The Long Riders' Guild

The Perils of Tech

Chris MacLuckie



Editor’s note - The horse isn’t merely taking you towards a distant geographic goal. He is moving you at the same time away from the daily drama of world events. The journey allows you to leave behind the distracting chatter of others and turn off the noise of modern life. Your duty to others is conditional. That is why you should not let the allure of social networks intrude upon the essence of your spiritual journey. As Swiss Long Rider Basha O’Reilly warned, “Technology should be our ally, not our ruler. You can’t explore your soul if you’re obsessed with posting on Facebook.”

My name is Chris MacLuckie. I just completed a ride from Canada to Guatemala.

I rode my 13 month solo long ride according to 3 principles:

Roxy first
Then me
Then the parties and social time.

All in all we were largely successful. Yet, pretty much every bad thing that happened to me or Roxy was because I wasn't focused on either one of us.

I have a pretty good ability to focus, yet even I get lapses. During the journey, it was up to me to resist people that I met in person and online when their interests didn't match up with Roxy's or mine. This took a lot of energy. I lost a lot of "friends" because of this.

When I became friends with people online, or online after I met them in person, 80% of them wanted to know only one thing:

“Where are you”?

Never "how are you”?

And hardly ever, “How is Roxy”?

Just “Where are you”?

Before entering Mexico I decided that I wasn't going to let people know where I was at any point. I said it was for security reasons (which it was), but it was also to give me breathing room.

One difference I noticed between the States and Mexico was that in the USA, if people wanted a picture of me, they would do it any way they wanted; blocking traffic, stopping in traffic, not even talking to me or acknowledging me. This was a daily thing. In contrast, in Mexico most people would politely wait in front of me parked to the side and get out and chat with me and then ask for a photo.

Wherever I was, if someone wanted to talk to me and they were putting myself, Roxy or themselves in danger, I would either explain that it's not a safe place to chat, or depending on my mood, I would ignore them and ride on, or stop, turn around and wait for them to drive away. It was a battle convincing people that our safety was more important than their entertainment.

Here are some examples of bad things that happened when I wasn't focussed...

1 Kick in my leg from another horse when I was letting my picture be taken.

2 Losing a hoof boot when listening to music on my phone.

3 Subclinical laminitis on Roxy in Oaxaca/ Chiapas when I was preoccupied with finishing my ESL course.

4 Border bullshit crossing into Guatemala because I assumed my "friends" had my back but I ended up not getting the facts straight.

5 Bad accident to Roxy in the goat paths of Guatemala, because I was so close to the finish I was too relaxed.

Just because I was serious on the road doesn't mean I'm against social media. For the most part I like it, and I use it frequently.

On my next trip I will use it much more effectively, but I will also be riding quite a bit less per day and month. That's because something has to give. You can't fit everything in a day and expect to never have bad things happen.

Each would be Long Rider has to decide for themselves what their priorities are; mileage, horse, quality of life, sharing information and stories with your hosts versus online activities, etc.

I would seriously hope that everyone chooses the horse first and lets the other goals fall in place afterwards.