INTRO: My name is Paolo. Here for my second AmA, since the first one, i had last year, was really interesting. I am 38 years old, born and raised in Italy. I started travelling when i was 24 and lived in USA, Thailand and in 2010 i moved to Australia, where i now reside. In 2015 i left my IT job in Sydney, Australia, and started riding my motorcycle. I've been riding for the past 4 years, almost no stop. I've travelled through 3 continents so far (Australia, America and partially Europe), covering 170000km overall. I rode a KTM 1190 Adventure 2014 model. I am in Italy right now , with my family, and in few months I'll ride back to Australia from here, via Asia. Here to answer questions about long distance travelling and living on the road. AmA!!

IG: www.instagram.com/paolocattaneophoto

FB: www.facebook.com/paolocattaneoofficial

YT: www.youtube.com/paolocattaneo

Proof: https://www.reddit.com/user/paolo_0/comments/cd2ee7/proof/?utm_medium=android_app&utm_source=share

MAP OF TRAVELS: https://www.reddit.com/user/paolo_0/comments/cd2kfj/map_of_my_travels/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x

EDIT 1: WOW ! again overwhelmed by all the questions! thanks! Taking a break to have some food here and coming back soon!

EDIT 2: Back now! In my youtube channel you can see some of the videos of my adventures!

EDIT 3: AMAZING FEEDBACK GUYS! Thanks for all the questions and thanks to all the trolls out there too. :D Up here you can find a map of my travels. Also available on my Instagram.

EDIT 4: Going to bed now guys. It's midnight here in Europe. I'll continue tomorrow. THANKS A LOT FOR ALL THE NICE QUESTIONS !!

EDIT 5: Back at it just for a little bit guys! Bring it on! :)

EDIT 6: THANKS FOR ALL THE QUESTIONS GUYS! I AM GOING TO STOP IT HERE. I have to run out of the house now. I ll try to answer again when i get back, but i'll stop the AmA here. Thanks a lot everybody! 😊🙏🙏

Comments: 1001 • Responses: 89  • Date: 

chloeq929 karma

Does your ass hurt?

paolo_0851 karma

Immensely 😅

RooSparkles513 karma

How did you afford to travel for 4 years straight?

paolo_0918 karma

There are many techniques to live cheaply while travelling, like camping, eating once a day, couchsurfing and ultimately social networking, to find accomodation in different locations. I believe though, you are referring to the funds that are necessary to travel for so long; the answer is: i worked and saved for 5 years to be able to sustain myself throughout my journey.

Noltonn186 karma

[removed]

LobbyDizzle179 karma

The bike alone is 20k. Maybe KTM is paying him a bit?

Noltonn116 karma

[removed]

LobbyDizzle53 karma

Not sure why I was downvoted, as below he even confirmed that he had a few sponsorships. None from KTM though.

paolo_0151 karma

NO MONEY were provided by any companies. Just products in exchange of media content.
I just used my own funds.

paolo_050 karma

I worked and saved for one year only to buy the bike. Aside of my overall savings. Minus the money i got ($4000) from the sale of my Aprilia Pegaso 650 I owed previously.

-starless--351 karma

Rich parents. Got it.

EDIT: Ohhh, many disagree. Imagine that changing my whole perspective.

EDIT 2: Oh my god. So many narratives running counter to my own. Can't...resist. Must...conform... or risk being...downvoted by strangers. lol fuck you

paolo_0172 karma

I would have loved to, mate! But no.
I started working at 15, because my parents couldn't give me extra money.
I almost had no savings till I was 28.
I work in IT but in Italy you get paid very little. I had a job here and I quit it and moved to Australia, where I started from scratch again, as an immigrant.
There you get paid quite well for any job.

Oax_Mike424 karma

Do you think that you'll ever be able to have a regular "settled" life after this?

paolo_0440 karma

Maybe. But i think my whole life ethics shifted completely after this. I will go back to a job for sure...but not sure what.

Oax_Mike146 karma

Other than food, family, friends and gelato, what do you miss the most about home?

paolo_0257 karma

Except because of my family, I don't really miss Italy much. I moved to Australia after all! ;)

bluepenonmydesk18 karma

Do you have any children?

TheYancyStreetGang97 karma

On three continents.

paolo_066 karma

touchè! ;)

paolo_055 karma

No. Never Married. No kids.

