@RTWPAUL: RIDING THE WORLD SINCE 2011
By Paul Strubell of Dirt Orcas – 10/23/17
For the fifty first installment in our ongoing interview series here at Dirt Orcas, we are very pleased to be sharing the story of a true adventure motorcycling great, @RTWPaul.
Paul has been riding the world on a variety of motorcycles since 2011.
There are many things that make Paul’s story an interesting one. One, he has been travelling the world by motorcycle (visiting more than 85 countries as of this publication) for nearly 7 years now. He is often accompanied by Egle, an accomplished adventure motorcyclist herself.
Two, he is an excellent photographer, his rich photos really bring the feeling of adventure to life.
Three, as if what he is doing now isn’t interesting enough, the story of his life leading up to his trip departure and how he made the choice to travel indefinitely, is enough to write a book series. The details of which involve identity theft and a stroke resulting in temporary blindness. You can learn more about Paul’s story and see additional photography at his website, rtwpaul.com.
However you prefer to learn more about @RTWPaul and his travels with Egle, I highly encourage you to do so. They are inspiring, thoughtful, and simply genuine. Those are qualities the world can use more of these days.
Check out our interview below. All photo’s by @rtwpaul.
What do you consider to be your place of work?
Retired when I was 45…work sucks!
Tell me about your bikes. What do you call them?
Yamaha XT600z – 2011-2013
KTM 625sxc – 2014
Honda XR650R, KTM625sxc, Yamaha WR250R – 2015
Yamaha XT1200z – 2016/17
Currently 2012 Suzuki DR650 – 2017 onwards…
I don’t name bikes; if I wanted to name something I’d buy a boat or a dog.
When and how did you get it?
I buy bikes as I need them and pick a bike that is right for where I’m traveling to and how I want to ride.
For the current bike – We were in Crete, Greece after riding Europe for about a year riding 2 up on a Super Tenere when I got an email from a friend in AZ that he had 2 DR650’s in his garage, selling for a friend, did I know anyone who would be interested. We were currently looking to swap back to two bikes to do more offroad and were struggling to find much on offer in Europe as offroad riding is illegal in a lot of countries. We had planned to leave Europe and ride a lot in the ‘stans and Russia etc. to continue our RTW. This email came thru and I asked Egle if I made a crazy low ball offer and it was accepted would it be so bad if we went to the US and did our (vaguely) planned RTW in reverse. Offer made, and accepted in a matter of days we were looking for flights back to the US.
What other vehicles did you consider and what made you ultimately pull the trigger on the one you bought?
I used to own 3 motorcycle shops and build motorcycles from the ground up and have owned maybe 250-300 bikes personally over the years, I never get attached to a bike and pick what seems like the right bike at the right time. Most of the time a deal drops in my lap too good to turn down as was the case this time.
Have you made any upgrades or changes to it?
A lot – https://rtwpaul.com/bikes/dr650/
What is your favorite part about it living/working off of your bike?
Freedom and adventure
What is your least favorite part about it?
What’s not to like, I get to ride a motorcycle RTW
How many miles have you put on your bike?
I’ve ridden around 250,000 miles since 2011 but on this bike only about 20,000, so basically a short test ride, real adventures on this bike are still to come.
What is the best place you have taken it?
It sounds really lame because I’ve traveled to 86 countries but this bike has only been to two with me, US and Canada, so I guess Colorado for ‘this bike’ but not for me as a rider. Some of the absolute best riding I have done is in the ‘stans, specifically Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and spending a long time riding roads bordering Afghanistan.
Favorite road you’ve driven?
In one word, what describes your approach to life?
If you could give a person one piece of advice when thinking about living off of a bike, what would you tell them?
Don’t pack your inhibitions.
It takes a special kind of person to recognize that the journey, not the destination, is the point of life. Travelers know this. Was there a point in your life where you became conscious that you were one of those people?
I first traveled with my family to a foreign country when I was 8 years old, over the next 10 years I realized that living in one country because you were born there and only traveling for vacation was a very confining way of life. As soon as I could I was applying for international jobs and never looked back. I think I was born a nomad it just took me until I was 18 to realize it and I could control my own destiny and create my own freedom.
You have found a strong place in the community of adventure riders. What values do you think your home or family instilled in you, that you take on the road?
My family likes to travel somewhat but no one travels like I do, I am an individual in that regard, no one else in my family rides a motorcycle or has the slightest interest in them, so I don’t think it’s something that I got from them, it’s something that was inside me that I discovered.
I admire your outside the box approach to career and home. Do you see yourselves as people who took a leap of faith to live in an unconventional way or do you think it kind of just happened?
In 2008 I had a stroke and went 100% blind; when I regained my sight I had a different kind of clarity, a different motivation, I became driven to find freedom and made a choice for a life change.
Where do you want to go next?
There is no end date to my travels so everywhere is an option as far as I’m concerned, I travel reasonably open with not too much solid planning, all I really decide on is direction…new direction – south…ish
Career, been there done that. I consider my not working creates a job for someone else and who knows they may become an overlander too if they make the choice, then work and save hard.