Around The World In 45 Minutes

Uploaded by The314559 on 18.03.2011

Last year I went
around the world in six months and I'll try to tell you about it in forty five minutes
This is the first bicycle I asked my father to buy me...
he did not because we lived in a...
crowded city in the capital of Turkey.
And that's where my accent comes from.
I was around seven years old back then.
At around twelve
I sent one of my
short stories to a
magazine and they gave me this bicycle!
so um...
I modified it and loaded it up
to make long journeys
and as a teenager I went
around the country
and and some those trips
took weeks.
And I was doing that solo as well...
When i had a little bit of money
I decided to buy this
but uh...
my parents didn't think it was a good idea,
they say instead, i'll do better
on a computer.
So i listened to them and uh...
became a graphic designer.
And uh...
At age twenty seven
i got my first motorcycle which was a Ducati
and I started doing long journeys on that one too.
Found out it wasn't the right bike,
got this one.
(V-Strom riders there...)
and of course modified it
to carry some luggage
and uh... took a 10 day trip to Baja, Mexico and loved it.
I think it was on the fourth day or something like that i said
i'm gonna do a
RTW trip with it.
So it took me basically twenty years
until i got my complete freedom
on two wheels.
From age seven to twenty seven
This was the route I took
This is my entrance back into the garage of my apartment
and my wife was recording me.
so as i cross that line in front of the garage,
i will be completing the entire journey!
That's the line!
Bad timing!
I've put together some photographs.
you know, we all like motorcycle photographs and we like it even better when there is an
exotic location in the background.
I'm still gonna show you some photographs but
not spend too much time on them.
I selected about 18 and made sure there is a bike in them
It almost feels like
motorcycles have become
the object of desire
the object of adventure maybe...
- ... - Say again? - Bike porn! - Yes, exactly.
This is a boring one...
This is a more interesting location but you can't see the bike
so it doesn't really count...
This is a better composition and
[Audience laughing]
But the bike is still not big enough!
Getting there...
And that's more like it!
There is a nice lens distortion there...
... and I'll point out the HU logo there. That's a bonus if you didn't know...
Dramatic clouds are always nice!
Some habitation under those clouds...
Foreign alphabets are always good. Foreign letters, road signs...
I'm putting the benchmark quite high with this one
because the bigger is better.
- Was there a question? - What does it say?
It says Bysk. It's a town...
One of the last ones before Mongolia, in Russia.
Animals are always good! [Audience laughing]
Actually dead animals are sometimes even better!
They make the journey look rough, you know...
But I'm gonna point out that soda can in the mouth.
i didn't put it there...
Washboards have a similar effect too.
But only bikers get it.
Locals in contrast with the bike is nice!
Actually you get better points if you have...
Masai women or errr...
- Buddhist monks? - Yeah!
But Mongol boys will do too...
Police are cool! If you can photograph them...
and this one is especially good because
I gave him the camera and I was holding his radar gun! Speed gun.
I didn't get a ticket with that one.
Fallen bikes are good opportunities.
it gives you a good reason to
hang around a little more before you do the difficult job of lifting it
And they also look...
better from that angle.
You might be tempted to focus in the background, but you have to keep the bike in there at all times...
[Audience laughing]
It doesn't matter if you don't have background. This one is over-exposed but it still looks like...
you are traveling to infinity.
This one is just about there. It's the last one I'll be showing you.
- What are they grazing there?
- There was grass there!
It's not visible but there is a little bit of grass.
- Where is that? - This is in Mongolia.
What i really want to do today is talk to you about um...
what's significant
about overland traveling,
and uh... also after that,
a few things i've learned in
six-months. A few things I'll remember...
Now this is a painting by...
Caspar David Friedrich
It's called 'Wanderer above the Sea of Fog'
When I tell my neighbors
that I went around the world on a motorcycle, I think they have a similar picture in their minds.
the kind of adventure they read in books or...
watch in movies.
but um...
then i tell them about the border crossings, and cheap hotels,
and gas stations and
all of those stuff most of you are familiar with...
uh... I can see that
they are quite
disappointed you know.
