His name is Paul. That is how much he wants you to know about his identity. Back in the day, he was a public figure and yes, he has quite a story.
But what is he doing now? Well that’s something we couldn’t keep for ourselves.
At the age of 42 Paul found himself adrift in a sea of unfortunate events. His marriage had fallen apart, his father had passed away, … he saw his life gaining a completely different colour. As everything happened simultaneously – like a dark heavy and exploding wave – Paul had a stress-related stroke and became temporarily blind.
For a passionate photographer and a born motorcyclist, this experience put things into perspective.
“Luckily, it was temporary, and I eventually regained my eyesight. It gave me a new lease on life”, Paul says.
When Paul was in England to attend his father’s funeral, his mom showed him a book his great Aunt had written. It included their family tree – dating back to circa 1600. Although every woman in his family reached the age of ninety, not one single man had reached seventy-five. Talking about putting things into perspective…
Having found out his – most likely – with a doom date and on the edge of his mental stability, Paul took the advice of a close friend: you need to go for a log ride to clear your head. Simple as that!
That was eight years ago, and he is still on the road roaming the world…
A SIMPLE PLAN
When Paul left on March 18th, 2011, he really needed to get away, he had shipped a motorcycle in advance. He flew from England to Ushuaia (Argentina), and started to ride from the most southern point of the American continent to the most Northern, Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Upon accomplishing this mission he decided to ride to the most western point, and then to most eastern. And so on. But at one point he ran out of options. And then he rode nowhere… and everywhere.
His plan – if there ever was one – was simple: save up enough money to reach the age of 75, retire and ride around the globe as much as possible.
“I thought: ok, I know how much travelling costs, I know how old I am and I know pretty well when I will pass away. How much do I need? I did the math and I here I am. Off I went! If I get to 77 years-old though, I’m screwed!”, says Paul.
8,3 TIMES AROUND THE WORLD
From cardinal point to cardinal point, without any moment of doubt, Paul just keeps going.
After 8 years he has managed to ride around the world the equivalent of 8,3 times, although he goes at a slow pace and takes his time to immerse himself deeply in each country.
If you’re becoming a bit jealous by now, don’t!
Paul says: “Being out there for so long is not something that everybody likes”. He meets more people who are eager to finish their long travels and go back home than people who are truly enjoying being on the road for so many years. But even he needs to take breaks; it’s important to avoid the “brain overload”.
During his breaks he takes the time to change motorcycles and work on them until they properly qualify to the type of roads to which he’ll venture next. Now, this isn’t all that common among long travellers, but Paul once was a successful one-off custom motorcycle designer. As a matter of fact, this is the only thing he misses from “home”.
“Sometimes I miss building motorcycles and be creative. People ask me: why do you always change and adapt your motorcycle? I have to look at the motorcycle and feel happy to get on it. It needs to be attractive, it needs to motivate me to ride it. For some people it’s just a vehicle.”
HOW DOES THE WORLD LOOK LIKE AFTER RIDING IT FOR EIGHT YEARS?
In a short answer: “You need to get out and see it for yourself!” Paul says.
He gave up watching the news because he quickly realised reality had nothing to do with how media pictured it. The world is a good place and people are amazing everywhere.
“Everywhere you go, if you are open and friendly, people are open and friendly. I can’t think of one place where I thought people were very unfriendly. And the places where people have less, I have seen the most happiness! I lived in Kenya and I knew a lot of people who had literally nothing, but who were incredibly happy. In Cuba for example, they have nothing and no chance to gain possessions, but I had never met so many happy and friendly people in my life. That was a big lesson for me: to understand that life is not about possessions and that I just needed less. I like the freedom of having the least amount of stuff possible. Every time I change bike, I leave with less and less stuff.”
He also learned that moving is way cheaper than being based somewhere. So, regarding safety and expenses, those stopped being a worry for Paul eight years ago.
The beliefs we instinctively hold on to can be – and probably will be – dismantled by the simple action of stepping out of our comfort zone. But until we’re able do it ourselves, we are lucky enough to count on people like Paul to show us a bit of the raw beauty and surprising reality of the Planet Earth.
Paul has a hand full of stories and his experience makes his diaries a true treasure for like-minded souls.
At Motorcycle-Diaries, we’re glad to have him on board. You can now follow his journey right here, on our blog, with monthly updates.
Don’t miss out!