Follow Us

Discovering Myself on the Road: A Journey from Belfast to Argentina

Every good story has a bit of a disaster to it, and Chris Donaldson’s started off pretty quickly as a disaster. When he was 21, he decided to embark on an adventurous journey. Growing up in Belfast during the seventies, Chris experienced a lot of turmoil. Bombs were going off, bullets were flying, and the environment was chaotic. This fueled his desire to escape and explore the world. By the time he was 15 or 16, he had already decided he wanted to get out of Belfast and go to Australia. For some reason, Chris chose to do it on a motorcycle.

In 1979, Chris set off on his journey. However, his plans quickly went awry. In November of 1979, the American Embassy in Tehran was overtaken, and the Islamic Revolution kicked off. This unexpected event disrupted his journey to Australia, but he was determined not to return home so soon. Chris had told his friends he’d be back in two years, so he couldn’t just show up in two weeks.

Instead of heading directly to Australia, Chris ended up driving through Africa to Cape Town. From there, he joined a yacht race back to Europe, flew his bike to the States, traveled up to Canada, and then made his way down through Central and South America, eventually reaching Argentina a year and a half later. Thus, the story of his journey became one of “going the wrong way”—Chris set out for Australia and ended up in Argentina.

Lessons Learned on the Road

This extensive trip taught Chris a lot about himself. Traveling alone forces you to be self-reliant and resilient. There’s no one else to fall back on when you’re on your own, and this journey certainly tested its limits. One of the biggest challenges was managing his finances. Chris had saved money from working summers and evenings, but that was meant for a three or four-month trip to Australia, not a year and a half on the road. Chris had to stretch every penny, especially in parts of Africa where living cheaply often meant living very roughly.

Returning Home and Reintegrating

When Chris finally returned home in 1981, he was broke, suffering from hepatitis, and his motorcycle was in bits. Everything Chris had aimed for—reaching Australia—hadn’t happened. He was back in Northern Ireland, still amidst the troubles, and feeling quite depressed. After being on the road for so long, where every day was an adventure and a challenge, adjusting to a normal, civilized life was tough.

To cope, Chris started writing. He had kept a journal during his travels, and he began to turn those notes into a manuscript. Chris learned about another traveler, Ted Simon, who had made a similar journey and published a book. At first, he thought there was no point in writing his own book, but he eventually realized that their experiences were quite different. Ted was a seasoned journalist in his forties, while Chris was a 21-year-old on a much more shoestring budget. Their perspectives and experiences, though on similar routes, were vastly different.

The Journey of Writing

Four years ago, Chris finally revisited his manuscript and decided to write the book. To his surprise, it became quite successful, even reaching best-seller status on Amazon and receiving numerous five-star reviews. Meeting Ted Simon and sharing their stories over a few glasses of wine was a highlight. Reflecting on his younger self’s adventures and comparing them to his current self at 62 was a unique experience.

A Second Attempt: Australia, at Last

After the success of his book, a friend suggested he try to complete his original journey to Australia. This idea took hold, and Chris decided to do it on the same motorcycle for continuity. Three years ago, Chris set off again, this time planning to do the journey in legs, balancing family and business responsibilities. His companion, Liam, eventually decided it was too risky, so Chris continued alone.

Traveling solo has its advantages. When you’re alone, people are more inclined to approach you, and you’re more open to engaging with them. This was true on his first trip and even more so on his second. People Chris met were often the friendliest and most generous, especially those with the least to give.

The Importance of Pushing Boundaries

Now in his mid-sixties, with some health challenges like early signs of Parkinson’s, Chris finds it crucial to keep pushing himself. Your brain is like a muscle—if you don’t use it, you lose it. This journey showed Chris that age doesn’t have to limit your spirit of adventure. Whether it’s riding a motorcycle across the world or simply taking on new challenges, it’s important to keep moving forward.

Through these travels, Chris learned that every disaster can turn into a valuable lesson, and every wrong turn can lead to an unforgettable adventure.

What did you think of the show?

  • Subscribe to our YouTube channel to get notifications when new videos are available!
  • Leave a comment below and let me know what you struggle with and which tip or show made a difference for you.
  • Share this post with others so they can get the inside scoop on “Discovering Myself  On The Road: A Journey From Belfast to Argentina.Simply click the social media sharing buttons below to impact some lives now!!

Have a topic you’d like me to share tips about? Click here and let me know. I’d love to hear from you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *