At some point Brendan Leonard interviewed Matt, asking why for so many years he took a month off his job as a maitre’d in North Carolina to come out West and ride his bike an insane number of miles. “Have you heard of The Grand Tour?” he asked Brendan.
The Grand Tour was a tradition, almost a rite of passage for young European men in the 1600’s - 1800’s where the men would travel and experience culture far from home. The tradition seems to still have good standing among many contemporary Europeans - just stay a few weeks in the hostels of almost any country in the world and you will find a vagabonding circuit of young Europeans traveling for extended periods of time. But is anybody in the U.S. taking a Grand Tour anymore?
Or is everybody doing what they ‘should’ do: going to college, getting a job soon afterward, climbing the corporate ladder, getting a dog, having a family, buying a house, working to put kids through college and get a bigger house with a yard, pushing off retirement for just a few more years to make a bit more money, finally retiring and getting cancer a year into retirement?
Life moves at a slower pace on a Grand Tour. Matt says you don’t really hit your stride with that slower pace until day three of a trip, which explains why trying to cram a whole bunch of fun into two- or three-day weekends sometimes feels more draining than fulfilling. The Grand Tour fixes that, it gives us a second to take a deep breath and look around. It gives us a chance to look inward and ask ‘What’s my story?’ It just may give us a chance to uncover our story. It certainly did for Matt Lee. Just read Brendan’s The New American Road Trip Mixtape to find out if he ever found his story.
Everybody needs a Grand Tour, Matt said. What will yours be?