George Street where I worked in different pubs
When my visa for Scotland was denied, although still possible to acquire, I decided to travel instead. My heart was set on adventure. I had thought about buying a motorcycle before, but not traveling with it. So at one point and in a split second the idea hit me. It would be an amazing adventure to get a bike and circle the world with it. At the same time my friend Gabriel from Quebec, who I met at the hostel, was about to leave for Asia and Australia. So we got on the idea that we would meet up somewhere, probably in Thailand. At first the idea was to work like crazy to raise the needed money, then jump on it and ride non-stop to Thailand, stay there for several days or weeks, and then ride to Australia, where I could work again. It wasn't a bad idea, the trip could have been done since most of the countries I would have ridden through wouldn't be expensive. I first thought I could raise that needed money in four months. This all happened shortly after my visa had been denied. Now a problem was the current visa I had was a student visa, and good for only part-time work. So I had to return to Canada for almost two weeks to get a working holiday visa, which would allow me to work full-time, and good for 2 years. It would never occur to me until some years later that I now had a visa I could have used to fly in Scotland. That's how much I had zeroed in on my developing trip. I was back in Oxford by the end of May. By that time after careful research I had decided to take 8-9 months to raise the needed money, and canceled the idea of meeting my friend somewhere. Why rush. I had an opportunity to travel and work around Europe. So I set out to find full time work.
Field trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon with English students
I had a goofy time with jobs in England. When I returned from Canada in May it was crucial that I find full time work right away. Not only did I lose some time when I got back by not looking quickly enough but when I did start working I ran into all sorts of bad jobs and bad luck. By the time I would leave England I had worked as a hostel cleaner, bartender in four bars and clubs, construction worker and as an English teacher. There were pay and other issues that made it frustrating at times but fortunately there were some that turned out good. These job inconsistencies affected this trip to the point that I could never raise that needed money to go somewhere else. However things eventually improved and began to get back on track. At one point I was doing fairly well teaching English as a second language to foreign students during the day and bartending at night and weekends. The best work I had was working in construction for ITS. Up to 70 hours a week, construction during the day and bartending at night. It was tiring but money was coming in.
I had wanted to buy a motorcycle before, and came very close a year before while living in Toronto, Canada. But it wouldn't happen until I was in Oxford. In Toronto I had reserved a Honda CBR 600 sportbike but ended up canceling it when I moved to Montreal due to work, and then Vancouver. But now I had to research which was the best for the job, within budget. I started looking through buying guides, books, the internet, I called and asked people. This went on for a few weeks. I was looking for something with a kick. As I mentioned before doing this journey on this type of bike is nuts in the first place, but I like sportbikes! So after some time I focused on two models, the Honda CBR 600 and the Kawasaki ZX-6R. Both are track bikes but are also good for the road.
I started looking around and searching for used models, through specialized newspapers like motorcycle news who had a large section of bikes for sale, and bike trader. There were lots of good bikes in there. But one day at a dealer I was pointed at a gray and black 1997 Kawasaki ZZR600. It's like in one of those love movies where the woman and guy run towards each other, except this time it was a motorcycle. Maybe not, but I did get hooked to it right away. I knew of this model but hadn't really looked into it. It's the same bike as the ZX-6R but just bigger and more comfortable, thus loosing a little performance for comfort. I'll remember sitting on it, that was it, that's what I needed. It's got an attitude, it looks good, but it's also comfortable. So shortly after I had a deposit on it. I bargained on the price and we started the paperwork for financing, but like I expected it was later refused because I was a foreigner temporarily in the country. Then for some really stupid reason I never bargained again for the price and bought it outright. The bike was a great buy, but I should have bargained. The tires were done and a service was due on it, it had 6000 miles. DOH!! I'd pay for that later. But it's really a great bike and I'll keep it for life.
My Kawasaki ZZR600 Ninja on George Street, Oxford