The reality was,
I spent about
almost two months maybe even more on that
waiting for...
spare parts,
in small towns
This here is a...
mock video I made.
I made it look like a...
TV Programme
I made it in Chita,
waiting for a rear suspension.
"Welcome to another episode of
This is Chita, one of the many forgotten cities in southern Siberia. This is Hotel tourist and we are in room...
The architecture features the classical Russian...
dark long corridor theme...
but adds a unique touch to it by displaying...
old sun-burnt advertising on the facade...
Despite the promising name, the staff does not speak any English.
Nevertheless they speak 'Loud Russian' which is believed to be easier to understand!
Among the staff is an extremely friendly doorman. So friendly indeed, he insists on walking you to the nearby market...
because you may be the victim of a violent crime!
Location is ideal if you want to socialize with drunk men walking out of the bar next door.
The rooms are decorated with what may be called the 'Babushka Sensitivity'.
Elaborate kitsch patterns are used abundantly on every possible piece, to conceal dirt and mishaps...
caused by previous visitors.
The bed covers suit well with curtains...
particularly because they are made of the same fabric.
Room 326, faces southwest, towards the less than desirable view of the city.
A double-layer window frame that hasn't been opened since Perestroika keeps the heat inside!
That must be the heat generated by the three bulbs handing from the ceiling,
because the heater is used only as a means of decoration!
There is a TV set with two separate Russian channels in case you get bored of one or the other.
Remote switch-off is conveniently located near the bed. [Audience laughing]
The large cement block is designed to accommodate cooking,
in case you travel eight your camping stove. Like I do...
All and all, this is a perfect place to stay if you want to spend less than six hundred Rubles,
which is the equivalent of seventeen dollars per day.
Until we meet again in another episode of
THE CHEAPEST ROOM IN THE TOWN Have a great day! And make sure you keep on traveling! [Audience laughing and applauding]
Thank you!
I want start by talking about
what overland circumnavigation is NOT. A little bit of demystification.
First of all,
You are not seeing all the wonders of the world!
You are basically drawing a line around it. In some cases it's a very long line but this would be probably
the shortest route:
involving only...
seven countries. U.S.A, U.K., Belgium,
Germany, Polland, Ukraine And Russia.
I think Central America,
with probably just as many countries, can probably provide,
a much more colorful experience.
It's not necessarily the...
best education you'll get!
Compared to what you'd learn in six months of surfing Wikipedia,
or reading classical literature.
And it's not a great achievement anymore! It's been done lots of times before since
the sixteenth century when Magellan did it first.
I found a picture of Magellan,
which looks like Grant actually! [Audience laughing]
You may ask: Is it even an adventure?
Not necessarily if you plan it too good. There is a very fine balance there.
There is all the...
possible travel insurance options you can get,
credit cards, medical evacuation, GPS receivers,
internet is spreading all around the world,
uh... cell phones and,
if you don't have reception, satellite phones,
or uhh...
satellite transmitters,
and that last picture is of very advance mapping technologies.
I'm amazed by Google.
um... they have
actually included the Dalton Highway,
Street View!
The entire length of Dalton Highway is there.
You can just click, click, click...
and watch the entire length.
So i think it's only going to get more and more um...
You may ask:
"Why go?" I mean of course,
travelling is very nice and uh...
it's a great experience and such but...
even more precisely for us... Why go overland?
I got asked that question quite a few times.
Before the trip,
during it and after it.
My wife asked me...
I told her that i would be a
"reconnecting" with the world.
and uh...
my boss asked me
and I convinced him that it was a very good idea to take a sabbatical leave...
for six months uh...
during the economical recession!
and uh...
people I met asked me
why I was doing what I was doing...
and uh... I told them that I was there to meet them.
Some of them are convinced, some not...
The only person I missed was actually myself!
because I never took this question seriously and...
didn't answer it before the trip.
