Epiphany on a bike
Two friends on a motorbike-riding world tour find new
meaning to life:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things
that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the
bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your
sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” The evocative words of Mark Twain,
comes to mind when talking with the two 21st century ‘Che Guevaras’ from
Switzerland and Italy, who gave up their comfort zones and threw off the
bowlines, just for the sake of ‘common’ thirst of exploring and
discovering the world.
(30), born in Geneva, Switzerland, and Steve (38), born in Italy, have
known each other, as they describe, forever. After living abroad for
several years, Max, who is the great grandson of Linus Pauling winner of
two Nobel prizes for chemistry and peace in 1954 and 1962, developed an
urge to explore the world and experience some adventure.
A ‘Trans-continental motorbike trip’ had been his dream for the past
two years. Initially he planned a solo trip from Zurich to Singapore and
after several months of research, when the idea became more and more
plausible, he began to worry about safety issues.
He was not sure whether he was up to the task of crossing several
countries, through mountain ranges and deserts on his own. Max
reluctantly gathered all his research and put it into a box, promising
himself that there’ll be a right time soon to realize his dream of
Meanwhile, Max’s forever friend, Steve was back in Geneva after his
Royal Endfield adventures in Northern India. Steve was thrilled about
Max’s adventure plan, and only wanted to join in, he was confident they
could do it together, and convinced Max to expand the trip beyond the
original plan. The dream of a world tour began to become real, palpable
shape and Max found his missing-half to fulfill the dream, which he
locked up in a box a few months earlier..
From the very next day the two friends began planning their
life-changing journey and this time they wanted to do more than just a
ride to Singapore. In fact they wanted to see everything!
and South America are the two continents Max and Steve love most, but
these were also the two continents they had least explored. The two
began seriously perusing the world map, trying to figure out the best
way to explore the world. They then decided they would ride to Asia and
fly to America. And presto, a World Tour was launched!
The revolutionary world tour of Max and Steve began six weeks ago, on
March 15, 2015 and in the next 12 months and a few days, they hope to
cover 42 countries. Their mode of transport is the motor bike, again the
same method used by the revolutionary Che and his friend Alberto.
However, this time ‘the mighty one’ that they have chosen is the BMW GS.
They say these bikes were an obvious choice because of the BMW’s
history of bringing riders safely around the world for 35 years and the
brand’s unbeatable worldwide service. As Max is crazy about motor bikes
and knows every bit of motor bikes, this is the ideal vehicle for them.
12 countries and counting
So far they have travelled across 12 countries starting from
Switzerland and riding across to France, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia,
Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan
before moving on to Sri Lanka.
Although Sri Lanka was not in their initial plan, Max’s father who is
a regular visitor to Sri Lanka, convinced the two friends to make a
detour and slot in Sri Lanka into their travel plans, extending their
journey by a few days.
When this writer met the two friends, they had just about wrapped up
their Sri Lankan visit and were planning the next segment of their
journey - to India.
Watching the two friends relaxing the question that comes to mind is
from where did they get the inspiration to travel around the world?
Although it was their childhood dream to explore the world, it was a
drawing found by Max’s mother in the basement of the family home where
most of Max’s childhood memorabilia was being kept, that reawakened the
“It was an amazing drawing by Max when he was only six or seven years
old and it was the earth and a motor bike! Actually travelling in a bike
is Max’s idea, which I thought was a limitation at the initial stage of
However, so far it is a really great experience,” says Steve, while
Max believes they could experience more of the evolution of transition
from their home town and the regular lifestyle into different lifestyles
because of their mode of transport.
A cultural experience
“By travelling in motorbikes we could expose ourselves to the gradual
changes of weather, and the different languages, cultures and
traditional practices, which I don’t think we could experience by
travelling in any other form of transportation,” he elaborates. Talking
about the difficulties they’ve been going through so far, the travelling
twosome agrees that changes in weather patterns are the most important
factor they pay attention to. “It is a nightmare to imagine travelling
in a motor bike in bad weather conditions. So when deciding the route we
consciously avoided the winter time in Europe,” Steve said.
the mesmerizing experience they’ve been going through so far, they admit
that Greece is one of the places that gave them unforgettable memories.
“We had an amazing time while travelling through Greece,” they say
claiming that Greece had experienced one of the worst winters this year
and though it was wet and cold, they had fond memories of riding through
Loannina to Volos, Chalkida and Athens.
“On our ride from Loannina to Volos we rode through the Pindus
mountain range in the clouds and escaped to the other side right next to
the most magical and mystical places we have ever been.
Funny and memorable
The clouds were engulfing the scenery. All we could do was try and
follow the road signs to hopefully climb above them. However, stopping
at one of the view points and gazing into the white nothingness, all of
sudden a mystical monastery appeared through a small opening. Being
there with that kind of weather made it memorable,” says Max,
elaborating that they had a similar experience riding down the Island of
Evia, while travelling through a forest, but finally seeing the sun
instead of the monasteries. Their journey is filled with many
adventures, funny and memorable. Both Max and Steve reflect on the many,
many times they took wrong turns and ended up in some of the most
As Steve explains, this is a life changing journey where he has been
learning to live in the present moment and accept whatever happens in
the middle of the journey with an open mind. “This I would call road
surfing. It is like giving yourself to the right wave to bring you where
you have to go,” he says, admitting that it is terribly painful at the
beginning to let go of things.
“After living a highly secured life, where you know what is going to
happen the very next moment, suddenly having to change it into something
that you don’t know and just wait without controlling your life is not
easy at all. However, as far as I have realized, that is the ultimate
salvation in life and that’s why we continue this self-funded journey.
Because this is a lifechanging travel for both of us,” he adds.