ADV Pulse

NEWSLETTER
Get ADV Pulse delivered by email
Sign up for ADV Pulse Weekly

Newsletter

Get ADV Pulse delivered by email
Sign up for ADV Pulse Weekly

Connect With Us

Follow On Facebook:

ADV NewsRiding Round The World When Quitting Your Job Isn’t An Option

Riding Round The World When Quitting Your Job Isn’t An Option

Who says you have to drop everything to go on an RTW journey.

Published on 08.29.2022

Very few riders can take off months or years to ride around the world, and with work and family commitments, it seems like a mission impossible for most… but is it?

A Lithuanian American rider Laurynas “Lawrence” Kalasauskas set out to prove it is possible to ride around the world all while maintaining your day job – and keeping your wife and children happy. Inspired by the iconic Long Way Round series by Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor, Lawrence kitted out his BMW R1200GS for long-distance travel and hit the road.

“I’ve been riding bikes since I was a kid, and I always loved the idea of motorcycle travel. I got hooked on the Long Way Round and Long Way Down, and soon, I came up with the idea to ride my bike around the world – except I couldn’t just take off indefinitely,”, Lawrence explains.


ADVERTISEMENT

Based in Philadelphia, Lawrence runs his own real estate business. With a busy work and family life, leaving to ride the world for years on end just wasn’t an option. But Lawrence decided to get creative and, instead of giving up, complete his circumnavigation of the world by installments instead.

The idea was simple: ride his bike for two or three weeks, then store the motorcycle, fly home for work and family commitments, and return to the bike a few months later to continue the journey.

The Long Ride Across the Americas

Having started in Las Vegas on April 30th, 2019, Lawrence rode his bike to Mexico where, according to the traveler, the adventure truly began. “Baja California was a blast: the scenery there is just amazing, and this was where I first experienced a bit of a misadventure. As I was traveling, I spotted a salt flat in the desert and figured it’d be fun to take a pic on the edge of it…Except, my heavy bike broke the crust and I got hopelessly stuck. If it wasn’t for passing riders, I’ve no idea how I would have gotten my bike out. That was a good lesson,” Lawrence shares. Eleven days and 2,528 miles after departing Vegas, he reached Acapulco where he stored his bike and flew back home.

Several months after taking his first break, Lawrence returned to where he left off in Mexico and rode across Guatemala and all of Central America before boarding the sailboat Stahlratte to get across the Darien Gap. In Colombia, Lawrence flew his family down to Bogota for a New Year’s celebration.

“Amazingly, finding a place to leave my bike in each country wasn’t difficult: I’d either reach out to the rider community or approach dealerships, and most of the time, finding a place to store the GS was easy. The one thing to watch out for is the timing: in some countries, you’re allowed to leave the bike for six months, while in others, it’s just three months, so I’ve had to time it right,” Lawrence explains.

By 2020, Lawrence had traveled Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, aiming to ride smaller backcountry roads and dirt as much as he could. He would sketch out a rough route at home, but would always allow for improvisation: instead of hitting bucket list destinations like Machu Picchu, Lawrence would instead aim to ask locals for directions and simply explore.

“No matter what route I have in mind for the next country, it almost always changes – I’d meet other riders on the road and hear some cool suggestion, or a local would point out an interesting road, and I’d just follow it. When I’m traveling on my bike, I just want to discover more remote places and have the freedom to roam. I’ll hit those tourist spots later, together with my family,” Lawrence shares.

Stuck in Peruvian Customs

Although the adventurer had experienced a few hiccups on his travels from the US to Peru, in 2020, everything changed. Because of the COVID pandemic, all land borders in South America were shut until spring 2022, and Lawrence’s bike was stuck in Lima, Peru, for two years. Unable to return to Peru and continue traveling, Lawrence worried that the Peruvian customs might seize his motorcycle: the standard time to temporarily import a vehicle in Peru is up to six months, and Lawrence had exceeded this by a year and a half.

Having left his bike at a BMW dealership in Lima, Lawrence came back for it unsure what to expect. Trying to extend the permit had proved fruitless, but as luck would have it, a local rider had helped him out. “As I came to the dealership to pick up my bike – and I have to say, they really looked after the motorcycle well! – I met a local Peruvian rider who just happened to have friends at the customs office. A few phone calls later, I had the green light to leave Peru,” Lawrence explains.

Leaving Lima, he traveled South to see the Atacama Desert and cross the Andes Mountains eastward heading for Bolivia. Here, the rider shares hospitality was lacking, but the scenery more than made up for it. “Bolivians are a lot more reserved, and it’s a bit of a hassle to get petrol, so I got the feeling that it wasn’t the friendliest country to travel, but then, every place is different, and you just have to adapt,” Lawrence shares. According to him, Bolivia’s infamous Death Road and the salt flats of Uyuni were truly spectacular.

Travel Costs

When it comes to travel expenses, Lawrence says that long-term traveling is cheaper than most people assume. The biggest investment is the motorcycle, the luggage, and the gear. After that, Lawrence says he’d often get by with spending just $30-$50 a day as he would camp a lot, stay at budget hotels, and eat at local, mom-and-pop eateries rather than splurge on fine dining. “This is an adventure, not a luxury cruise, and for that, you don’t need a lot of money,” the rider shares.

Always on the lookout for cheap flights to return home and then travel back to the bike, Lawrence says he paid $80 to get back to Vegas from Mexico, $99 to fly to Lima, $350 for the Panama flights; the only expensive flight was from Salta, Argentina ($1,200), but these costs, according to the traveler, even out over the years. For motorcycle storage, Lawrence often gets offers to store it at dealerships for free: dealers are happy to store an international traveler’s bike, especially if Lawrence chooses to service his BMW there. In Panama, storage cost him $2.50 a day, in Lima, $3.50 a day and in Salta, Argentina, just $1.50 a day. 

Open-Ended Journey

Once out of Bolivia, Lawrence rode his bike to Salta, Argentina, where he left the motorcycle at a local rider’s place to return for it in December and continue traveling South. Once the traveler reaches Ushuaia, the Southernmost tip of South America, the next leg of the journey remains unclear.

“Initially, I planned to ship my bike from Chile to Europe, cross Central Asia, Mongolia, and Russia and return home via Alaska. Obviously, Russia is no longer an option now in light of the current events, so I might have to figure out another route,” Lawrence explains. However, he isn’t worried: since his RTW travels don’t have a deadline, there’s still plenty of room to plan, change course, and have lots of adventures along the way.

Follow Lawrence’s journey on his YouTube channel.

Author: Egle Gerulaityte

Riding around the world extra slowly and not taking it too seriously, Egle is always on the lookout for interesting stories. Editor of the Women ADV Riders magazine, she focuses on ordinary people doing extraordinary things and hopes to bring travel inspiration to all two-wheeled maniacs out there.

Author: Egle Gerulaityte
ADVERTISEMENT

Related Stories

Related Stories

Comments
 0

Leave a Reply

ADVERTISEMENT

Watch: Getting It Wrong On A Big ADV Bike When You’re Chris Birch

After all the insane off-road stunts we’ve seen Chris Birch perform over th...

To Where The Road Ends: Dalton Or Dempster Highway - Which One?

The end of the road beckons. “Why” is a question as old as time. When a rep...

Enduristan Blizzard: Rackless, Rugged, Waterproof Saddlebags

Whether you’re planning a day trip or a weeklong adventure, a set of conv...