All I knew was that I wanted to go faraway on my motorcycle,
and uh... that far-away was probably somewhere around Mongolia...
which happened to be at the other end of the world,
nobody at the time wanted to come with me,
ergo, solo RTW, around the world.
But I realised,
that this "Why go?" question is actually a tricky one.
It''s not really valid...
Because moving is the natural state of life.
Everything moves.
Even plants do.
We as humans have been around for 200K years...
and have stopped moving, settled down, only for the last 10K years.
We are being an exception by...
staying where we are.
And we're probably missing something!
so uh...
we supposedly live in a...
global village,
in the age of communication.
Everything is out there if you want to find out.
We just need to type it and
it will return bunch of results.
We can even watch videos of them.
Like Google Earth,
we can even
virtually gore there.
But I wonder,
if everything is really out there on the web,
on the web of communication.
And if it is, do we really care to make it a part of our lives?
Do we know how to?...
I made a little research about
the most common keywords
entered on YouTube.
The first one is quite silly...
You are on YouTube but you type "video"!
The second one is "sexy"!
and the third one; probably because the other one doesn't return any good results; is "sex"!
Fourth one is "music"...
Fifth is "rock", "rap" and "funny"...
Here is 30 mins of news coverage broken down...
in the U.S.
uh... 15 minutes of it is...
news as we know it.
9 minutes of advertisement.
Weather and sports is five minutes.
And only one minute is international news.
If you look at YouTube uploads by geography, thinking where the videos are coming from,
that's 40% North America,
20% Europe,
5% is Phillipines, I don't know why, don't ask me...
3% is Brazil,
and 3% Australia,
and the rest...
thirty percent is shared by all the other 180 countries,
which gives you a 0.1!
Out of 1000 videos,
coming up with a video
uploaded from...
is probably like one in a 1000 chance.
That's not very surprising because if you look at internet access,
1.9 Billion people have access to it,
and this much,
that's 4.9 Billion
but there's 5.2 Billion
people living with electricity
but 1.6
live in darkness. That means
they either run on car batteries,
or live in darkness.
If you look at the distribution of wealth...
If you imagine the world is only one hundred people...
the upper 20
and the middle 60...
and the lower 20...
The poorest twenty people,
share only one percent of the wealth!
and the rich share seventy five percent of the wealth.
and the middle 60
is 24%.
Almost one billion people
in the world make less than one dollar a day.
In order to include half of the population there,
you only need to go up to $2.50.
So half of all the population is making $2.50 a day.
And that's probably where we are.
So i mean there's a lot more of these statistics.
This is one of the
websites I got them from.
To sum it up, I think,
what we are doing,
what everyone in this room is doing is significant
not because of the distances we make on our motorcycles,
but because of the growing distance between people!
Overland traveling includes
the best and the worst,
like statistics do... But also more importantly, everything in between those two.
When you travel overland,
you witness everything.
This goes not only for people but also for
and everything else.
We experience on our vehicles,
-or by bicycling or walking-
an unmediated diversity of things,
not preselected or filtered by anything or anyone else.
Every traveller is a moving point in an infinite combination of time and space.
Every journey is a sample
taken from the rich pool of life.
This is really almost scientific for me.
Every one of us goes out there,
and lives something
and we bring it back and share it with each other.
I think that's a very valid,
and important...
source of information.
I want to quickly...
go through...
nine things I'll remember
after this trip.
The first thing is that,
the world is round. [Laughing]
At least mine was.
Because, uh...
when I came back,
I found out that...
I arrived at the same spot
I wasn't expecting anything to change in six months. It's not a very long time
compared to some of the other trips.
at least I was hoping to,
answers some of the questions I had in my mind,
about my life back home.
That didn't happen.
I think around,
two hundred miles shy of Khabarovsk,
I said "Oh my God, I still have those questions in my mind!" [Laughing]
So, traveling is about itself really.
It's not about your life...
back home or...
uh... it's not about
those questions.
