When did you start your journey and what was your goal as far as timing goes?
Actually I was planning not that much. The main goal was just get to Australia. From Switzerland. Beginning 2014, in early March, from Bern, Switzerland to Australia. But I put it in steps. The main goal was just to reach the Balkan Sea in Siberia, Russia. So when I get there, I will flip a coin and see if there is any opportunity to continue or should I return, but I had this answer already in my mind. Because you spend a lot of time during a ride, thinking about… The goal was clear, jut get to Australia.
In what timeframe?
I got to Australia at the end of 2014, so it took me, like, 10 months.
Tell me about what you are carrying with you. And how do you carry it?
So, I’ve got pretty much everything. Al the camping equipment, spare parts, tools… And when I talk about camping equipment, like kitchen, stove, pots, everything. Tupperware I put my supplies in, rice, noodles. Most of the time you have just noodles and rice, because it’s easy to make and to carry for a long while. So what else? My camera, the charger. A laptop.
What about clothes?
Not that much (laughing). Because you wear your gear all the time, your riding gear. And then you have some clothes to change when you go out. Like short pants, long trousers, two shirts, three t-shirts, underwear, that’s it.
Tell me about the bike!
The bike. I bought this 1200 adventure bike from BMW. Brand new, almost, 4000 km on it. And I bought it for $18,000. I chose the bike because it has a big tank, you have a good range and a drive shaft, so you don’t have to take care of the chain, clean the chain everyday. And the boxer engine from Germany which in my opinion is the best. For long distance travel bikes, touring bikes, BMW was my idea.
What is a must have item that you have with you at all times?
Uhm…, Camera, to keep your memories. Uhm…, maps, GPS.
Yeah, paper maps and GPS, because you won’t trust your GPS all the time because sometimes in some places its difficult. When your map shows you a track, a road, a dirt road somewhere, cause you wanna do, you don’t wanna stay on a main road all the time, you wanna explore, you wanna do adventure. So you go off road. But then, for any reason, the road just disappears or crumbles off… so yeah you have to then figure out another shortcut. so then you just do the double check with your GPS and the maps at the same time.
Do you usually buy maps locally when you get somewhere, along the way?
Yea… so… Now we talk about 2016, it’s almost three years and I bought all the maps to go to Australia, which I carried with me all the time. Because some places you can’t find real maps. I am looking for small roads, they usually only have tourist maps and they just show you the main roads but I am looking for small, little roads. Also to find camp sites. And little creeks and lakes, okay, maybe there is a little, small, tiny road… so and I can do a loop around, I don’t have to go all the way back, I can continue. That was always my goal not go back on roads, you always wanna go forward.
What was your favorite or least favorite area to travel through?
I hear this question many times. And the first idea I have in my mind is Mongolia and Russia.
As the favorite or least favorite?
Least favorite? You talking about least favorite?
Okay, favorite: Central Asia including Russia and Mongolia. Least favorite: Other riders like it, but me, not at all. It was Indonesia.
Yep, South East Asia.
Hmm, what made Russia and Mongolia nice and the other one not so much?
It’s been exactly where you want to go. In the total open wideness. Just only you, the bike and enjoy the scenery and nothing else. That’s what you are looking for. And go just straight, you know, somewhere, just off-road, just little treks. And without seeing people for several days.
Was it difficult to get gas in that type of situation? Did you bring a canister?
Yeah, I carry a spare canister. And the bike can do about 600 kilometers. So plus a spare canister can give you about 700 kilometers, which is pretty good. But I ran out of fuel twice or three times in these countries.
Eww, and then what? Did you have to wait for somebody to come by and help?
You know, it’s so weird sometimes and then you get really used to it. Sometimes you feel like you might be an angel or ask yourself “Why does this happen to me?” On the good side and also the other. Because, I remember, when it happened in Mongolia, I checked my fuel, my distance. I was like, ok, I have to reach the next gas station in something like 50 kilometers. And I checked the GPS and the map and it showed a little village up the road so I said there might be a gas station but is it really for sure? Or is it really just the wrong information? An old mark on the map, put in years ago? That doesn’t exist anymore? So you double-check all the time. You go to the people, the locals and ask them. So, I saw these little yurts, huts, nomads, they are all nomads. And I went over and asked them “Hey, look at my map!” And they haven’t seen any maps so they just look at me like, what’s that? But, look! We are here! And I wanna go there! And they don’t speak English at all so you have to really say fuel, and you point to your tank. Fuel! Is there some fuel? And they, yeah… come in come in and I don’t mind you have to go right away and you sleep there and they offer you a delicious meal… You need to get used to it. It’s not like what we have in Europe or here in America. So… I had some horse Schnapps, alcohol, they drink a lot there.
