Anto has always been curious about the world and its inhabitants. He started to travel when he was a teenager, cycling around Cornwall and Ireland during summer holidays. After 4 years working for an investment bank in New York and London, he decided he wanted to dive into the big adventure and take a journey around the world.
Anto achieved his dream by travelling over 56,000 miles overland, crossing 39 countries in 28 months. He says it was one of the greatest achievements in his life– while some chose to go back to the university and do an MBA, he chose to graduate in life, meeting people and seeing far-away places that helped him understand our world better, without being influenced by media or people’s thoughts. From sharing a tangerine in the middle of Dash-e-Kevir desert in Iran with a 60 years old camel keeper, to sleeping in a jungle shelter in Indonesia after having contracted Yellow Fever, the whole adventure was worth it. Here is his story about how he fulfilled his dream.
Making His Dream Come True
The idea was there but the departure line still far away. He first worked on an itinerary and a means of transportation. Cycling around the world requires too much time, so he opted for a faster vehicle: a motorcycle. He says he initially thought about a car but the interactions with people are limited.
“In a car you are a rich man before being an adventurous traveller. On a motorcycle, people get excited as soon as they see you. They are as curious about you as you are about them; it makes exchanges more dynamic. Traveling overland and on your own wheels offers a great level of freedom and forces you to go to places you would normally not go to, places that are not in any guidebook and sometimes not even on maps. You don’t fly between point A and point B; instead you slowly make your way there, seeing everything there is in the middle. You realize quickly that the journey is not the destination but the journey itself.”
Anto had never ridden a motorbike before and had no mechanical skills, so he started taking driving lessons and went back to college to graduate in mechanics.
Twelve months later, Anto was ready for his adventure to start: he had his driving license in his pocket, his itinerary was finalized and he collected the money he budgeted for his trip through his savings and sponsorships. He bought a motorcycle and named it Lizzy. Time had come to hit the road.
The Journey Begins
Being French he chose to start his big adventure under the Eiffel Tower in Paris. After crossing Europe, he entered the Middle-East and rode his bike through Turkey, Georgia, Armenia and Iran before sailing to UAE then India. He says driving in India was certainly his biggest challenge, due to the road’s condition and the local driving style. After stopping for a month in Nepal where he hiked across the Annapurna ranges, he entered South East Asia. For 6 months he discovered the charm of Far East connecting Singapore to Vietnam overland through Malaysia, Burma, Thailand and Cambodia.
From there he flew to Australia and explored the East Coast before flying to Chile to continue his journey in America. He drove from Santiago, Chile all the way down to Patagonia. He hiked and climbed several active volcanoes because he wanted to see with his own eyes what the pacific ring of fire was all about. After one month driving South, he reached Ushuaia, the southernmost point of the American continent and called the “end of the world”.
Convinced that the ride South couldn’t end there, he started looking to go further South and found a way to add one more continents to his journey. He boarded the Ocean Nova, an icebreaker boat sailing to Antarctica. He says that seeing this absolutely unspoiled and immaculate land was one of the most intense experiences of his life. Back to the mainland, he reversed his journey and moved North crossing from Argentina to Colombia by land. From there he reached Central America and made his way up to Mexico through Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala… to name just a few.
He finally crossed Mexico from South to North and entered the USA in November 2012, slightly more than 2 years after he started his trip. Coming back to the western world was a shock but he compensated it by visiting a lot of natural wonders. He followed Highway 1 through the Californian coastlines before checking out Yosemite, Death Valley and checking out the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park. Because the weather was getting colder, he chose to discover Southern hospitality and crossed through Texas, New Orleans, Alabama and South Carolina.
The Statue of Liberty
When he planned his journey, he decided the Statue of Liberty would be the symbolic final point of his trip. For years, he said, the Statue of Liberty represented the dream of people from all over the world who came to the US, seeking Freedom and Opportunities. He thought it made sense to end his adventure there, especially considering that the father of the Statue of the Liberty was French (from his area).
Everything has not always been easy during his trip and Anto faced unexpected challenges along the way. The first one was hearing issues caused by the intense riding. After a brief medical stop forced by his medical condition, he chose to jump back on his motorcycle and keep on with his project. The issue forced him to become more conservative on the distances he was crossing every day but he says adapting is also part of the deal.
The second challenge was when the friend with whom he started his adventure, decided to go home. These two events happened almost simultaneously, and although they affected his morale, God’s hand, as he likes to call it, helped him to stay focus and to look at his project on a larger scale. Destiny made him enter Iran right after those difficulties happened. He says that the incredible Iranian hospitality and kindness persuaded him to continue.
How he funded his Journey
According to Anto, travelling the world is not as expensive as it may look like. Once you leave Europe and the USA, the cost of living is very affordable for Westerners. Anto didn’t go to fancy hotels, and spent many nights under his tent or hammock, which made the journey unique.
The budget projection he made before departing revealed to be very conservative. With what he budgeted for 1 year, he managed to travel for almost two and a half years. To help finance his project Anto managed to bring some sponsors on board. They mainly provided him with technical equipment and support for his journey.
Next Steps Anto is back in Europe and is reconnecting with the life he left. His biggest challenge now will be building upon his experience, going back to a more standard lifestyle, and leveraging what he saw. Most importantly, he doesn’t want to impress people but to inspire them.
“Living a dream is not as difficult as people may think. You just need to have the desire to achieve those dreams strongly enough, and always be convinced that achieving them is worth all the sacrifices that they may require. Some people say what I have done is extraordinary; I don’t see it that way, I don’t think I am special, I just think I was committed to what I decided to do and overcame my fears to live my dream. I do believe that the biggest barriers you face are the ones you put in front of yourself. ”
The motto that helped him along his journey is “Believe that there is no limit but the sky.”
To learn more about Anto’s trip visit his website: lespassengers.com
Photos from Anto’s Trip: