WILLIAM GLOEGE: ROAD TRIP DOWN
By Paul Strubell of Dirt Orcas – 5/22/17
For the thirty third installment in our ongoing interview series here at Dirt Orcas, we are stoked to speak with William “Billy” Gloege. You may know him as @RoadTripDown. He has been on an extended global tour by motorcycle and shares excellent content from his travels.
What draws me to William is his clear sense of purpose while he travels. The practicality of his mission. The point is to just explore. By doing this you are enriching all aspects of your life. Learning and crafting new ideas through experience and exploration.
For more details check out his personal webpage http://www.roadtripdown.com/.
No matter how you stay in tune with William’s travels it is a worthwhile endeavor. He is making his second trip around the world right now, so it goes without saying that his travels are diverse and grand. He seeks out the typical highlight style destinations but also the finds himself hitting the less sought after locations. These are often the most interesting.
I really enjoyed this interview and found that William pointed out something that we often forget when taking these little peaks into the lives of our travelling friends. Traveling isn’t a permanent thing. You are always a flight away from being back home. This is both comforting but also inspiring, because it means every day you get to choose to continue to explore.
What do you consider to be your current job or goal?
Job? My job is trying to live in this short life that I was given. To make money in the past, I have practiced Real Estate, everything from investing to brokering.
Tell me about your bike. What is it? What do you call it?
The bike that I am currently riding is a 2016 Honda Africa Twin, sometimes I call it nice names, sometimes not so nice names. I am 20,000 miles into my second trip around the world, yet a name has not come to me. Although my bike has a personality and we are in a relationship, it is still a machine. Naming it is not really that important to me. My KLR had a name the “Burra”.
Have you made any upgrades or changes to it?
The AT has a full SW Motech luggage and protection system on it. In my opinion it is the best on the market in terms of strength, weight and function.
What other motorcycles did you consider and what made you ultimately pull the trigger on the one you bought?
I would have continued on my KLR, but it was tired. I fell in love with the AT and was able to get backing from Honda, so I chose it. I made the right decision. This bike has turned out to be the perfect balance of power, agility, off road capability and road handling for MY trip. I have always believed that all people, trips and riding abilities are different and there is the “right bike” for everyone. As crazy as it seems, I have seen travelers on Harley Davidsons doing RTW trips, and after talking to them, I see that that was the right bike for them (as crazy as that sounds).
How many miles have you put on your bike?
The AT has 20,000 miles on it currently and my KLR has 55,000. Both were new when I started, so all the miles (except for 500 on the KLR) are world travel.
What is your favorite part about it living off of your bike?
The bike is really just a medium for travel. I chose the bike in the same way that I chose my shoes for the trip. The best equipment to make my travel safe, fun and comfortable. In my cast, the bike is a peripheral. The way that it gives me access to the less, or in many cases, never visited places that are in between airports and paved road, is why I like living off my bike.
I also really have learned to enjoy the simplicity of this method of travel. I like to travel light, but also comfortably. In the nearly two years that I have been traveling, I have my necessities down to an imperfect science. Clothing, equipment, entertainment and other life necessities all fit on my bike. With this, I realize how little I need. Whence I decide to take a break from traveling, I know that my home lifestyle will be a much paired down version of the previous.
What is your least favorite part about it?
I really can’t find an aspect of it that I don’t like. Sometimes my ass really hurts after a long day of riding, but getting off the bike feels really good… does that make sense? Didn’t think so.
What is the best place you have taken it? Is there just one?
No, there is not just one. Different aspects of different places make them the best. Some categories include: People, Landscape, Culture, Food, Booze, Roads and Lack of Roads. There are more, but I think those are some of the major ones.
Favorite road you’ve ridden?
Bartang Valley in Tajikistan. You can barely call it a road, it is not even on the maps I have seen. Not only was it challenging, but I met some lifelong friends on the 3 day wilderness journey. @amsterdamtoanywhere finished their 2 year RTW journey and started an ADV product website in Holland named Bartang.eu. That is how moving it was.
In one word, what describes your approach to life?
If you could give a person one piece of advice when thinking about living and traveling off of a vehicle, what would you tell them?
Do it. Don’t worry about the details. Figure out answers, not excuses. These may seem to be 3 different pieces of advice, but really they are all one. I find it so easy to say why not to do something, but when I started to come up with answers instead, magic happened.
One more piece of advice. Traveling is not a lifelong commitment. I live by a simple rule. The day that I stop truly enjoying the trip that I am on, I am a plane ticket away from home. Seriously. I have no real finish line that I need to cross.
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 kind of people?
My parents really screwed me. They have instilled a sense of travel and adventure in me since before I can remember. An example. I was 8 years old and my mom put me on a cross country flight (with a connection) to meet my dad for an east coast adventure. They didn’t alert the airlines. They taught me how to find my new plane on the connection. When boarding my connection, the flight attendant found out I was alone. They got me an escort (not that kind, I was 8). When confronting my dad, I remember him, telling the airline representative. “Give him an instruction manual, and he could have flown the plane.” My point is, that it wasn’t a moment that I realized I was that type of person, it was my crazy parents. Trust me, there are other stories.
You have found a strong place in the community of adventure riders, do you see yourself as someone who gets more out of your travels knowing that you have a following of people appreciating what you’re doing?
Eeeeh… Not sure. I think that you are speaking of Social Media. Look, I like taking pictures. I like inspiring people. I like making videos. It helps me memorialize my travels, because god knows I am not writing any of this sh*t in a journal. I hope my pictures and videos help one person to test their limits and do something that scares them. I am not just saying that, I have gotten much gratification from hearing feedback from people that are inspired by my travels.
What values do you think your family instilled in you that you take on the road and bring to your trips?
See above. As long as I make it through this alive, my parents were individually the biggest inspirations in my life. I am currently in Iran. You wouldn’t believe the amount of BS that some people wrote about the FALSEHOODS of Iran and how dangerous it is. Some even asking, “What does your mother think of this, isn’t she freaking out?” I called mom the other day and asked her if she was freaked out that I was in Iran. Her answer: “No, you make good decisions and I am sure that you are having experiences that I can’t imagine.” Then followed up by a “Should I be?” JK
Do you see yourself as someone who took a leap of faith to travel in an unconventional way or do you think it kind of just happened?
I quit a good career to do this, it would take me at least one year to start making money again. BUT! I realized, after traveling for some time, that I will substantially redefine my life when I get back. Including career.
Where do you want to go next?
As I said, I am currently in Iran. I am sorting out shipment of my bike to Adis Ababa (I love saying the name) to explore Eastern Africa. After that, I am not sure and don’t really care. I am certain that there will be adventures to follow, defining them now seems unimportant.