An interview with adventure rider and creator of The Modern Motorcycle Diaries.
Alex Chacón is an adventure rider, public speaker, professional photographer, videographer and presenter. He attends professional conferences, film festivals, and events around the world to speak about his challenging and charitable expeditions on various motorcycles around the world while continuing to ride and tour on varied projects. Alex is a leader on the cutting edge in motorcycle adventure riding/exploring, contributing to major motorcycle magazines, working as a professional free-lance photographer for companies and well recognized brand names in the industry and collaborating in product development of prototype gear with testing and production. He currently runs the only motorcycle consulting business in the world for travel in Latin America where he occasionally runs tours. Information regarding his consulting enterprises and touring can be found here. His most famous expedition to date has been a 500 day solo round trip from Alaska to Argentina in 500 days raising money for the Children of Uganda in Africa.
Helen: This month we're focusing on the topic of Bravery. How do you practice bravery in your everyday life? In your travels?
Alex: Bravery to me means crossing that line of uncertainty and fear to obtain what you know your heart really wants. I do this every day when I start to plan my next destination and travel around the world, or just figuring out a plan of attack at my everyday business and personally affairs. But during my travels I think bravery is what has allowed me to succeed in my endeavors and expeditions by not being afraid of the uncertain, uncommon or being afraid to stand my ground or what I believe in while traversing across unknown lands, people and cultures while at the same time having the bravery to smile at everyone and accept all that is beyond my control in the environment around me.
Helen: Was there a time, abroad or otherwise, when you felt afraid or unsure of what to do next?
Alex: Every day is a struggle when your abroad, because conditions and circumstances change daily and hourly that put you in uncertain situations you may have no planned for or were ready to deal with. My expeditions start with the general things I want to accomplish like visiting Machu Pichu or the Taj Majal, I was never afraid to venture into these places, I believe the true adventure is how you get there, and that uncertainty of how or what to do next is the most exciting and challenging part of my journeys.
Helen: Clearly you've got a huge adventurous streak in you. Do you remember when you first realized that about yourself? Can you share an early experience?
Alex: When I was 7 years old I was at school and I would always look at the globes in geography class, and I knew instantly I would explore the entire world one day. My natural curiosity to expedition into the unknown fueled my passion for photography, videography and sharing the world with those back home that have never even left their own town or country. These motivations to open people's eyes, with my passion for life and my hobbies from a young age created the polished adventure rider and explore I am today.
Helen: It seems like a lot of people stay close to what they know, or what's familiar. How do you embrace the many cultures you visit?
Alex: I embrace each and every place, people and culture I encounter in the same open mind I've had since I was a little boy. I've always said in order to chance the world, you first need to understand it.
Helen: Do you have any rituals while traveling?
Alex: I realize we are all creatures of habit being human, but I've chosen not to do the same thing twice if I can avoid it. Such as going along the same path twice, visiting the same monument twice, or doing the same kind of trip twice. There's so much world to see, if you continue to do the same things you always do, even the same way you plan all your trips, or same way you take your pictures, or choose your locations, your never really evolving yourself or spirit be repeating the same things all your life. This is why spontaneity is my best friend and you'll hardly ever find me doing the same things twice.
Helen: Any advice for someone who's looking to get outside of their comfort zone? See the world?
Alex: Only do it if your mind, spirit and body are ready for it and all it brings as far as consequences and rewards, it's that threshold not many of us cross, but when you do it may be the most important and rewarding experience of your life. The moment you stop letting material possessions and voluntary obligations back home weigh or tie you down from experiencing life the way you truly want to life it, is the moment you are truly free and happy.
All photos by Alex Chacón.
Helen Williams is the Community Love Director at Holstee. She is passionate about cooking and writing which pair well together on her vegetarian food blog, green girl eats. She's strives, every day, to be less sorry.