Could you start by introducing yourself to our readers? Tell us a little bit about your background.
My name is Alex Chacón, I was born in the USA, but I am from Mexican background. I speak Spanish and English. I graduated college to be a doctor and I’ve always ridden motorcycles since I was 14 years old.
Could you tell us how it all started and what was the motivation behind it?
The ability to reach far, unique, challenging and remote places not accessible to most travelers was my initial interest in traveling the world by motorcycle, and the cost-effectiveness, too. It also exposes you to the elements in a powerful way, where you feel like one with nature, as well as connecting you with the local people and culture in a more deeply rooted way than through other forms of transportation. It’s like you’re on ground zero with everyone else wherever you go. They treat you differently because they see you surviving on a daily basis, just like them.
Tell us about the Modern Moto Diaries? What is it about?
The Modern Motorcycle Diaries is my way of sharing my travels and experiences with different people and cultures around the world. Throughout my travels, I also like to capture helping people along the way through charitable projects and actions. I try to stay connected by updating my followers on my travels, via social media, with unique pictures from my most recent location. I also keep them posted on what I’m doing and what local charity I’m helping out. People can also follow my adventures on my YouTube channel, which features documentary-style video that captures my experiences throughout a trip. Traveling on a motorcycle is different than any form of transportation at times, because you’re giving some people a raw, unpolished view of a very unique experience.
It’s obvious in your videos that you are very talented on your motorcycle. How did you manage to learn cycling and what motivated you?
I picked up motorcycle riding because I wanted to have a vehicle to drive around as soon as possible when I was a teenager. Where I lived you could get a license to ride a motorcycle at age 15, while you had to wait until age 16 to get your car driving permit, so my choice was obvious. I also always liked motorcycles for the free spirit nature they encompassed and ability to go where most vehicles don’t. It was part of my creation of self-sustainability as a young male in a sort of rebellious way too.
Riding motorcycles is now like riding a bike to me. Driving around the world, I’ve been able to harness experiences and skills over the years that have allowed me to dance on the motorcycle, do handstands, and even go miles without ever touching the handlebars.
I’m sure your adventures were full of challenges and memorable moments. Could you tell us about some of the most memorable challenging moments you had?
Navigating the roads and countries, sometimes there are no signs or indicators which way to go, including the signs that are sometimes in a different language I can’t read. One of my worst experiences was driving through landmine fields in Chile, getting a parasite in India, stranded in the Patagonia for 4 days without food or help, and being lost in the desert for 6 days in Bolivia/Chile.
“Thank you” I believe this is the most powerful word in any language. It can save your life. I can vouch for that. My experience in the Middle East was quiet challenging, when I was detained by officials for no reason, no probable cause and no due process. I was profiled as a threat because they saw I was a foreigner riding a motorcycle in an area of recent political tension. Through the entire situation, I smiled and repeated “thank you” in Arabic, which I believe helped keep me from being detained indefinitely.
Stay tuned for part II of Traveling the World on a Motorcycle: The Amazing Story of Alex Chacón!