Mountaineering with David Kretz
1. When did you start riding bike?
My name is David Kretz. I am from Switzerland. Born 22.04.1986. I always wanted to ride a motorcycle but i never had the money for it since i was focused on Mountain biking. First time i rode a motorcycle was 2012 when I went with some good friends to the Philippines for vacation. We rented motorcycles there and did a road trip on some of the islands in the south part of the country. One year later I bought my first own motorbike and sold my car because it alway s cost me too much money. As a student it was hard to afford. Without my car it felt like a weight was liftet from me. I mean i loved my old timer car but i always had to worry about something to fix I didn’t either have a garage to park it. In rain or snow my car was parked in the street, so after some years I also had to worry about rust. With a motorbike and without car all this changed, my worries were gone and i felt like i could go anywhere without having to spend a lot of money for gas and maintenance.
2. Tell us something about your 1st road trip.
My first road trip by motorbike: I bought my first motorbike in 2013 after i sold my car. It was a Yamaha Virago XV750 from 1990. It was a chopper style bike. I wanted to have this kind of cruiser bike. One that is stylish to ride but the easy way, like in the Easy Rider movie. I was afraid i would break my neck if i had a race bike. In the summer semester break i was invited to my cousins wedding in east Slovakia. I was thinking that it would be nice to go there with my motorbike. I knew right away that if i go that far which is 1800km to Kosice, Slovakia i would want to go further as well and explore countries i have never been before, like Romania or Ukraine. So thats what i did. It was my first time to go on a motorbike tour on my own. I ordered one side box for my bike, at the other side I attached my hiking backpack. My idea was to ride along the carpathian mountains, since i really like Mountains. I took my camping gear with me and set off for the road. I was a bit concerned that i might get bored or lonely when camping alone. But this wasn’t the case. There is so much to do for maintaining a camp by yourself. Gathering wood, making a fire, cooking or bbq, preparing my bed, which was a hammock, mattress and sleeping bag, and then cleaning dishes. In the morning it usually takes me 1-2 hours to pack everything before continuing riding my motorbike. In the cities i was always looking for a place to sleep at local peoples place. Its called Couchsurfing. This is a Website (www.couchsurfing.org) where people offer you a free space to sleep at their home. It can be a couch, a guest room, or just space to put your own mattress. It totally depends on the host. Through the website you can people a a request for staying at their place. Sometimes its easy to find someone and sometimes its quite hard to get a host. After the wedding in Slovakia i continued to south east Ukraine and after to Romania. It was the absolute freedom to just go where ever I wanted without having to ask anyone and also to have everything i needed for survival with me on my motorbike. In Bukarest I figured that it is not too far away from Istanbul any more, so i decided to ride all the way to Istanbul. When i got there I was so amazed how far I got by myself with my own motorbike. The fact that I got from Switzerland to Istanbul over land without taking a flight opened my eyes. I was thinking that i could easily continue riding east. Unfortunately I had to go back to Zürich to finish my studies. I rode back through the Balkan countries. On that trip i was on the road for 2 months, visited 17 countries and rode over 9000 km.
3. Did your family support you for your world tour?
I mostly got motivated by myself, after I realized on my last motorbike trip how much fun it is to travel by bike and that its possible to go far. My friends were already impressed how far i went last year and i also wanted to prove myself that i could go further and as far as i wanted to. People think I’m crazy to ride by myself around the world and to start with almost no money, but in some way they think its cool. People I meet along the way mostly like what I am doing and are impressed. Of course my parents didn’t want me to leave, especially my mom is worried that im passing unsafe countries. She misses me a lot. She was even telling me i shouldn’t go. My dad understands my desire of traveling, but he is still worried about me.
4. What made you to take such a big decision like selling your house for this world trip?
When i was on my road trip around eastern Europe the year before (question 2) I realized that I wanted to go further east than I did before. I made it to Istanbul last year which made me proud of myself. No one i knew rode ever so far. I was in my last master semester of my studies and i couldn’t stop thinking about traveling with my motorbike again. So i decided that when i finally manage to finish my studies I will have to go traveling with the motorbike again. My goal was to go as far as i can. I was looking at google maps and thought that i could make it to Iran, maybe even to India. Looking at the wold map made me realize that at one point it doesn’t make sense to turn back and ride back to Switzerland. If I am already so far away from home I could just keep on riding east around the world until i reach Switzerland again. When I was younger i used to look at google earth and search remote places in the world. I was looking at satellite images and was wondering how it would be to see this places with my own eyes and not from above on my computer screen. My idea to ride around the world somehow gave me opportunity so see all those places I only knew from pictures or stories. I knew that if i won’t do it after my studies I might get caught in a job, having an apartment responsibilities which would make it impossible to leave. That was my biggest fear. After i graduated my decision was made to leave my country for 2 or 3 years or for however long it takes. I also had to buy a new motorbike, because I realized already in Ukraine last year that my old yamaha wasn’t the right bike for roads like there or to find camp spots off the road. It was also quite old, I was sure it wouldn’t survive such a big trip. Finding out what exactly i would need to bring on a world tour and which products were the best was a big part of my preparation. For sure my camping experience helped me a lot to know what i need. I can tell you there is no point in making compromises when it comes to products you use every day. Just get the best for your needs even if its a bit more expensive. After some time i had my new motorbike and and most of the gear ready. I also had to get rid of my furniture and belongings i had in the shared apartment in Zürich where i was living in with other students. It wouldn’t make sense to pay rent while being away, so i gave my room away, threw furniture away, sold my bed and packed all my belongings to a few boxes, which ich stored at my parents and friends place. I even unregistered in Switzerland so i don’t have any residency or taxes to pay. Finally I left Switzerland the 27th of may 2015.