K-Pin180 karma

What was the most dangerous situation you ended up in? If none, what part of the world had the best roads for motorcycle travel?

paolo_0506 karma

There were few actually. For me it was while riding inside Colca Canyon in Peru; i almost fell into this incredibly deep cliff, while riding on the tiny roads that lead to the bottom part of the canyon. I lost control of the bike and slid, but recovered last second and stopped right at the edge of the cliff. I had to take a 10 minutes break before continuing. Aside for this, i believe FOR ADVENTURE RIDING, Peru has some of the most breathtaking roads i've ever seen.

bookham154 karma

How was your sex life on the road and which country has the most beautiful people?

paolo_0303 karma

Sex life is complicated, when you are on the road. You always have to leave.
I don't go out at night to clubs or bars so I relied on social networking to meet locals.
There are beautiful people all over the world and It also depends WHAT YOU LIKE.
In my personal opinion, just being beautiful doesn't necessarily mean that you are ATTRACTIVE.
Personality and confidence play a fundamental role for me.

Xazbot41 karma

This was going to be my question too. Did you miss sex or having someone? Do you actually have someone and do you meet from time to time across your travels?

paolo_0253 karma

Sometimes I miss having someone to long for, but others i don't. It's not easy to be always by yourself, but the "low moment" are way less than the moment you find yourself happy and stress free.
I met a girl in south america that I really liked; she travelled to meet me few times along my journey.
It lasted few months and then we took separate paths. c'est la vie.

nickammo128 karma

Hey Paolo, how did you maintain your bike? Any breaks or issues with it? I've heard mixed things about ktm.

paolo_0218 karma

Most people are afraid to get KTMs because of their reliability history. I had NO MECHANICAL FAILURES in 170000km so mine did pretty good i have to say. I believe that keeping regular maintenance on your vehicle pays off at the end, regardless of the brand. I did most of the maintenance myself.

dan110126 karma

Did you do all prescribed maintenance, just oil changes and tires, or something in between?

paolo_059 karma

performed Oil and filters change myself.
Also Fork and water pump seals, together with some chain and sprockets jobs.

Miss_Aia20 karma

How many chains did you go through in 170k kms? I'd imagine a lot of the roads you travelled weren't very easy on your bike in terms of sand, dirt etc

paolo_010 karma

I went through 4 sets of chains and sprockets. DID chains and AFAM sprocket are excellent quality and lasted me roughly 50k km. the original or JT ones tend to wear out around 35k km.

Stierscheisse25 karma

Great to hear your KTM experience. How long prior to the adventure did you own that bike?

paolo_050 karma

just one month. Bought it in December 2014 and left at the beginning of February 2015

smooth-poser103 karma

Hi Paolo! I follow you on Instagram and love seeing your adventures. I know that you love the KTM but could you imagine doing this journey on another bike? What would you choose?

Cheers and happy travels!

paolo_0127 karma

Hey! Thanks for tagging along! I would probably do it with a smaller bike. I've seen a lot of honda 250cc in south america and it was the best bike in my opinion to tackle any terrains. Good enough on the tarmac and great on dirt. But i managed anyway with my big 1200cc. Just a lot more work for your back. 😊👍

fondles27 karma

Which model 250cc Honda are you talking about? I'm curious

bernywalters7 karma

Most likely the crf. I can’t see anyone going this with a 2 stroke.
But I’d be curious about rebuilds along the trip. This ktm seems like it’ll do it all in one shot?

paolo_027 karma

In SA there's a honda called TORNADO. it's like a small CRF.
But CRF Rally, would do too. ;)

BruceJi12 karma

do it with a smaller bike

That's interesting. I'd have thought the power from a 1200 would have helped you out quite a bit, as well as being great for motorway stretches. What makes you say you'd prefer a smaller bike? Weight?

paolo_032 karma

Sometimes having 150hp is good, but others having to lift 300kg out of the sand is not.
So, averagely speaking, it's better to have a smaller and lighter bike.
Also, maintenance would have been cheaper in the long run.

cuberider24795 karma

Hi paolo,what country has the cheapest fuel and most delicious food?

paolo_0217 karma

Hands down...ECUADOR !!!
fuel was $2 a gallon and food was DELICIOUUUUS !

TezzaDaMan76 karma

Holy crap you almost rode half the distance to the moon. That's super impressive!!

My question: Where is the most beautiful place (visually) you have been while riding?

paolo_0113 karma

Thanks mate!
The Chilean Patagonia during autumn, was one of the most incredible places I've seen.
Also Alaska in summer was truly breathtaking.

Seelengst74 karma

Have you ever read Pirsig's 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance'?

If so would you say his descriptors of Journeying long distances via motorcycle are accurate?

Edit: added A quote for context.

In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You're a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame.  On a cycle the frame is gone. You're completely in contact with it all. You're in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.

paolo_028 karma

I never read that. Or seen the Long Way Around.
I've seen the motorcycle diaries though! Nice movie!

