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ADV RidesBusinessman Gives It All Up To Ride World. A Look 10 Years After

Businessman Gives It All Up To Ride World. A Look 10 Years After

 How this career guy turned into a nomad on an endless RTW journey.

Published on 05.13.2020
NOTE: Make sure subtitles are on.

Ten years ago Carlos García Portal a.k.a. Charly Sinewan was over his hamster wheel routine when he bought a bike and throttled off on his first big adventure. Three bikes, five continents, sixty-plus countries and countless adventures later he shares a glimpse of how liberating – and complicated –  it can be to give up a successful career and comfortable lifestyle and start life over as a full-time motorcycle nomad. 

But first, let’s explain what’s behind the alias “Charly Sinewan,” under which Carlos has become known as a world traveler. Inspired as we all were by Ewan McGregor and Charly Bloorman, he noticed Charly would refer to his “trip with Ewan.” In turn, Carlos would jokingly refer of his “trip without Ewan,” sin Ewan in Spanish. Add that Carlos translates to Charly in English and a puny moniker was born. He had no idea how firmly it would stick.

Hard Choices

Businessman Charly Sinewan sells everything to ride the world

While we’ve heard many romantic tales of round-the-worlders making an abrupt decision to walk away from their traditional lives, Charly shed his contemporary life the way most of us would: A dip of one uncommitted toe at a time. “I was down… completely lost” he says. “I was afraid. I had worked really hard for years and felt secure in that sense.” 


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It was in 2009 while he was living in Madrid and working as a partner in a real estate-based firm that the constraints of his modern life began to feel suffocating. He was tired of getting up every day and doing the same thing. Tired of having the same conversations, tired of traveling the same routes, tired of knowing exactly where everything was and the quickest way to get there. 

Businessman Charly Sinewan sells everything to ride the world

So he asked his partner for a three-month hiatus, put his stuff in storage and packed up a 2007 Honda V-twin XL1000V Varadero (kind of a cross between Honda’s original Africa Twin and its sporty Superhawk). He traveled for 14,000k through France, Italy, Austria, Croatia, Montenegro, Turkey, Iran, Thailand, Cambodia, India and finally, Australia.

Charly says he doesn’t want to “sound like a self-help book,” but the three-month trip  “changed my life forever.” During those months he discovered that living in unfamiliar surroundings with no set plan forces you to be creative. And because each day is filled with new sites and situations, the hours become more tangible and memorable. 

He also discovered some important details about his nature. For example, he was perfectly okay with sleeping in random locations. He could find humor in predicament. He could eat with dirty hands. 

Businessman Charly Sinewan sells everything to ride the world

Yet he returned to his busy life in the city as planned because – as we can all relate – it’s just not easy to blow up a successful career or walk away from loved ones and the trappings of conventional life.

The next move was to ask his partners for a more flexible work pattern. He would work less and have less money, but he’d also have more time. After trimming all excess from his overhead and selling unnecessary things, Charley bought a used BMW F650GS, packed it up and headed down the west coast of Africa. During this phase he would ride for two months then go back to Spain to work for four months.

Becoming a Nomad

Businessman Charly Sinewan sells everything to ride the world as a nomad

Of the many months it took him to ride from Morocco to South Africa, Charly says he had no real difficulties, even in countries like Mali and Burkina Faso that are perceived as dangerous. Everywhere the people were kind and helpful. He says the only real problem occurred when he finally arrived in South Africa and had no desire to quit traveling and return to his comfortable life in Madrid. 

During these first years Charly found much to his surprise that he could make some money by sharing his journey via a blog. He had zero experience behind or in front of the camera when he started traveling, but he soon became knowledgeable, and watchable. As his audience grew he found companies were willing to sponsor him. He also found he could make some money speaking to groups about his travels.

Back in Madrid in 2013, Charly says he “couldn’t hold it anymore.” Living the back-and-forth of his two lives was too much.

Still not willing to cut the cord completely, he asked his partners four months off so he could finish his trip by riding up through eastern Africa.  When those four months were over however, Charly was still in Tanzania, a day’s ride from South Africa for someone in a hurry. He’d come to the conclusion that if he didn’t try to make a life of traveling as a nomad he would never forgive himself. 

Businessman Charly Sinewan sells everything to ride the world

Fast forward to his latest video posted ten years after his first trip on the Honda, this one celebrating that monumental decision to stay on the road. “It is not that easy, trust me” he says of giving up the stability and comforts of conventional life. “But in all these years I’ve never looked back.” 

His ride up through East Africa, a journey that was supposed to take only four months, took three years to complete.

No longer in a rush to get anywhere, his travel style has gotten “slower and more intense.” He stays until he feels he knows a place and its people. So far, he’s checked more than 60 counties off his To Explore list.

Charly’s videos, shared on youtube “almost every Sunday” describe the true essence of his adventures, most recently as he spent another three years exploring the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Cuba.

Once the roads and borders open up again, he’s headed toward Tierra del Fuego, though on the way he’ll undoubtedly spend several years getting to know Latin America culture in a way hurried travelers miss. 

So far, he says he has zero regrets about abandoning the life he lived as Carlos in order to slow travel the world as Charly Sinewan. 

In fact, he doesn’t even remember what that Carlos guy has in storage back in Spain. 

Businessman Charly Sinewan sells everything to ride the world

Follow Charly’s epic adventures on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

Photos Courtesy of Charly Sinewan

Author: Jamie Elvidge

Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.

Author: Jamie Elvidge
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3 thoughts on “Businessman Gives It All Up To Ride World. A Look 10 Years After

    • yes they really are, it turns out the vast majority only want to know what your doing, how your doing and if they can help. I love people from where ever I have gone.

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