5. Did you try to get any sponsorship for your world tour?
I started to build my own website (www.twine.bike) to explain about my project to travel the world. Luckily I found some swiss companies who helped me out with giving me their greatest camping equipment and some other things.
6. For how long you are on your world tour?
After i graduated my decision was made to leave my country for 2 or 3 years or for however long it takes. Now its already one year that I’m on the road. I started 27th May 2015
7. Which places did you cover already?
I started in Switzerland, then i crossed a small Italian part followed by Austria, then Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bulgaria, a little bit through Greece, then Turkey, Georgia, Armenia and Iran. After I took the ferry from Bandar Abbas to the United Arabic Emirates. I spend some time in Dubai. Of corse i was Couchsurfing there because i wouldn’t be able to afford one night on a hotel there. Then my bike was then shipped to Mumbai in India. Zig Zagged through India, to Nepal and back to north east India, then to Myanmar, Thailand and now I’m in Cambodia.
8. Which places are yet to cover?
My plan is to find a way up to Alaska and then ride down to South America.
9. Did you get warm welcome everywhere?
Yes people are welcoming everywhere. The most curious people are for sure the Indians and they don’t make any effort to hide their curiosity. In other countries people are curious too, but they are more shy and respectful to privacy. No matter what, people are great all around the world! The most hospitable people are the Iranians. My plan was to pass Iran in 2 weeks but I ended up being there for 2 months. In Tehran i stayed for 5 weeks. I wrote a public request on Couchsurfing.com to find a host in Tehran. I was blown away how many people offered me a place to stay or to show me around. It was 60 people who replied to me. Some were even from other cities. This has never happened to me before nowhere in the world. I wrote a public request for Yerevan the same time i did for Tehran, but but not a single person replied there.
10. Till date, which place you have find the most beautiful among your visited ones?
This is really hard to say. All the places I have never been before so they were all exciting to me. But if we talk about the pure beauty of the landscape, Nepal is one of my favorites.
11. Tell us about your best experience and worst experience in the tour.
The most amazing thing is for sure to ride my motorbike the whole day in places I have never been before and never would have thought to see. To see the landscape passing by and changing with the distance while I listen to my favorite music is fantastic. The worst experience on my trip was to ride on Indian roads. Its just so dangerous. But now that I managed to survive India I am confident to survive everything.
12. After covering the whole world,what will be the next plan according to your bucket list?
I want the become the governor of California. Like Arnold. No just kidding. I have no idea. I will have to finish this one first, then I will look for a new challenge.
13. World tour is giving you the pleasure of human company and solace at the same time. But right now when you are far away from home, does your heart not crave for your home and your motherland?
I am traveling alone. None of my friends had time to join me. Everyone has responsibilities, its normal. This gives me the chance to make new friends and live with different families. Some motherlands are big, some are small, like mine (Switzerland). Its just a definition of borders. I am breaking the borders, so my motherland is the whole earth. Of corse I miss my local food, friends and family.
14. Message for your fans.
Thank you guys for following my adventure. Your words and appreciation of my work is a big motivation to keep editing the videos and uploading more pictures even if its hard work which doesn’t pay anything.
If you are not following yet, please do so:
Here is some Videos i made during this trip:
The First Days – TWINE.bike – s01e01 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikGX8tQF1d8
Bike & Wake – TWINE.bike – s01e02 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3pXGflO784
The First Offroad – TWINE.bike – s01e03 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZuo7_39x2A
From Kosice To Budapest – TWINE.bike – s01e04 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nL_CYejg0Ak
15. Message for LaughaLaughi.
If you read to this point you are probably sitting somewhere bored having nothing better to do. Get off your ass now and go exploring the world yourself instead of reading or watching other people doing it. Our world is a beautiful place discover it and take care of it. Don’t leave your garbage behind. Don’t leave the places you visit in a worse condition you have found them.
Interviewer : Prithashree Mitra Image Source : David Kretz