Travel has its own questions and challenges,
you're too busy traveling, to answer the ones back home.
traveling can make you feel out of place.
I'll call this Gulliver Syndrome.
Because on one extreme,
in the cities
if you go there with
all your camping equipment and 'adventure' bike
and uh...
without any previous arrangements,
even though...
you are surrounded by all the extravagant luxuries...
it's very hard to find the most basic needs.
In order to just go to the restroom, you may have to park in a six story...
...parking lot.
I thought at some point,
it was difficult to
discern between...
being a traveler and being homeless.
I included this video of Chaplin because I think,
it really nicely portrays that
fueling of being out of place.
On the other extreme,
in some of the places you visit,
the standards of living are so low,
that you're enjoying
higher ones on your bike.
Like they are trying to cook with animal dung and you have your double-layer titanium stuff
gasoline stove.
It feels like in a way...
you're always welcome in those places but...
Somehow, i felt the need to justify
why I was doing,
what I was doing.
It felt like,
it would be much easier if i said
that I was uh...
making a movie or,
doing a research or,
raising funds and something to somehow externalize my motivation.
But I was just there to ride my bike and
thought that was a good enough reason. However...
having a blog helped a lot.
to make my motivation and
my feelings much more accessible
at least to my loved ones.
And i think it's very important that
we share our experiences, like i said before.
I was gonna say people "are" good...
but people are "inclined" to be good.
maybe i was
too lucky or just plain naive but,
I didn't meet anyone bad.
A few people came close to being offensive or uh...
but nothing serious happened.
I believe people...
behave according to how they are perceived by others around them.
it's almost like...
you have your parts in a play.
If you approach people in a certain way,
chances are you'll never have to defend yourself and you'll always be received well.
I think bad stories probably travel more than the people who tell them.
In most cases
the level of hospitality was
enough to put me in shame!
and people are extremely welcoming and,
they did things to help me
without expecting anything in return.
It was even a bad idea to...
suggest a return.
You receive this unconditional acceptance,
which makes you...
It changes you from within!
When you lose
your language...
I don't know if this happens to you but,
i got asked so many questions about
my bike, how fast it goes,
where I'm coming from, what I do...
It somehow becomes vey boring to try to explain yourself...
so i liked
losing the language. I was just released to being an observer.
people stopped talking to me but,
I gained something more valuable... Perception!
I started watching people trying to understand their motivations trying to understand how...
they are acting.
"There is something we are missing!"
That's the fifth thing.
When we are free to choose what we want
we tend to create a world occupied with our preferences,
our desires...
And somehow our environment becomes a reflection of our selves.
In some of the developed countries,
I spent days
without talking to anybody except cashiers, receptionists and uh...
But on some of the poorer places,
it's almost like people are looking forward for the opportunity to...
be exposed to something foreign.
and uh...
Interestingly, some of those countries are also
governed by very authoritarian regimes
and uh... there are some regulations.
I think...
China not allowing
vehicles, is part of this.
And also Uzbekistan requiring registrations for each
night you stay
in a hotel.
And uh... also
Russia used to that and they are still doing it but it's not very serious.
I think those regulations are in place because,
the governments are trying to keep people
away from foreigners.
They are trying to avoid 'homesteads' and things like that.
If you're a tourist,
you should act like a tourist!
But I found that
it was definitely worth it,
to miss...
a few registrations
and uh... stay with people.
There should be a healthy balance between
comfort and uh...
exposure to external elements. I think that's...
what most of us are missing...
under the name of development!
It's great to be free to choose what you want...
but sometimes it's wrong to assume you know what it is.
Exceptions are precious.
Things are usually the way they appear to be.
And shallow defensive approaches will usually prevail.
But if you miss out the exceptions, you miss out the really valuable stuff.
On my first night in Kyrgyzstan,
I camped by a lakeside.
There wasn't really anybody around.
Later that night, I was visited by five drunk
young Kyrgyz guys.
They didn't really want to leave
without causing some trouble.