AmazingSupDawg70 karma

What was your most exciting/fun experience on the road?

paolo_0211 karma

The most exciting was certainly the arrival at my house in Italy, after 4 years of travelling; iI had pictured that moment and played it so many times in my head, especially through difficult times, that It was a great relief to finally making it.
The funniest was probably attending at a motorcycle festival in Guayabitos, Mexico. WOW. Mexicans really know how to have fun! :)

Spillispilli50 karma

Were you ever mentally ill or sick from being alone playing stranger for so long?

paolo_089 karma

Thanks for the question.
I was definitely "challenged" when I returned to Sydney after my trip around Australia. You can even say, by modern standards, that I was "depressed".
It was very hard to cope with reality after such a magnificent trip and after being in solitude and silence for months.

givemesteak49 karma

How did you register your bike overseas? Surely you had to register it to ride it in each country?

paolo_070 karma

My motorcycle has Australian plate, since I bought it there, while residing in the country.
For international (or overland) travels with foreign vehicle, each country behave differently; although certain region tend to have similarities.
For South America, Central America, North America and Europe, there was no need to show extra paperwork concerning the motorcycle.
At the border you'll be issued with a Temporary Import Permit, which sometimes you pay and sometimes not, depending on the country.
You just need to present your passport, registration and driver license.
For south east Asia is different, for instance, since you need to exhibit the Carnet The Passage, a "passport" for your motorcycle which you have to obtain beforehand, usually, from your country of origin.

NigelDartshit19 karma

Which country was the most difficult to get the bike in to?

paolo_034 karma

in latin america, Nicaragua.

Count_Bracula48 karma

About how much does a journey like that cost? Both daily average and the full cost?

Edit: removed a redundant part of the question

paolo_0155 karma

This is very hard to reply but for you all i made an AVERAGE EXPENDITURE checklist. The prices are in USD since it will be better for all of us to understand and estimate a proper currency conversion.

Consider that some days you ride, others you don't. Sometimes you stay at friends, so you don't pay food and accomodation, some others you pay a lot. Sometimes you camp (free) some others, you pay even on campsites.

As i mentioned, i used the "one meal a day" technique so, keep that in mind too (wake up, have breakfast, ride all day, and eat at 5pm). Also, latin america is very cheap ($1.5 a set menu) and supermarkets after 6pm have 50% off discounts. Anyway, this is why is called average.

Fuel 40000km per year 12 months and average 30 days per month 3300 km per month average. Fuel cost average: $1.4 USD per litre Motorcycle range average: 370km/full tank (23liters) Cost of full tank: $32.2 Full tanks per month: 9.4 Cost of month of fuel average: $302

Accomodation: Average nights spent in hostel on 30 days: 18 Average cost of accomodation: $10 night Average total per month: $180

Food: Average meal cost: $4 (20 meals ave per month) Average expenditure from supermarket per month: $80 Total food expenditure average per month: $160

Extras allowance per month: $80

Total of food, accomodation and fuel per month: $722

joeharri8444 karma

That quite the distance to cover. How did you keep your bike maintained through your journeys and did you every have a moment where you thought the bike wouldn't make it any further?

paolo_066 karma

The reliability of the motorcycle is a key factor in long distance travelling. Especially going through Australia, where often times you are forced to ride for hundreds of km without pretty much any source of water or life whatsoever. I bought the bike almost new (700km on it) and serviced it myself.
I had to learn a thing or two, since I'm not a professional mechanic per se; but online forums and youtube are a great source of information and "performing your own stunts", allows you to save money in the long run and be more confident in your own bike knowledge.
While riding through Brazil, the outside temperature was so hot (44 degrees Celsius) and the engine oil was boiling (110 C) so the bike wouldn't start anymore; I got bogged, few times, and trying to get it out, wasn't the best thing for the motorcycle. I had to wait till the engine cooled down a bit before starting it again.

mikeblas24 karma

Engine oil boils around 300c. Was that your water temperature?

How did you change tires or replace the chain? How did you ship the bike over the oceans?

I have ridden across the us more than 20 times. I'd like to ride across Australia some day. Any advice?

paolo_037 karma

For some reasons the engine wasn t even cranking. Once temp dropped to 100 again, it started.Water temp was ok. I don't have the exact temp, just the gauge was in the middle and the fans were spinning.Tyres usually I replace them at tyre shops. Chain I did it myself.I've shipped the bike across with cargo ship and plane.Australia is a huge continent. Make sure you get at least 3-6 months to explore it. The west coast and Tasmania cannot be missed.

MrLucasvp4 karma

Daaamn, where did that happen in Brazil? Down here in Sao Paulo I've only seen up to 35C

paolo_04 karma

That was in Barrerinha, near Lencois Maranhenses. it gets stupid hot there.

Daddy2Thicc42 karma

If I were to plan a similar, albeit shorter solo motorcycle ride across the US, what should I prioritize packing with the limited available space?

paolo_088 karma

It really depends on your style of travelling (camping, hostel, hotels) and on your motorcycle of choice. USA has great national Parks so, camping is definitely a great option, in my opinion; in this sense, Tent, Inflatable mattress (at least 4inches thick), sleeping bag, cooking set, propane tank and a small foldable chair would suffice. In terms of tools, a pocket knife, zip ties, duct tape, puncture repair kit and a small air compressor to inflate your tyre. If you want, a small medi kit.
Not much else is necessary.
You can find things pretty much anywhere in the states, in case you need it, and it's better to travel light anyway.

fani199627 karma

Would you do it again?

paolo_031 karma

Absolutely. :)

Spacelazors24 karma

Did you have any bad or weird couchsurfing experiences? And did you get seriously sick during your travels?

paolo_078 karma

I didn't really had any EXTREMELY BAD experiences, in terms of couchsurfing. Just a couple of times, the hygiene of my host's apartment wasn't the best. I resolved it, by pitching my tent in his garden. :)
I'm pretty good with street food, usually, but once i MADE A HUGE MISTAKE of eating smoked shrimps, bought from a market in Mexico, without cooking those. Nether to say, I was a "human fountain" for the next 2 days.

BruceJi24 karma

by pitching my tent in his garden. :)

Haha! Didn't the host get offended?

paolo_046 karma

I just said I wanted to sleep in the tent because i didn't want to get bit by mosquitoes. ;)

Pritam19979 karma

How did u manage your meds in different countries? They all have different names and prescription norms.

paolo_025 karma

google.
But I didn't take any meds. When I got fever once somebody got me their local paracetamol....which is Paracetamolo in spanish. ;)

ifonlyabearcouldkill23 karma

did u ever see UFOs in ur travels?

paolo_089 karma

I rode to area51 and slept at night in the fields right behind it. But no ufo. I've seen the lights of Marfa, in Texas, though! It's not a ufo but its quite a weird phenomena. Google it.

Frostalicious1321 karma

Hi Paolo! I’ve been a big fan of you since your AmA last year and recently I’ve decided to backpack across Europe for a summer once I graduate from college. I’ve been saving my money and everything. I was just wondering if you have any useful tips when it comes to this or great recommendations on where to go? Thank you!

paolo_025 karma

Wow! good on you mate !! and thanks for coming back to my second AMA! :) I would recommend to travel by train in Europe, since the railway system is pretty good, but, If you book in advance, ferries and airplanes are very affordable too. I booked my ride from Barcelona to Sardinia (12 hours) for 50 euros (including the bike)!!
If you are backpacking, try to avoid July and August, when all europeans go on holiday for summer.
Also, around Santiago de Compostela, in Spain, is where all people walk for the pilgrimage to the cathedral, so be aware of the booking availability; the saint James walk is a great thing to do and companies now offer to carry your backpack, for a small amount of money, in case you want to do just a bit.
Anyway, happy to help for further and more specific enquiries.

AMAbutTHAT21 karma

Who had the best or most efficient roadway system among the countries?

paolo_040 karma

Mmm. I would say Ecuador has a pretty efficient and new road system. It's a relatively small country, so it's quite easy to manage it all i guess.
Canada has incredible roads too and its asphalt is draining, for the heavy rain they have.

melhern19 karma

I don’t think I saw this question yet so: How’d you transport your bike over seas/across continents?

paolo_026 karma

There are a lot of companies that offer freight services to people willing to ship their vehicle overseas.
The first lag, from Australia to South America, was by cargo boat.
From Canada to Ireland was by plane.

mastermentor57516 karma

Hey Paolo,what was the kindest and the cruelest thing you saw while having this adventure of a lifetime?

paolo_036 karma

great question!
The kindest thing I witnessed was probably the support that received from strangest along the road. It was truly mind blowing to see how people sometimes just want to help, from the heart, genuinely.
It's the classic "random act of kindness" that it's truly moving.
In terms of cruelty, there are unfortunately a lot of animals and people getting abused every day. It's hard to tell the stories, in few lines. Personally I witnessed just some animal abuses but the stories were excruciating.

rabidmaggot15 karma

How did you plan for gas? Did you map out places to fill up or just go with the flow?

paolo_032 karma

My bike has pretty good range. 450km with a full tank on highway and 340-370 on rough conditions.
I had fuel problems only in Bolivia where they are a bit reluctant to sell gas to foreigners.
Otherwise I almost always had no problems finding a gas station within range.

thaitea14 karma

What is one piece of equipment you wish you had on your journey that would have made it more convenient?

paolo_024 karma

I can't think of anything extremely necessary for the trip.
There's always a way to circumvent issues and find solutions to problems that arise during an adventure.

brookdo13 karma

Is your goal to reach all continents?

paolo_084 karma

I have no desire in conquering the world. It is impossible.
My only goal is to enjoy my life and this planet while I can; the more I see the better.
But I'm also aware I can't possibly see EVERYTHING.

