A group of seven Czech travellers, four men and three women, are planning to ride across Latin America on scooters, covering 11,000 kilometres from Mexico to the most southern tip of Argentina. They hit the road next weekend in Cancun, and if everything goes according to plan, they should be back in Prague in June next year.
“It was our friend Marek’s idea. He was on a trip in South America and he really liked it there and wanted to go back. When he came home, he accidentally came upon a scooter in his garage and he got this idea. So that is why we are going. And also, nobody has done anything like that before.”
I guess everyone can ride a scooter one way or another, but it’s a different thing to cover 11,000 kilometres on a scooter. What distance do you plan to ride each day?
“It is different every day. It depends on the circumstances, but we want to cover around 60 kilometres a day. But we also plan to cover around 4,000 kilometres by boat, so it is not going to be only on foot. So it’s not that bad.”
So that still leaves you with seven thousand kilometres to be covered on scooter.
Can you tell me more about the journey itself? What is the starting point?
“We fly to Cancun in Mexico, which is where we set up our scooters. We then continue to Belize, Guatemala, Salvador and all the way down to Chile. We expect it will take us about six or eight months.”
Will you make some longer stops on the way?
“Yes, we want to enjoy the nature, we don’t want to set up a record in getting there as soon as possible. We want to stay in some parks and on the beach, enjoying the Caribbean.”
Do you plan to visit all the South American states or do you have to avoid some places due to safety reasons?
How long did you have to prepare for the journey? How long did you have to train?
“We all work full time, so it wasn’t that easy to train several days in a row. We tried to use the scooters in our free time. During the summer it was of course easier because the weather was nice.”
When I ride my children’s scooter, I usually use the same leg to push off. But I guess you have to change legs when you cover longer distances.
“It is not possible to use just one leg; you have to change them regularly. The distance doesn’t matter, but the legs have to be used regularly. But it comes naturally, once you start riding.”
I guess you are not using your childhood scooters, such as the one your friend discovered in his garage. Can you tell me more about your means of transport?
“It is a Czech-made scooter called Yedoo. It has a huge front wheel, which makes it easier to ride. We will be carrying all the things on our own, so it will be just the scooter and us.”
How much does the scooter weigh?
“Around seven kilos plus the luggage, which includes tents, sleeping bags, clothes and medicine. So it will be about 15 kilos.”
How did you raise money to finance your journey? Do you have any sponsors?
“We bought our flight tickets, but we were given the scooters by the Yeddo company, which was a firt big gif. Mark prpoached people explaining what teh project is about.. It wasn’t easy but we got some support.
So what is the idea behind the project? You told me you wanted to do something no one has ever done before, but there is more to the project, isn’t it?
“We wanted to make people that they can do whatever they like. We are living at a time when we can really do what we like. We don’t just have to go to work. We can travel, if we want to, and it is not that difficult.”
“For instance I was the last one to join the group. I quit my job, I gave up my apartment and in a week’s time I won’t have anything but the scooter. But I feel really happy and I am really excited about it.”
So did all of you have to give up your jobs?
So I guess it will be a life-changing experience for all of you.
You have already set up a blog, where you write about the preparations for the journey. Do you plan to keep on blogging while on the road?
“We would like to, but it depends on the technologies that will be available. But we would like to keep everyone updated and let them now what were are up to.”
You are also planning to make a documentary on the way.
“Yes, hopefully, we will make a documentary about the whole journey.”
And as far as I know you also want to raise money for charity.
“Yes, we joined a charity called We Can which supports children`s education. We want to visit schools on our way and let children draw pictures. After we return, we want to make a calendar that will go into auction and the money we raise will be given to schools.”
So when exactly are you setting on the journey?
“We are leaving from the Czech Republic on November 19 and flying to America from Germany on November 20.
So if everything goes according to plan, you will be back in June or July.
“Yes, we want to return when it is nice and warm.”
So you want to avoid winter in the Czech Republic?
“winter here is not very pleasant, so we just want to stay in the Caribbean, somewhere nice and warm.”