A poor family was living nearby.
There was no husband, I thought,
he was probably dead,
or maybe away.
The wife
she was alone with an older man.
She noticed that there was a discussion going on and she came out. That was very brave of her.
And then,
she started arguing with them and defending me against those guys.
There are some...
common words between Kyrgyz language and Turkish. And I was trying to understand what they were talking about.
as far as i could tell.
she told them that
I was a "Konuk"
and uh... the guy was saying"
"He is not Kyrgyz, he has to pay us money!"
Then she said something more interesting. She said:
"You are also a 'Konuk'!" Konuk means guest!
She brought something very important in her traditional understanding of...
how guests should be treated.
i think from understanding,
her wisdom was putting
humanity above nationality.
If you look back on the events that happened this summer.
against the...
ethnic Uzbeks living in Kyrgyzstan,
I think her logic was what was missing in the picture.
and by just looking at
the image of Kyrgyzstan now...
i would feel that,
it's dangerous to go there!
But that would be wrong because there are people like her in Kyrgyzstan...
that's great to meet with!
Distance is an illusion.
Both literally,
and also there is this uh...
-probably most of us have felt this-
There's an uncanny feeling
that comes from the knowledge of being thousands of miles away from your home
and anything familiar to you.
It doesn't really bother you if you don't entertain the idea in your mind.
But occasionally there would be something that...
haunts you.
Atfirst i thought it was fear!
But found out it wasn't as depressing. I was actually enjoying a part of it.
Because I felt that something inside me was resonating with something larger outside,
and it made me feel alive.
I started liking being...
out in the wild,
camping in deserts...
...staying in strangers homes,
knocking on someones door...
in the middle of the night because it was the only home around,
and spending the night with them.
Because I
realized that i was...
feeling at home wherever I went.
and i was kind of making
the whole world my home!
That was a
really good feeling.
The feeling of distance was soon replaced by the feeling of belonging.
There is this...
feeling of acceptance that gives me energy.
That;s what I realized.
The earth, the nature
and the people
they are all very welcoming and they will accept you. -Yes.
-...go ahead? -Yes! [Lauging]
maybe I should say overlanders,
because traveling...
might be a little different than overlonding,
we are there to make sure that
this feeling is not forgotten.
This was said by a guy I met in...
Samarkand I think.
Hosting travellers is the best way to travel when you're home
i think it's really wise to say that because
travelers are almost like a,
migratory species of animal you know...
During my trip,
even though i left
alone. And I intended to...
do it solo,
I met hundred of people
walking, on bicycles,
on motorcycles,
on anything...
The motivation to go is
always there and the medium is not important.
They somehow understand each other. We all know this feeling because
we've all done similar things.
It's amazing to me how people help each other just because of that common motivation.
I've seen people take care of each other when they were sick,
giving each of the money,
sharing information...
The web helps in that sense a lot.
I even travelled with
a girl who was riding
her bicycle through Kazakhstan for three days.
Imagine riding a motorcycle
and a bicycle together.
She would wake up much earlier,
Jehan and I would sleep,
the bikers we are...
and uh...
we would meet her again in the lunch stop.
She would take a nap and we would be uh...
cooking the meal,
and then we would take a nap as she made some miles.
Later on we would meet again
at the camp spot.
I met amazing people this way and I still am meeting them.
I think since I came back,
I hosted about fifteen travelers
at my place in Los Angeles.
Somehow, their journey becomes your journey as well.
Last thing I want to say is that...
we need to keep moving.
It really doesn't matter where we are going. Where we are able to go...
but uh...
somehow being on the road is an essential part of our nature and
we need to
remember that.
i think it's possible and i'm hoping
for myself too that I keep on doing this.
Keep on seeing...
the world.
Not just A and B but all the way in between by overloading.
That's my blog.
It's all in there. I don't want to
bore you too much but if you have any questions
I'm happy to answer them.
And take your time to think about your questions.
- What is the number? - I never thought that...
so many people would be asking that.
