The Long Way Round
I just finished watching a fascinating documentary that was filmed back in 2004, called “Long Way Round”. It features one of Britain’s most successful actors Ewan McGregor and his “mate” Charley Boorman as they take motorcycles literally around the world, heading from London, EAST through all of Europe, and then through all of Asia, including several weeks where roads don’t even exist, driving on Russia’s “Road of Bones” and even clear up through Siberia. Then after hopping a quick plane over to Alaska, they drive through Canada, to America and finish in New York City. Easy to say, but after nearly 4 months and over 20,000 miles on a motorcycle, it was nothing but easy.
This is not a review of the show. You don’t need that, and neither do I. But it is a reminder of the power of perseverance, and I could use one of those. You see, when old Ewan and Charley were thousands of miles deep in the wilderness of Mongolia, things were really bad for them. They were trying to drive BMW motorcycles over impossible marshes and through impassable rivers, rivers that giant trucks were getting swept away by. They were tired, they missed their wives and their children, they missed having dry clothes, and good food.
At one point, Ewan decided that it might be the wisest thing to head north, back into Russia, where at least a road of some kind existed. After all, things were extremely dangerous, and they still had thousands of miles of terrain that wasn’t improving. Indeed, doing this would ease their path, but essentially would mark as a failure, which would be regretful. But after consideration, he and Charley found a deeper sense of perseverance, one which fueled their hearts to push forward, one more day, one more mile, one more river, one more. They knew it would be worth it if they could just make it through.
Sometimes I have my own versions of Mongolia, and I can get to feeling like things would be better if I would just take an easier route. Why do I need to take this long way, why do I have to wait, why do I have to suffer through this? But as I continue to grow as a person, I cannot help but hear the obvious sound of satisfaction in the voices of those who persist. I can’t ignore the writing on the wall of those who did not give up, and continued forward in the face of madness. I am so grateful for what ‘hope’ is able to give us. Just when I think that hope has run out, I am always amazed on how it is able to be found a bit here, and a bit there, and always is just enough to get me through.
So while I’m not planning on riding a motorcycle around the world any time soon, I do plan on persevering. And while there is so much more for me to learn in this life, I do know that I’m starting to see: “Quicker isn’t always better, easier isn’t always happier, and somehow suffering leads us to joy”.