Chris Wilson: Adventure Story
February 2010, rugby charity dinner, York.
One of my guests, Dean Robinson, told me about an adventure he had just signed up to, Enduro Africa. Three words that ticked boxes – Motorbikes, Charity, Africa. A chance to have an adventure, do some good for charity and visit a country on my “to do” list. I hadn’t a clue what “Enduro” meant but it sounded exciting, I had never ridden off road, but within 24hrs (after the alcohol had worn off) I was signed up and deposit paid. On to E-Bay – bought a 1978 Honda 250R (a real bike with a kick start and nothing fancy), bought used kit (so it looked bashed, experienced and had stories to tell). In May I had a “Dirty Weekend” away in a Welsh forest to experience off-roading followed by a summer churning up client’s car parks, making ramps to jump over small car park barriers and riding anywhere off road I could find – the muddier, rougher, more inaccessible the better.
October, Africa. The welcome briefing made a point that we were there with a common purpose, we were there to ride motorbikes and to do some great work for local charities. It was less important where anyone had come from, what anyone did for a job, what our backgrounds were, how much money we had in our bank accounts, what our beliefs or our political views were. It was important that we were united in what we had come to achieve.
For me that message was powerful. It reinforced that we were all very different people united by the three things that had ticked my boxes - motorbikes, charity and Africa. I looked around the room and I saw an eclectic mix of people, every shape and size, “nice” people, “interesting” people, all with different stories and different experiences brought together to achieve a united goal. We were there to ride motorbikes, to do some good, we were united in adventure with a common purpose, we were adventurers experiencing Africa and the Wild Coast, we would create memories and friendships that will last forever. Our experiences over those two weeks would change our lives and the lives of others. There was certainly more that united us than divided us.
There were 95 riders on that ride, so many nationalities, teenagers to 80+ year olds, women, men, different cultures, different beliefs, different views, different experiences, people not working, millionaires, experienced bikers, inexperienced bikers who received their licence days before they arrived. It was not important if anyone could ride or not, we were all there, we were all together and we would all have amazing shared experiences. The most unlikely
friendships developed, there was a chance to mix with and get to know and understand people that we may not normally not have the opportunity to mingle with in our everyday lives. When I fell off my bike (as I often did), when I needed help, when I was tired or emotional – an adventurer was always there and would help.
Through adventure we can meet great people, visit amazing places, experience wonderful things, educate ourselves and others, understand cultures and witness global issues first hand.
Adventurers are a special family - membership is open and this family is never limited by genes.
Chris Wilson, Adventure Ashram Supporter