Remember that picture of...
the bicycle, the one I rigged up?
I'd bought a cheap
army bag
to put in the front. And it had those number on there.
And somehow
it became at first like a license number,
then it became my uh...
not nickname but nick-number!
[Audience laughing]
Then I somehow
adopted it
because I realized that it was
one number in the world
and it didn't have an owner and if I owned it it would be my number
and probably no one else would be having it...
Soon the internet came and it became useful as a nickname.
And that's my...
avatar on the 'Horizons' too.
- ...timing... ... how long in your journey did that take before you ... yourself belonging?
The first...
The first feeling I confused with fear actually happened in Los Angeles, CA.
Riding through the night in the woods...
But then
as I was in Kazakhstan,
my bike broke down , 0:37:38.599,0:37:41.609 my suspension had a legendary problem.
and uh... Like that went on for
rounds and rounds of
The interruptions are the Journey, I agree with Ted Simon on that one but,
the interruption has to end somehow for the travel to continue too.
Otherwise that's not an interruption.
so uh...
In Kazakhstan I spent...
wonderful time with
an ex Russian motorcyclist.
His name is Alyosha.
And his Uzbek wife
Shura and Mukaddas who were working there.
We didn't talk much because we couldn't but,
I became a part of their lives,
and it almost felt...
This has a very schizophrenic part to it too you know...
You jump into another life,
and everyone is very welcoming,
and you feel like you've been there!
Like you've been there before and
you can just as well continue.
I think that was the first time i felt that unconditional acceptance.
But after that,
towards the end of the trip, I think around
the fourth month,
I was really enjoying it.
I felt great.
Also there was this assumption that somehow
I wouldn't be able to continue,
because I would damage myself or the bike at one point and...
that six months was probably just long enough to make it. That's not true.
I felt great at the fourth month,
and felt just better
for the for the rest of the trip.
So yeah I think,
I think,
there can't be a recipe for it probably. I can't say two months is enough
to start feeling like that. It already depends on people the people.
Maybe your are already feeling it just coming here from L.A. to here.
Riding your motorcycle
in your neighborhood even. 0:39:47.749,0:39:49.130 But for me it was
three, three-and-a-half months.
to get used to that feeling.
Without really being scared
and feeling that I belong there. The road.
- Have you travelled with your wife before?
- I'm working on it. [Audience laughing]
I'm working really hard on it.
I think this "Ladies On The Loose" DVD is going to help.
But uh...
we did short trips.
She bought a motorcycle
after my return.
We did...
..small sips around town but that she doesn't feel very comfortable...
'yet'. But I'd love to do that! -What about the back? Would she feel comfortable there?
I don't know it really depends on her.
I'd love to have my wife...
behind me.
I don't know if she wants to watch my helmet or...
do her own riding.
I think it would be preferable if she was on her own bike.
Because her experience...
Actually I don't know.
I would like it.
But in some parts might be a little difficult.
- When you were on the road, how often did you communicate with her?
I had one of those GPS transmitters...
the orange SPOT device.
I think that was
very good.
Because I was reduced to a little point on her computer screen for six months. [Audience laughing]
So she knew I was doing well...
Actually, one of the funny points was,
when I arrived in Zarubino,
that was
probably the last town
on the Southern Russian point.
I was looking at the Sea of Japan and feeling:
"Wow!" you know...
..."it's the first time I'm seeing..." -after Vladivostok-
..."it's the first time I'm seeing the sea!"
and this is the same sea, on the other side of it is home!
Feeling good about having finished the journey!
And then I receive...
an SMS message on my cell phone
saying that:
"Don't hang around!"
"You need to go from the right side of the road." "You need to take the right fork!" "That's where the port is!"
So she was watching me at that point!
[Audience laughing]
If anybody is wondering, you can turn off that device too! Thank you!
Thanks Grant and Susan, to both of you! Thanks for having us here
and making it possible to meet with everyone likeminded.
"The tribe" as Carla was saying...