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    • Recently, I’ve had a chance to connect with Charley Boorman, co-star of the adventure motorcycling TV series Long Way Round and Long Way Down and shows like Race to Dakar and By Any Means, among others.

      I was always a fan of Charley as a motorcyclist and a traveler – but I never realized how much of a down to earth, thoughtful, and generous person he was. The first thing Charley asked me on a phone call to Namibia where he is right now, leading a tour, was “would it be better to Skype, this phone call might get pretty expensive?”. Only a real traveler would be considerate and kind enough to say something like that.

      So today, Charley and I are talking about what is the definition of adventure, why Mongolia is a dream destination for an unforgettable motorcycle trip and what’s Charley’s must-haves for a long
      journey.

      Charley, you’ve said before that there is no right or wrong way to go on an adventure.
      For you personally, what defines adventure?

      Images: @ignitionrojas


    • Adventure could be anything. Adventure can be going to a friend’s house on a farm in the countryside and getting a flat tire; your spare is flat, too, and someone stops and helps you, you somehow muddle it together… and there you are, it’s an adventure, it’s something you’ll remember.

      Recently, some friends I haven’t seen in a while and I went riding and kayaking in Le Havre area for a couple of days. That was an adventure.

      It can be anything, really.

      There’s just no right or wrong way to have an adventure. There’s a father and son team traveling Africa on motorcycles right now, with the wife and daughter in a jeep following them. All four of them are on a fantastic adventure!

      If you want to get your own bike and make your own panniers and do it on your own, that’s great. If you want to do it with a bunch of friends, or whichever way – it’s good.

    • I don’t know! I haven’t turned back yet. I don’t think there’s anything that would make me turn back.

      I mean there are moments when you sit there, and everything had gone wrong. I remember Ewan, Claudio and me in Mongolia and there was a time when it was becoming a nightmare. It’s such a big place, the roads are mostly dirt tracks, navigation is tricky – you’re never quite sure you’re on the right road. We got stuck in a lot of bad weather, super difficult, super slippery conditions. That was the only time when we came close - not to give up or turn back, but to bail and just go back to Russia. I remember someone saying, "whose fucking idea was this anyway!" – and then Ewan and I looked at each other with the realization that, well, it was ours.

      But eventually we just got on with it and carried on. I’m so happy we didn’t bail then. Mongolia was one of the real highlights of the trip, even though it was super hard.

      Claudio played a huge role in making that show. Most of the time, it was just Ewan, me and Claudio. We used maybe 80% of his footage in the show. And I guess, we just forgot he even had the camera, so it wasn’t really much of an added stress.

      Ewan, Claudio and I always tried to spend as much time on our own as possible, and then the support trucks would get all the nice shots we needed to make a great TV show. They’d come in whenever we needed extra cameras, like with the UNICEF kids. When we first met Igor, the Ukrainian guy with the guitar and the Kalashnikov, it was just us three. Normally, the support is a day behind. Because Igor made such a great story and it was so funny, we got the support team involved.

      But other than that, we’d only meet up every four or five days to give them all our raw footage tapes, so it was an interesting balance. If you decide to make a TV show then there are some things you have to accept.

    • In another interview, you’d mentioned that perhaps Ewan and you would do another long
      motorcycle trip once you became these two grumpy old men. Do you think you’re
      grumpy enough for a Long Way Up now?

    • Haha. Ewan said we should do it before we get too grumpy, though, and become like Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon from the  Odd Couple! With a bit of luck, we’ll do another one together soon. We’re just looking at the idea and trying to figure out if there’s an appetite for that from people and TV channels. South America would be a great place to go. With a little luck and the stars and moons aligning, perhaps it’ll become a reality.

    • I sure hope so! South America is a great place and it would be awesome to see you guys ride it.

      Why is traveling important to you?

    • Travel is the spice of life and I think everybody should go out of their environment at least once to see how the world is. For example, if you’ve always lived in Europe, always lived comfortably, you just don’t know that 60% of the world lives in poverty unless you go out and see it for yourself, what people and countries have to go through every day.

      The more you travel, the worldlier, the more accepting you become, and it’s super important.

    • Just one country to ride in the world… Mongolia. If you really wanted an adventure that was really out there, there aren’t many places like that left. I’d say, travel across Mongolia. It’s tough but it’s incredibly beautiful, with very generous, kind people always willing to help. It’s the real adventure, the real deal.

    • Duct tape and zip ties, a bit of wire, magic metal – good for BMWs and Rukka covers, a silk liner and a mobile phone. These days, the phones are incredible with Skype or WhatsApp, you can talk to home for free for as long as you want, t’s incredible, really, and you can take photos and videos and upload to social media – it’s great.

    • If you’re planning a long motorcycle journey, see what your expectations are: how far you need to go and how much time you have. Always plan for much less miles than you think you can do, that way you can enjoy the days without stressing about how far you need to get.
      It’s never about the destination, it’s about what happens along the way that’s really interesting.

    • The single most important lesson on the road is patience. I'm still working on it!

      But I guess with time, you do start looking at the world differently. You learn that it's OK to rely on others, and that most people in the world are good and willing to help. And help, it always comes along, one way or the other.

    • To all who wanted more: before we got into talking about bikes and travel, I asked Charley what would he do if his daughters came to him and said, "dad, we're riding round the world!"

      "I'd ask if I could come with", - Charley said.

      Here's a conversation about managing time on the road and family and raising adventurous kids:

    You've been invited!