Throckg13 karma

That’s a LOT of miles for a bike. What mechanical issues did you have?

paolo_021 karma

No mechanical issues at all.
My oil temperature gauge fried at 140000km. Replaced with a used one, I bought on ebay for $30.
That's pretty much it.

Notoriousbmg711 karma

How’s your back?

paolo_032 karma

next question, please ;)

kuru_fasulye10 karma

Hi Palolo, very interesting AMA! How do you manage the visas in the different countries? How is it with registering your bike? Any difficulties with the Authorities? Thanks!

paolo_024 karma

For most countries, having myself an Italian passport, I have visa on arrival, so no problems in that sense.
Bike doesn't have to be registered. I get issued a temporary import visa of the same length of my stay, to be able to transit through the country.
I was very lucky with the local authorities overall.
Only one time in Panama, the officials tried to get and "early christmas present" but once i started recording using my helmet mounted gopro, It deterred them from issuing me an unfair speeding ticket. ;)

las3rschw3rt10 karma

How do you financially handle that? Do you have sponsors?

paolo_029 karma

I worked and saved up for 5 years, without spending a cent.
I have sponsors but no money involved. Just product testing and marketing.

Mister_Average10 karma

This is a great AMA! In your experience, do you think an American would receive the same hospitality throughout South America and Europe on a similar trip? Also, how do you plan the rest of your life now, having experienced this unique and amazing journey? My first reaction was "how will he be able to continue a career with a 4-year break," but maybe that's just the American capitalist lizard brain in me.

paolo_016 karma

I met many americans that were received as warmly as I did, in Latin America. There were a lot instead that didn't "open up" and weren't welcomed as easily.
It's all about how you put yourself out there and how much you respect a culture that is different than yours.
I have no issues in changing my career to something else.
Work is not a priority for me. It's just a way to sustain my lifestyle.
My skillset is the same. I just gained more life experience now, which nowadays is considered highly, during hiring process.

Niblit_lvl509 karma

Whats the most important equipment to bring on a journey like this?

paolo_028 karma

No equipment is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. You can have the best equipment in the world for camping, tools, rain, etc and ending up not using those at all...so It's kind of hard to reply to this question.
You can't be prepared for everything in trip that lasts years!
Although, I believe that the best thing you can bring with you on a transcontinental trip, is COMMON SENSE.
You'll make it anywhere with it !

Asells9 karma

I imagine it rained a lot which is pretty unsafe and wet on a bike how often were you caught in bad storms on your bike and what did you do?

paolo_011 karma

Rain is dangerous, but snow is even more.
Check on my instagram if you want to see some snow rides.
I've been caught by rain before. I usually just slow down.
For snow instead, it's pure luck. And slow down even more. ;)

Kon-Tiki668 karma

Bike details. Make, model, etc. How happy were you with it and has the manufacturer contacted you for testimonial?

Looks like a KTM from your IG photos?

paolo_014 karma

Yes!
I rode a KTM 1190 Adventure S.
It is my first KTM and I am probably the biggest fan of the brand ! :)
KTM hasn't contacted me, unfortunately.

But I am no celebrity, so there's no need for them to use me as testimonial.

bonjouratous8 karma

You're obviously in good shape, how do you keep fit?

paolo_016 karma

I used to do a lot of sports growing up. I always kept fit and in good physical condition. Now I'm a bit tired though, but 4 years on the road, without having a regular diet or exercise routine, takes a toll on you, no matter how fit you are.

Tanzo428 karma

Ciao Paolo! I am from italy too, my question is: what is your usal baggage while you travel? Saluti da Roma!

paolo_010 karma

Ciao! I have 3 main bags.
2 panniers, one containing camping stuff, and the other one has all spares, chargers, and various tools.
The last bag has only clothes in it.
I also have a tank bag which contains all my hard drives, sunscreen and cables I use to charge my devices.

8armdevil7 karma

That's really awesome! How many sets of tires, brakes, chains, sprockets etc did you go through? Did you meet anyone really spectacular and if so did you hang around in places because of them? Did you have a schedule? How did you get the bike across the sea?

paolo_013 karma

So many questions! :)
I changed 23 times oil and filters. Replaced 13 rear tyres and 6 front ones. 4 sets of chain and sprockets. 5 sets of brake pads and one rear disk. 4 air filters. 4 shock seals. 2 windshield.
I met a lot of spectacular people along the way, but I always had to keep up with my schedule, which was not time restricted but mostly season dependant.
I had to time crossings and directions, depending on seasons, tides or weather conditions.
I shipped the bike from Sydney to South America via cargo ship and from Canada to Ireland via plane.

