ANDREAS BALAZ: @AREZ.PICTURES
By Paul Strubell of Dirt Orcas – 8/26/19
For the one hundred and eighth installment in our ongoing interview series here at Dirt Orcas, we are very pleased to speak with Andy Balaz. You may know him as @arez.pictures.
I have been circling this interview for a long time. I have followed @arez.pictures for years, but his account is often more focused on his excellent photography work than his beautiful motorcycle travels. So i wasn’t always sure it was the best fit for this series.
However, after I got completely swept away with his summer trip with our old friends Martin and Verena of the @world_spins_as_fast_as_we_ride I was ready to make it happen. A month long tour around Europe was just the ticket.
So here we are. Andy is a Austrian by birth but spent some time in New Zealand travelling. He is 31 years old and a talented individual residing back in Austria. If you aren’t already doing so please follow @arez.pictures on Instagram to stay up to date with his work and travels. If you are a fan of BMW 1200GSA it is an absolute must. His travels align perfectly with the Spirit of GS and the GSA in particular.
Check out the interview and his photo’s below.
What do you do for work?
I tried some different things till my mid 20´s. From Event Management to Helicopter Pilot I really was all over the place. Until I started my photography business in 2015. As many photographers i first worked in wedding photography. Worked my way up, so to say, to Model photography and now I mostly do adventure Motorcycle photography for different Brands and Companies.
Tell me about your bike. What do you call it?
I ride a 2014 GSA 1200- I call her “Kiwi”
When and how did you get it?
Basically I got my license just 2 years ago. At that time I made a decision that changed my life. I went to New Zealand and bought a used 1200 GSA 2014 which I traveled all over NZ for half a year! When I came back I actually wanted to buy a car again, the day before I went to buy one, a used 1200 GSA 2014 caught my eye. The Same model I had in NZ just in that awesome military green. Well, long story short, I bought it and spent all year without a car but with a big smile on my face! “Kiwi“- as a reminder of the amazing time I had in NZ.
What other vehicles did you consider and what made you ultimately pull the trigger on the one you bought?
Before I traveled to NZ I tried a couple of other bikes. KTM 990 Adventure, 1290 Adventure, African Twin and of course 800 GS. But nothing really did it as well as the 1200 GSA. The feeling once the big girl moves is just perfect. Think it and the bike does it…. The weight was something I had to get used to, but after a while I wasn’t even thinking about it anymore….at least on-road!
Have you made any upgrades or changes to it?
I changed nothing on the suspension or the engine. I just added some crash bars, higher handle bars, panniers, extra lights with rock guards, hand guards and wider mirrors. – OK I added quite a bit 😀
What is your favorite part about living off of your bike?
To compare it with traveling by car, you are much more immersed in your surroundings. You feel closer to the land you are traveling through, without a cage around you. Which makes you more vulnerable, but also makes the experience more “real” I guess.
What is your least favorite part about it?
Packing the bike each and every day!!!! Gosh how I hate it! 😀
What is the best place you have taken it?
Definitely New Zealand! Its just crazy to drive from Lava fields to Rain forests to Glaciers in 2 hours! The Landscape is breathtaking, roads are incredible well maintained and if you want to go off-road there are endless possibilities with incredible views.
Is there just one?
If you are looking for an adventure in Europe…go to Romania and go up north at the UA border. The Adventure Country Tracks Route is just wow!
Favorite road you’ve driven?
That’s an easy one, South Island NZ up the West Coast! Ocean on the left, rain forest on the right and above the Southern Alps with their Glaciers!
In one word, what describes your approach to life?
Listen to your heart!
Listen to your body!
Listen to your soul!
If you could give a person one piece of advice when thinking about living off of a bike, what would you tell them?
Travel light, and if you think you have just the basics with you, strip it down even further!
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 knew it all my life! My parents took me on their travels when i was young and kinda grew up with that mindset. Though due to the system you get introduced to in school years, it faded away till the point i knew something had to change. That’s when I re discovered it.
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?
Be humble and grateful!
I admire your outside the box approach to career and home. Do you see yourself as someone who took a leap of faith to live in an unconventional way or do you think it kind of just happened?
I always dreamed of living such a life but I think it just happened. From the first time riding a bike to the work I’m doing now was a long road of decisions and a lot of “being at the right place at the right time“ which ultimately lead me, or now us, to the point we are at the moment. And I couldn’t be happier with it. I might not earn a fortune but I get a fortune in experience and life quality.
Where do you want to go next?
We have some plans with our friends Verena and Martin from (@world_spins_as_fast_as_we_ride) for next year….but that’s a little secret in the moment and we hope to be back here to tell you about it another time 🙂