this is a major motivation for me, but I have to at least acknowledge that it may be floating around somewhere in the back of my mind.

Nobility rating: 2/10



  1. Notoriety

There is a part of me that is extremely disappointed (and maybe even a little surprised) that I did not grow up to be a professional athlete, a rock star or President of the United States (although in 2020 I will be old enough to run for the first time). As kids I think we all believe that somehow we will grow up to be rich, powerful and famous. Do we ever fully lose this belief? My daydreams say not. In my fantasies it is years down the road and I’m giving a lecture on my trip to a packed audience who hang on my every word and laugh at each of my jokes. They are amazed by my courage, ingenuity, intellect and general awesomeness. I can feel their intoxicating cocktail of adoration and envy washing over me. Ahhhhh……  I shouldn’t have thoughts like this, especially as a man of faith. My sense of worth should come solely from knowing that I am a receiver of God’s love. As much as I try to shun this as a motivation, I can’t fully deny its existence.

Nobility rating: 1/10



  1. Being the First

I’ve researched this trip quite a bit and can find no evidence that anyone has ever done what I am attempting to do. I’ve tried to play the scenario in my mind where someone has already done this trip. Would it still be as attractive to me? I don’t think so. The indwelling pioneering spirit has led to many wonderful discoveries and innovations throughout the ages. It has also led to many fool’s errands. We’ll see which category this trip falls into later.

Nobility rating: 5/10



  1. Seizing the Day

I am in a very unique position to even have an opportunity to do this trip:

I have the time.

I have the money.

I am in good health.

I know how to subsist on a meager budget.

I am a decent mechanic.

I am single.

I have no dependents.

I know how to get relatively clean without access to a shower.


If any of the previous statements were untrue, I don’t think it would be possible to do this trip (except maybe the last one 🙂 ). Because of this, I feel that the trip represents an exceedingly unique opportunity. One that I intend to seize.

Nobility rating: 6/10



Maybe a decade or so down the road I will be able to fully know how much each of these motivations influenced my decision. Additionally, I’m sure other motivations that I am currently oblivious to will come to light.


OK, I have to go. It is time for me to examine my motivations for writing this post about motivations. 🙂



Author: BA


8 thoughts on “The ‘Why’”

  1. We are beside you on rt 51 in pittsburgh and you definitely caught our attention. So I looked up your blog and we think you are AWESOME! We would love to do this trip but with kids and work its not possible. So thank you for sharing. Good luck on your trip and if you need anything while in town let us know.


    1. Awww. Thanks so much! I can’t believe how many nice people I’ve met in Pittsburgh already. I had an old friend buy me lunch and will put me up for the night. You are always welcome along on my journey, even if only digitally. 🙂 Thank you for the nice message!


  2. Hey Brett, Since meeting you in DC when you stayed over I finally am getting around to the beginning of your story. Let me first say that this particular blog is a complete and honest evaluation of your reasons for doing this trip. You are living up to what you wrote here almost a year earlier. I totally agree with your comments on human motivation. I am continually amazed how we (the human race) sometimes justify the most selfish and self righteous actions on a daily basis so that we can feel better about ourselves. Your humility, instilled in you from your folks (great job Mom and Dad) suits you well.


    1. I hadn’t read this post in a long time. I hope I’ve continued to be honest with myself the whole way. I think there is so much value to that. You have an accurate assessment that I owe so much of this to my upbringing. My parents really are incredible people. Thank you, Doug.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: