– About me –
My name is Stergios, I’m from Greece and on October 27th 2013 I started traveling around the world (I hope) on my tiny Vespa PX200 scooter. I was born in 1987 and I’ve spent 2 years studying to be a car / motorcycle mechanic, in my hometown Thessaloniki. For the last few years I had been working as a waiter in cafes and restaurants. To tell you the truth, that had been my occupation for more than the last few years due the crisis, but I really liked my job!
– The decision –
I guess you are interested in learning why I decided to travel on my Vespa…Ok, I’ll tell you! I was a bit tired staying in Greece doing nothing but drinking “frappe” coffee on the beach. I always had in mind doing a big journey, something crazy that would take me away from the Greek miserable reality. From the moment I first rode my Vespa, I knew that something had changed in me. My first trips were in Europe and I always managed to make it somehow: I was working, so every summer, I could have some savings and some free time. But gradually, things became more difficult: I was still working but I couldn’t manage to have neither enough savings, nor enough free time! The “best” thing happened to me in 2012 when my salary at the pizzeria I was working that time, miraculously decreased at 210 euros per month! Additionally to that, the relations between me and my friends changed because we found out that the way we think about life is completely different and we couldn’t communicate anymore (I can’t stand hearing the phrase: “Praise God that you can at least have that few money and do not complain about anything…”). But the worst thing was the gold mines in my home town…the Greek government decided without asking or at least discussing about it first, to sell at ridiculously low prices the public land around my hometown (Skouries, Halkidiki) to a mining industry, without taking into account the people or the huge environmental problems that this “investment” would cause. Suddenly, everything in my life was a mess, so I took the decision to go! The original plan wasn’t to be by myself, Giorgos and Thanos, two friends of mine would also follow. Unfortunately, due to personal reasons Giorgos never started the journey and Thanos abandoned it after some time. The day we started to plan the trip, we had about 20 euros in our pockets but we were really lucky! Not only did I manage to make some money by selling almost everything I had (my bicycle and my other small motorcycle, my previous cell phone, etc…), but just before we left, I also took back some money owed to me from long ago! That was it: on the 27th of October 2013, I was on my Vespa beginning my big adventure and riding towards Africa!
– The vehicle –
I have a 2003 Vespa PX200, 2 stroke engine, one cylinder, air-cooled, 200 cc’s. I bought it second hand on 2006 for 1,500€ just to go to my work and back home without waiting for hours in the traffic, but after the first rides outside the city I got really addicted in traveling. Once I got on my Vespa I felt the ultimate freedom that only a motorcycle can offer. The funny thing is that before I bought the Vespa I used to “hate” motorcycles!
The bike had around 71,500 miles on the clock before the start of this trip, and it had traveled in several road conditions such as snow, dirt and tar roads, and also on tracks doing some racing. My Vespa had never broken down and every single component was working properly so I never had to put a hand inside the engine. The only thing I have been doing until today, is to change the oil, the spark plug, clean the air filter and go! That’s why I love 2 strokes. Simple engine, simple to maintain, simple to fix.
– The plan –
The plan is simply to travel all around the world! One day I’ll be back home. But I don’t know when. My plan isn’t to migrate, it’s to travel. Our “nice” Prime Minister (Antonis Samaras, EX-PRIME MINISTER as from the 25th of January!!!), by following all these policies of austerity, offered me the chance to travel, so I grabbed it! During the last 11 months of preparing the journey I sometimes felt worried (I almost canceled it a few days before I go) because trying to survive in Greece started to seem more adventurous than traveling around the world! I don’t know exactly when I will return. It depends on my budget (the thinner my wallet gets, the closer I’ll be to Greece) and on my personal goals. If I don’t feel fulfilled by my journey anymore, I’ll stop it. Until this moment, my journey is the most powerful experience I’ve ever had!
– Budget –
People are asking me how do I finance my trip and where do I find the money to pay for my accommodation, the petrol and the food that I need. Many of them think that in order to do such a big trip you need to be a millionaire. Big mistake! Not only I’m not a millionaire but at the time I took the decision to start this adventure I was actually unemployed, with literally no money in my pockets. So how is it possible?
First of all, I sold all the small and unnecessary things I had (a bicycle, my old mobile phone, some motorcycle cloths and accessories and another motorcycle I had – a 2001 Aprilia rs250). Then I was very lucky and I finally took a scholarship from my technical school after a five years delay (!) and some money as severance pay, all thanks to my beloved government. But the most important of all is that I try to keep all of my expenses in a very low level! Usually, I prefer to sleep in my tent, I always travel in low speeds so that my scooter consumes less petrol (the average fuel consumption is around 3.3L/100km or 71 US MPG) , I try to have only the absolutely necessary things with me and be as lightweight as possible (I’m not the best in this part but I’m working on it!) and most of the time, I cook my own food on a petrol stove avoiding all the fancy restaurants. So all the money that I spent and all of my expenses for the first 438 days I had been traveling through Africa were 5,491€ in total or 12.53€ per day!
Ο καιρός πέρασε γρήγορα, το πρωτογενές πλεόνασμα είναι πραγματικότητα, οι δουλειές ανοίξανε και το χρήμα πλέον ρέει άφθονο! Έτσι, πιστοί στο ραντεβού – αναβολή που δώσαμε τον Απρίλιο, ξεκινάμε στις 27 Οκτωβρίου 2013 να ζήσουμε το δικό μας Success Story, ελπίζοντας φυσικά σε μια λίγο καλύτερη κατάληξη από αυτή του Αντώνη!
Το πλάνο μας είναι πολύ απλό και έχει ως εξής…”Ξεκινάμε και όπου μας βγάλει!”. Καλά μην βαράτε, έχουμε ένα πολύ πιο γενικό μπούσουλα, σύμφωνα με τον οποίο σε ένα χρόνο από την εκκίνηση θα “πρέπει” να έχουμε κάνει τον γύρο της Αφρικής. Απλά επειδή και μόνο στο άκουσμα αυτού του “ένας χρόνος – γύρος Αφρικής” και οι πλέον έμπειροι ταξιδιώτες αντιδρούν κάπως περίεργα, δυσανασχετούν και στην καλύτερη των περιπτώσεων γελάνε μαζί μας και μας προσγειώνουν λίγο άτσαλα στην πραγματικότητα, είπαμε κι εμείς να αφήσουμε το άγχος και τα πρέπει ΕΞΩ από αυτό το ταξίδι. Αυτό το ταξίδι θα είναι ταξίδι ζωής. Η μάλλον περιπέτεια ζωής! Έτσι θέλουμε να το αντιμετωπίσουμε απ’την πρώτη μέρα. Ούτε πίεση, ούτε άγχος, ούτε πρόγραμμα!
Με αφετηρία τη Θεσσαλονίκη για τον Στέργιο και τη Λάρισα για τον Θάνο και καβάλα στις 2 βέσπες μας, έχουμε ως αρχικό στόχο να φτάσουμε στο Μαρόκο με καράβι μέσω Ιταλίας. Έτσι θα πατήσουμε για πρώτη φορά Αφρικανικό έδαφος με τα μικρά μας 2τροχα! Με όλο μας τον εξοπλισμό φορτωμένο, θα κινούμαστε αναλόγως με τα κέφια μας. Υπολογίσαμε στο περίπου πως αν καταφέρουμε να καλύψουμε την περιφέρεια της Αφρικής οδηγώντας, τα χιλιόμετρα που θα έχουμε γράψει έκαστος θα είναι κοντά στις 40.000 με 50.000!
Κι αν δεν μας φάει κανα λιοντάρι στη ζούγκλα, θα συνεχίσουμε προς Ασία ή Νότια Αμερική. Εδώ επιβιώνουμε τόσα χρόνια μέσα σε μια κοινωνία γεμάτη άγρια θηρία, θα πτοηθούμε από μερικά γατάκια;