By Paul Strubell of Dirt Orcas – 9/25/17

For the forty seventh installment in our ongoing interview series here at Dirt Orcas, we are extremely pleased to be speaking with Mathieu Collin or as you may know him, the @motorcycle.drifter.

I discovered Mathieu’s travels though Instagram, you can check out his gallery and follow him here. A true motorcycle wanderer, Mathieu lives off his bike and finds ways to make things happen. The description on his Instagram account reads as follows “A French Canadian on the road – Life of a motorcycle gypsy. Full time nomad! Continuously chasing adventures and new experiences. Self development and spiritual growth are essential.”

One of the main things that stands out about Mathieu is his commitment to staying on the road. You’ll read more about his inventive and bold ways of earning money in the interview, but his philosophy is what truly strikes me as interesting. “Money in your pocket is freedom. The money you chase is what enslaves you.”

Mathieu is a beacon for everybody seeking more freedom in their life. A great reminder that our own minds are often the greatest barriers to what we want.

Check out our interview below.

What do you consider to be your place of work?

I try not to worry too much about money, my lifestyle allows me to live on very little. I am an opportunist. If I feel good somewhere and I get a chance to work, I’ll do it. For instance, not so long ago, after my stay at the rainbow gathering in Oregon, I decided to ride north to British Columbia. When I got there, I noticed that the whole province was having trouble with raging wildfires, and I thought it would be pretty cool to work as a firefighter. Two days later, I was hired and on my way to the biggest fire! It was an awesome adventure that lasted a whole month. I was living in a fire camp with free meals and everything I could need. I got back on the road with the pockets full of green freedom and great memories.


Tell me about your bike. What do you call it?

Yep! She is an old lady! 1997 Honda XR650L with about 60 000km. The ugly gas tank can tell a lot about our adventures as the smell of my sheepskin seat cover too!

The beast is known as White Goose, because she’s got the white frame of the early models and mostly because we travel as the seasons like these adventurous birds.

When and how did you get it?

I bought the bike in November 2015 for about 2000$, she was like new and barely never been used so I fell in love right away!

What other vehicles did you consider and what made you ultimately pull the trigger on the one you bought?

Might sound crazy but my first idea was to get a horse haha! I still think that it would be the most amazing way to travel and that it would turn every little daily task into epic adventures but I also think it could be really unsafe to do, so I ended up with the B plan, a motorcycle! I had another XR a few years earlier and knew it would be perfect for the journey so I went buying the same model.

Have you made any upgrades or changes to it?

I ordered side racks from Twisted Throttle and bolted some Pelican cases that I got on craigslist. The tank is an Acerbis 5.8 that gets me about 360km of freedom every fill up.  Oxford heated grips that saved my life in Labrador and a Spitfire windshield to makes things more comfortable.

What is your favorite part about it living/working off of your bike?

I like to say that riding a motorcycle is a way to meditate, with all the hours spent riding, it did really changed a lot on the way I see life. I also think they are the ultimate freedom vehicle. While riding there is no time to worry about tomorrow or think about yesterday, you are just truly living in the moment, listening to the engine, negotiating every curves, shifting gears and being ready for whatever comes your way. I think this is what I love the most about living of a motorcycle.

What is your least favorite part about it?

The road weariness would be what I dislike about it, long distance can be very hard on the body sometimes.


What is the best place you have taken it? Is there just one?

I spent a good amount of time in Moab Utah, there is something about the desert that makes me feel good. The immensity of it and its emptiness always makes my thoughts wander. For its amazing riding and the awesome people that live there, I would say it’s my favorite place, but there’s a lot of them.

I spent my last winter in the Baja peninsula and enjoyed every minutes of it. It was exiting to ride south and feel the climate getting warmer as I was leaving the cold weather of the winter behind me. All those nights falling asleep in my tent to the relaxing melody of the waves crashing on the beach are unforgettable.

Favorite road you’ve driven?

I recently rode the Icefields Parkway in Canada on my way to Québec and It’s was a breathtaking scenery, have to say it’s the most epic road I rode so far.

In one word, what describes your approach to life?

Mind, everything comes from our mind baby! Dream about! Think about! Then just savor the fruit of your creation 😉

If you could give a person one piece of advice when thinking about living off of a bike, what would you tell them?

Follow your instincts and everything will be awesome! If you don’t feel like you have any, just relax they’ll show up 😉

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?

It’s hard for me to say exactly when it happened, I think every experiences that has been put on my way is part of what made me came to understand this truth. There is only one way to go through out this wonderful journey that is life and it’s without any fixed plans, or intent on arriving.

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?

Being generous with what I have and never hesitate to help others.

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?

I couldn’t continue living a normal life, I think I am just not made for it. I’ve been dreaming about this life of freedom and the infinite possibilities that comes with it since a long time, since kid I guess. Maybe I simply never grew up, I don’t know haha! I want to be outdoor all the time, be free to do whatever I desire and ride motorcycles! That’s all I mostly need and this lifestyle suit me perfectly.

Where do you want to go next?

Asia I’m coming!

3 replies
  1. Brian Calliari
    Brian Calliari says:

    I’ve been following Mathieu for about 8 months or so and enjoy every aspect of his adventures. People like him are inspiring to say the least. I hope to cross trails with him at some time in our lives.

    Ride on my friend, ride on.

  2. Karoline
    Karoline says:

    Amazing life journey, Mathieu! I had the pleasure to meet him at Grand View Point in the Tetons. In our short conversation which was filled with so much honesty and dedication he shared a lot more than he probably thought he would. Thank you for the inspiration!


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