Republished below is an interview with Rory Moulton, originally featured on the online travel publication, The Vagabond List.
How were you inspired to do this project?
What were the best and worst experiences of your trip?
I'm not sure whether if I was inspired as much as scared into doing it. At one point I realized that my last ten years had gone by in the blink of an eye, with little more than work and daily routine; so I got terrified by the idea of blinking again. That's when I asked myself what it was I really wanted to do with my one and only life time before it rapidly passed me by, and the answer seemed to come instantly.
Your trip immediately conjured up memories of Che's iconic "Motorcycle Diaries". Any particular inspiration for your trip? I see you mentioned "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" in the book's opening chapter...
Now we really are in FAQ territory! This one is almost up there with "que cilindraje es?", lol. If you're saying "give it to me in two paragraphs so I can rate, label, and put it away in my head"... I'm afraid I really can't. But scroll down to see an attempt in the Q&A with Rory.
Describe the best and worst experiences of your trip. How do you cope with the bad? Conversely, how did you capture/hold onto the good?
Not really. But before the trip, I remember looking back, to remember the last time I'd done something unforgettable for myself. It was another motorcycle trip I'd done when I was 22, from Istanbul to St.Tropez. I've always loved motorcycles and open roads. They can get you anywhere, and get you away from anything, including your mind.
I think Pirsig's book has been inspirational in my life on many levels, but it has little to do with motorcycles really. On the other hand, perhaps this journey had little to do with them as well.
Tell us a little bit about your gear and how you chose it. Doesn't look like you brought a whole lot. Also, how did you keep it all safe and secure?
You know, after such a long journey, most questions that start with "the most" seem to be the hardest ones to answer. You pile up many equally memorable experiences, and in time even the most stressful one may turn into a pleasant memory.
Nevertheless, it's easier to tackle the question of tough ones, because there really wasn't that many to begin with. Getting a flat at night in the mountains of Chiapas, getting lost off the map somewhere in Peru then having engine failure, and some other mishaps have all become fun and fond memories. But I think the time a Peruvian Consul turned me around from the border and assured me that I was not entering Peru will always remain a bad memory. It would have literally ended the journey as there's no way of going around Peru. In the end, I was delayed for a few days, but another consul in another city helped me out.
Not as scary a story as you'd expect eh? Seriously, if people knew how much b.s. the TV feeds us, everyone would hit the road.
We just love the outline and formatting of the book. Everything about it is so slick and refined. Tell us about the idea behind the book and why you chose the app route rather than "traditional" publishing? Did you leave on the trip with a book in mind? What is the tech powering the book? Did you enjoy the app-development process? Do you have experience with app-book development or did you find the right partners?
The bike is a key component of course, and was chosen for its sheer simplicity. One thing I sure didn't want to deal with in far away places was an unnecessarily complicated vehicle. Had to be something basic, with very few things that can fail, and easily repairable, by myself for the most part. The Kawasaki KLR 650 fit the description perfectly. Unfortunately the build quality proved pretty poor. Nevertheless, can't complain after 40.000 miles on a $6000 motorcycle.
The photographic equipment made up the bulk of my cargo. I was carrying 2 SLR bodies, 3 lenses, 1 flash, 1 compact, 1 tripod, 1 suction mount, remotes, underwater housing, laptop, back-up drives, plus the camera rig on the bike, so at times it felt more like riding a two-wheeled truck. I also had camping gear of course. Never had a problem with theft or robbery, except the one time in a hostal where some other traveler stole my earphones, lol. The panniers and the top case were hard-shell lockable type, so that provided some comfort when I had to leave the bike unattended for short durations.
Lastly, give us some tips about long-term motorcycle traveling. These can be philosophic and/or concrete, "how-to" advice.
Thank you, I'm delighted to hear you've liked it.
I knew I would get back with lots of new images, but a book, I'd never even thought of. The images probably would've been handed over to my agents as stock visuals, and perhaps a few magazine editorials would come out of it.
The book idea actually came about with the introduction of iPad, which coincidentally took place at the end of the journey. Here was a device that would make publishing a book possible without the limitations and complications of the conventional print route. But before I could even think about the book, I'd first have to edit and process thousands of images, and that alone was a major part of the work.
Although I had some experience producing interactive content, developing for the iOS was completely new. But there was one very important factor that made it so appealing: for the first time ever, I'd have complete control over the user experience. No more display gamma factors, screen size variations, or hardware/software compatibility concerns. I basically had two devices to support, and what worked would always work exactly as intended*. (* so I thought at the time )
I can't say I really enjoyed the development process. It was a tremendous amount of work, and after 3 years of living my dreams, it felt even more exhausting. But at the same time, it was almost an obligation. For whatever reason, I simply had to get it out, and do it justice while doing so.
Once the interface design, operation logic, html templates, graphic assets, interactive map, and the complete design brief was ready, I recruited a programmer to write the Cocoa Touch code thinking that the hard part was over. Of course, I was wrong.
Here's the thing... There really is no need for advice. If you can get out the door, you've accomplished the hardest part. The rest will come one day at a time. The world really is not out to get you. Be your best self, relax, and give it a chance to show you a good time.