Release_the_KRAKEN3 karma

Hey Paolo, I've got more questions for you too!

  • What modifications did you make on your bike before you left? Did you make any during the course of your trip?

  • Hard or soft panniers? Any add on brands you would recommend besides KTM?

I'm in Canada and it's always been a big bucket list dream of mine to ride across Canada... Only I've never ridden a motorcycle in my life! I plan on doing all the courses. Training, and buying a "new" 2018 KLR 650 next year after I have enough money saved up, but how did you transition from being totally new to riding to going on mega trips?

Thanks for the answerers! This AMA is awesome!!!

paolo_06 karma

Hey Mate!
Crossing Canada was awesome. I highly recommend it!
There's no preparation for any trip. You just have to take a leap of faith and not overthink about it too much.
You'll figure it out along the way, mate!
Your KLR is already a "ready to rock" kind of bike.
I would recommend fitting a radiator guard, bash plate and maybe heated grips (?).
you'll be just fine with the stock version.
If you have some spare $$$$, maybe change the shocks, which are usually the weak points of all japanese stock adv bikes.
Soft panniers mate. no need to make a bulky bike, bulkier. :) I've been using Giant Loop and they served me beautifully. They also sponsored me too, so just saying.

Valenshyne6 karma

What place were you most excited to see, and then were disappointed by when you got there?

paolo_015 karma

There are a lot of touristy places in the world. Some of these is better to visit when there less or no people, otherwise your experience could be ruined by a million selfie sticks or kids yelling at their parents because wanting to leave, etc.

Iguazu falls, was a mindblowing place to visit. Unfortunately it was packed so it kind of ruined my experience of it.
Also Machu Picchu, you gotta time it right if you don't want to be stuck in 2-3000 people all taking the same selfie.

7questions116 karma

Hi Paolo, Congratulations for the trip, its the trip of a lifetime. Was there a time, and I'm sure it was, when you felt alone and needed human interaction? What was going through your mind and how did you overcome it. What would be your advice in terms of mental health on such a long journey alone?

paolo_015 karma

Thank you.
Mental health is a huge part of the journey. Of everybody's journey I would say.
But in a trip like this, you need to be able to be ok by yourself. Silence has to be an ally not an enemy.
There were times when I felt exposed, yes, an I purposely searched for human interaction. The web and social networking help a lot in this sense, even for socially challenged persons like me (or especially for people like me).
Everybody that travels is looking for something. This thing is different for each one of us.
Even two people travelling on the same road, at the same time, could have a different experience.
As we travel, I believe we need to take some time to be by ourselves. This time is necessary to think and to investigate silence, which most of the times contains the answers we need.
Social interaction is important to confront yourself, to verify the information that we process in our brain; but if we don't give our brain time to process our own thoughts, we will be easily confused.

Veldron5 karma

What road would you say was the biggest test of your skill so far, and what road do you want to ride the most?

paolo_015 karma

There's a stretch in Bolivia, inside the Eduardo Avaroa national Park, that sits at 4300m of altitude. There are no real roads there, just 4wd marks on the terrain.
It's 500km to cross it all, from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile, to Uyuni in Bolivia.
That tested me pretty good.

Also, the Gibb River Road in Australia. 1500km of dust and corrugation. 1 gas station. Pretty intense.

Tonzo1005 karma

Where is next on the list of places to go ?

I want to drive through africa but I am not sure how to plan it!

paolo_010 karma

I'm going to ride from Italy back to Australia, via middle east and south east Asia.
Africa is a whole other trip for me.
There are many people that rode it and it's quite ok. Not so bad as we probably imagine.

The best recommendation I can give you is to start with some small trips to Morocco and Tunisia.

NickPlusYou5 karma

I'm doing a study on confidence, specifically self-confidence.

What inspired this trip? In the most positive, respectful way I can say it, what do you feel gives you the confidence to ride and not to stress about breakdowns, getting lost, etc? (Also would like to send highest regards to you for doing such an awesome thing!)

paolo_09 karma

Thanks mate. I appreciate your message and your interest in the subject.
I'm not the most confident person out there. I've usually considered myself quite shy and introvert, compared to my peers.
What gave me confidence always were my physical capabilities. Sports always built confidence in me, because allowed me to visualize my limitations and my potentials.
In this sense having a background of strong extreme sports, allowed me to not worry too much about the physical challenges that may have occurred in a trip this dimensions.
Mentally, It really just took a bit of madness. You gotta throw yourself out there.
Mechanically, I decided to buy a fairly new bike, built with quality materials and that felt pretty strong in itself.
The confidence of riding, I earned the hard way, since I've been on a motorcycle since I was 8 years old.
Having the guts to travel by myself in a foreign country, was a slow process to master; I started travelling pretty late, compared to modern standards, at age 24. Moved to USA and then Thailand and then Australia. These experiences gave me the confidence to be ok in riding in other countries other than mine.
Working it IT, I was pretty much confident in using GPS and mobile devices to find my way even in unknown territories.

As you can see, I was no prodigy kid. I just build up slowly to gain my confidence to overtake my fears and uncertainties. I always kept pushing and never stop challenging myself.

fn0000rd5 karma

What was in your emergency kit?

paolo_017 karma

Garze, gloves, saline water, patches and a lot of hope.

W1D0WM4K3R4 karma

Does your bike have a name?

paolo_012 karma

Yes. Her name is Bronte.
It's the name of the small town I used to live in Australia.
It's also town in Italy and it reminded me of home in many ways.

Stierscheisse4 karma

Why did you remove the brands graphics from your bike, any experiences that made you do it? It also looks like you were spiteful for not being sponsored. Did you try? Shoutout to r/KTM/ btw, they'd love to read from you too!

I once rode 1300 km, half highway, half countryroads, through Europe in 16 hours. Towards the end I noticed that my brain turned the feelings in my hands upside down, like my hands were individually inverted upside down, wrapping the handles "with the back of my hands". I got very cautious, took a break, and it subsided. Did you experience anything similar?

paolo_011 karma

I removed all graphics from my bike because I believe discretion is better than being eccentric.
Riding with a bright outfit or a motorcycle full of stickers and colours in places you don't know or you don't want to be too visible, is not a good idea in my opinion.
I preferred the "all Black" theme, so people never knew who I was or where I was from.
KTM never supported my trip. No beef about it. :)

I never experienced anything like you did.
But trust me, mate, if you ride more than a 1000 km in one day, you are going to feel it !
The real question is, was it truly necessary to ride that much?
I once did it. I remember just passing out at the end of the day without eating.
No need for that

Econometrista4 karma

Did you cross the Andes? Like going from Colombia to Argentina? How hard was it if yes?

paolo_016 karma

Yes. I Crossed the andes many times. There are pretty beautiful roads to do that. They even go up to 5200m of altitude. Hard to breathe. You feel like somebody is sitting on your chest. I had trouble sleeping the first 2 weeks.
Luckily the bike is all controlled electronically and fuel injected so it's all regulated automatically.

ScrattleGG4 karma

Hi there.

So what gear did you use on your journey? And brands you'd recommend that lasts and any you splurged on that didn't last at all?

paolo_09 karma

I used Dainese gear. It's an Italian brand that sponsored me and gave me full outfit for my trip.
In australia though I rode with jeans and tshirt and an old leather jacket I had.
I mean, If you are short in cash, I recommend you buy used gear.
You'll be able to find a good deal around if you search patiently (I sold my used Dainese outfit for $100 on gumtree).
Dainese is a great brand and makes probably the best products on the market but I wouldn't recommend to spend too much money on it.
May be better to invest in a good helmet and good boots.
I had AGV and Dainese Boots.

avsalom4 karma

Did you post a ride report on ADVrider?

paolo_06 karma

I didn't. But I write articles for them now every once in a while.

JazzonBH3 karma

I myself have been contemplating doing something like this but it all seems extremely overwhelming. Were there any specific events that really made you go for it and how has your world-view changed since embarking on this journey?

paolo_015 karma

I decided to go for it when I realized that I was wasting my life just working and working without going anywhere. I took my inspiration from youtube videos of other travellers.
I definitely have a changed view about the world now.
Its complexity amazes me but It has been hard, since I came back, to process all that happened in the past 4 years.

TalkingBackAgain3 karma

Add what point did your ass get saddle sore?

What was the best meal you had?

Where did you have it?

What was the worst meal you had?

Where was it?

How much did it cost?

Did you at any point find the company of an enthusiastic fan along the way who agreed to have sex with you?

paolo_09 karma

After 600km in one day, you start to feel that your arse is gone. When you hit 800, you start to swap from one leg to the other. at 1000 you just basically sitting on your bones. Ouch.

I think the best meal I had was in Mexico. I had this ceviche in this tiny small town in Sinaloa that was....DAMN. unreal. Mexico has some incredible food.

I think the worst meal was in Canada. It was a $1 Knorr dry chicken soup I made myself while camping in Yukon. Rough stuff.

There were few of those, matter of fact. My very first fan was in south america and she was completely crazy about me, even though I never met her before. She followed me for few months prior to our encounter.
She was definitely willing to give herself to me, without any problems. The issue is that it is quite frightening to see a person so obsessed with you, and knowing "everything" about you, even if you never spoke to her!
It was a no for me. Subsequently, it turned out to be a wise decision not to have anything to do with her. She is a 35yo woman and I heard she had printed photos of me in her bedroom and stuff like this. A bit too much for my taste.
From that experience I learned that "having fans" is not that great after all.

ogretronz2 karma

What’s the point of driving around for four years?

paolo_02 karma

what's the point of waking up every day and work for 8 hours for 40 years?

-Mamba-2 karma

Which continent was the most exciting to drive across?

paolo_07 karma

Probably South America.

1995ShakerGT1 karma

Any advice for someone who would like to do something similar one day? How heavy was your luggage?

paolo_06 karma

I had a big motorcycle with a powerful engine, so there's no real issue with luggage weight. although if you are not able to lift your bike with your luggage on, I recommend you to trim down or find a lighter motorcycle.
I would definitely recommend to do something like this to EVERYBODY.
Just start planning the few things you need. Start saving. And stop spending money in things that are not trip related.
You'll be impressed how much money you save if you already put your mindset toward your goal.

El-hurracan1 karma

What was the worst breakdown you experienced with your ktm? (a ktm was my first bike and had many electrical issues)

paolo_04 karma

NO BREAKDOWNS :)

OsonoHelaio1 karma

Hey, not bike related, just wanted to say my great grandfather Angelo Cattaneo came from the Piedmont region of Italy. Is it a common surname?

paolo_02 karma

Cattaneo is a very popular last name in Italy.
I believe it comes from sicily but it's quite popular here in the north part of Italy. Especially here in Lombardy.

euron_my_mind1 karma

How far ahead did you plan on your trip. Did you know where you'd be at the end of the day/week/month?

paolo_02 karma

At the beginning I planned to travel around Australia only. So that took me a year roughly to plan.
Then the world tour, took me 3 months, to organize shipping and things in general for the departure.

Since day one, I never really knew If I was going to make it back in one piece, really.
But yeah, I never really planned an itinerary. I just had a general direction to where to go.

supreme_1011 karma

Hey Paolo!

I've actually managed to meet a couple of people in the last few years who have done massive bike trips - one from Sydney to London on an Enfield and another who did Denmark to Australia (in progress) How do you feel with inevitable breakdowns and how many did you need to deal with?

I am sure a KTM is more reliable than a leaky bastard like a royal Enfield!

paolo_02 karma

Hey ! Yep, sometimes going with "cheaper" doesn't necessarily mean that you are going to be able to fix issues more easily.
I had no breakdowns, whatsoever, so "inevitably" for me wasn't in the equation.
although I believe it mostly depends on how you ride and how you service your bike.
RE are reliable bikes but surely you need to keep an eye to a couple of things if you start to abuse those.

Mika_the_Corgi1 karma

Ever felt unsafe? I know I've dodged a few bullets travelling, but in the end I know it was me who out myself in those situations. (In South America btw)

paolo_02 karma

Yeah, a couple of times I didn't feel the safest.
You know, Brazil can get sketchy and also Colombia wasn't too relaxing at times.
Aside from this, I never really encountered major safety issues.
Except when I got my tool bag stolen from my bike, in Canada.
you can never relax 100% ;)

Br3ena1011 karma

I would love to do something similar with my campervan but I am afraid of taking that first step; mostly due to a fear of having any potential regret and not having enough saved. Have you got any words of encouragement or motivation for someone who is struggling to turn their dreams into actions? What did you say to yourself? Thanks!

paolo_02 karma

The toughest part of taking "this road" is to make the first step; to leave your job and tell everybody you are leaving for a bloody roadtrip.
To take that leap of faith you have to question yourself; no one else can take this decision for you.
I quit my job and change country many times now. Never regret it.
Life is short and you never really think about the fact that you are healthy and strong now, but tomorrow you never know what could happen to your or one of your dears.
So the best time to leave is NOW.
Money is a concern but trust me that if you allow yourself to be flexible and adapt, doors will open for you and you'll find solutions to your money issue.
Also, your van (or bike) is an asset too, which you can sell, in case of extreme emergency.
Just have a plan B and C, and take that PLAN A!

fluffspeed0 karma

What moment did you think, maybe it was a real bad decision?

paolo_00 karma

Once, I went for a run and I ended up by mistake in a Favela in Brazil.
I shouldn't have gone there.

OOPS!

zelenisod0 karma

What jobs did you do in Australia to make money?

paolo_00 karma

I was a System Administrator (IT guy).

BadBoiBill-2 karma

Have you ever considered getting a job?

paolo_01 karma

On the road you mean??
Well...I think I may have to now! :)
I managed to stay away from work till I could, and just enjoy the journey.