Kinda like milk, it’s like horse milk but it has alcohol inside… so… disgusting. But I was exhausted after riding days and weeks and only off-road. So I got really tired and fell asleep and the lady she prepared a bed with tons of blankets, you know, she put blankets on top. So it was soft and comfortable. And then I awoke in the morning and I went out of the yurt and I saw three canisters next to my bike. I don’t know how he did it. He recognized what I was asking for and then I could definitely reach the next village.
Tell me about a particular lesson you have learned from undertaking this adventure.
A lesson, like, what do you mean?
Something that you took a way, like a life lesson or a wisdom that you feel you learned from this.
Just really always go with an open mind. And appreciate every single day. And think positive. Never think negative. Then you get really in stress. It’s gonna work out. In any situation you are in and you feel like you really fucked up and you ask yourself, many times: “What am I doing here? It doesn’t work out.” But obviously it does. So, just keep going, find the solution, make a double check. Think again and try again. Just never give up.
Anything that you absolutely did not expect?
Shipping. Shipping cost. Super expensive. And they screw you up because it’s not official for private using…
So you put it (the bike) in a container?
Yeah, a container. If you do it as a company it’s much easier. You know, because they fill up the container with anything. But just to find a little space in a container to share, to share a container with someone, and, you know, you have to involve companies to do that. But why should they do it? It’s extra work. So that is the worst part.
Tell me about a magical moment!
Magical… (laughs). Magical moment can be when you do a border crossing and all your paperwork gets done and you are allowed to enter a new country, that’s kind of exciting. And you feel like, yeah, okay, you made it, cool! Actually I call this border crossing a border day because of my experiences. It can take ages or days. For example, that’s a magic moment. And of course, when you meet people or a sweet girl and then you hang out and you do something different. For example in Indonesia when I was just kind of mind blown and tired and sick of all. So I just stopped and did also other touristy stuff and did scuba diving and hung out with other travelers and just doing something different. When you are tired of it, do something different!
You cut all ties when you left. You are also not in your early twenties anymore. Do you foresee a type of nomadic life in your future or would you like to settle? How do you feel about where you are in life at this point?
That is a very good question! Honestly, I don’t know yet. It’s really tricky. Aaand… It’s my second world trip. So, I did my first world trip as a backpacker and as a journeyman, a traveling carpenter and I did it for four years. Around the world. And then I went back home. And then I tried for another four years to be serious, to settle but it didn’t work out either. So I left again. Now we are talking about another three years. But now I feel like, yeah, I wanna settle. That’s enough traveling. I have done this more than ten years now. I need a place to be… just put my energy into creating something. Do something different. But it’s really, really tricky. Because you get used to… Because you are all the time by yourself. You can decide whatever you wanna do, you know? But it’s also kind of tricky because you always have the chance to escape. Or just run away, you know?
Nothing is tying you to anything.
Not at all. You are always the stranger, the traveler. And you can always choose places where you like to stay. When you don’t like it cold you go somewhere a little bit warmer and more comfortable, so it’s all up to you, but it’s not, it’s pretty tricky. If it’s all the time up to you you get really kind of… only you. And that makes life hard in society and find company or the real love. Maybe it happened already many times and I haven’t realized because I was always on a jump, had other things, my things in my head.
So you think that doing that is almost… because a lot of people will say “Oh, go travel and get that out of your system.” But by doing that you might actually ingrain it into your system to where then it is really in there and you can’t… It’s the opposite of what should happen.
That is the way of, you know, surfing… I call it surfing my life. And I hope there will be the next big wave which will throw me right on the shore and, you know, spit me out and here I am. And that’s what I wanna do here in America.
Any final wisdoms that you’d like to share?
Just be a good man. Try always to be a good man. Do at least one good thing everyday. Never give up. Live the struggle of your life and you will get what you deserve. Just really be positive, be a good man and find always the good solution for everyone. So everyone is happy and satisfied at the end. That’s the point.