A book in Italian, written by a couple who are expert motorbike tourers, Sebastiano and Eleonora. The story of their adventure, which took them from Zafferana Etnea, Sicilian town, to the Black Sea via Albania, Macedonia and Bulgaria, is incredibly interesting. The author is leaving in July for a round-the-world motorbike tour. We have met him and got him to tell us all.
Hi Sebastiano and thank you for accepting GIVI EXPLORER’s invitation.
HOW DID YOUR BOOK COME TO LIFE? IS IT THE RESULT OF A PROJECT PLANNED BEFORE LEAVING?
I decided to write ‘Fino al Mar Nero’ (As Far As the Black Sea), of which my wife Eleonora is co-author, only once I got back home. Actually what took form was the initial idea which took us to Bulgaria: discover a country which is not well known to bikers the world over, except as a route by which to reach Turkey. Its territory, really beautiful, deserved a tangible recognition.
WHAT DISTINGUISHES IT FROM THE TYPICAL TRAVEL BOOK? THE TWO OF YOU SIGNED IT: WHO DID WHAT?
we decided to talk about our experience from two different points of view: Of the biker and of the passenger. In this passage from the book I better express this concept: ‘A journey told by two voices which is also the story of a passion, that for motorcycles, but also the desire to travel, to meet different people, to learn new stories and… find ourselves’
USUALLY THE MOTORBIKE TOURER IN BOOKS LIKE YOURS LOOKS FOR PRACTICAL INFORMATION, TIPS, ITINERARIES, ETC. DOES ‘FINO AL MAR NERO’ FOLLOW THIS ROUTE?
Basically it’s a travel story destined both for the hardcore biker and the traveller who is curious about what can be found. The style is colloquial and familiar, made up of expressions and images that my wife and I share but which we have discovered touch many readers because part of a common feeling.
CAN YOU READ US SOME PASSAGE FROM THE BOOK WHICH YOU ARE PARTICULARLY FOND OF?
‘Life is a long journey. When this coincides with what you love most, done with the person you have lived with for the past 30 years of your life, on your motorbike, which is also your passion, in search of beautiful things and in contact with the most different peoples, then the journey is really complete…’
‘Sometimes it is very simple to communicate and in some cases I realise how easy it is to have a stranger tell you things about their life which you would never expect to hear. I do not know if these confessions come from the power of sharing ideas and opinions, or if they give meaning to a casual meeting, or if, more simply, it’s humanity that emerges, but surely I know it’s the result of the research for something important in a universe of futility, the research for something real’.
‘Many years ago, when I mounted on his motorbike for the first time , I thought that would be the biggest sacrifice he would ever ask of me. I learned to get on and off it with elegance, without hurting my knees every time, I learned to lean when curving, I learned to read resting on his back, to take pictures, videos, to write and mark maps, I learned not to feel tired after many kilometres and to see the world with new eyes. Always on the back of his bike, obedient ballast but not a sacrificial and sacrificed victim any more. Then one day I became jealous of his happiness while riding, I wanted to understand what you feel with the wind on your face, when you curve, when you ‘feel’ your bike. …’
WAS IT DIFFICULT TO FIND SOMEONE TO PUBLISH IT?
Not at all. The incredible thing is three publishing houses liked our book. In the end we chose Robin.
FINO AL MAR NERO by Sebastiano Coco and Venera Eleonora Russo
Publisher: Robin Edizioni Roma in the series Robin&sons/inviaggio
Format: paperback, 146 pages, 28 colour photographs
Price: 15 Euros
Release date: 19 November 2014
You can find it in all book stores and on IBS and Amazon
COCO ON THE ROAD – AROUND THE WORLD BY MOTORBIKE
Sebastiano now tells us how he plans to approach his ‘tour of the world’. An ambitious project, a great dream which will become reality on 16 July 2016… Again leaving from Sicily.
WHY THIS TRIP ROUND THE WORLD?
At the age of 57 I’ve decided to invert the hourglass of my time and dedicate a part of my life to making this dream come true.
I want to see the world, savour its smells, hear its sounds, mix with the most different peoples, to receive basically extraordinary feelings and experiences from this world.
THREE QUICK-FIRE QUESTIONS: HOW DID YOU PREPARE YOURSELF FOR THE DEPARTURE, HOW DID YOU CHOOSE THE ROUTE AND HOW LONG DO YOU PLAN TO BE AWAY FROM HOME.
I am leaving on 16 June 2016 on board my motorcycle, a BMW GS 1200 Adventure, from Sicily.
The first leg of the trip, of roughly 6 months, is going to take me all the way to Australia, through Greece, Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia, (again) Russia, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.
The second phase will cross part of Africa, from Cape Town to Dakar in the second half of 2017.
In the final phase I am going to cross the whole of the Americas, from the bottom of Argentina to New York during 2018. These last two parts are still being studied.
The part of the trip up to Australia answers my desire to see the marvels of Central Asia and do what is called the ‘Silk Route’. But the difficulty in obtaining visas and permits for China, moved my itinerary north, crossing the ‘far east’ of Siberia.
To give the trip continuity I will take a plane from Seoul to Bangkok and a boat from Malaysia or Singapore to Brisbane. And obviously also the journey home to Italy.
HOW MUCH DOES A ROUND-THE-WORLD MOTORBIKE TRIP COST?
Expenses are many, especially if you have no sponsors to support you. For the first phase I have estimated an investment of around 20,000 Euros. The two six-month stops, between the following stages are in order to find the funds necessary to complete the tour.
WILL YOU GO ON THIS TRIP WITH YOUR WIFE OR ALONE?
My wife will be with me as a passenger up to Taskend in Uzbekistan. After visiting Samarkand she will return to Italy, while I will continue my trip alone and with no logistic support.
We will meet again at the beginning of December 2016 in Australia, where we plan on visiting the main cities, to then return to Italy on 6 January 2017.
ARE YOU THINKING OF COLLECTING THIS EXPERIENCE, ONCE CONCLUDED, IN THE PAGES OF ANOTHER BOOK?
Surely from this experience a new book will emerge, hopefully structured in an original way like the previous one.
For this project there is a facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Coco-on-the-Road-Giro-del-mondo-in-moto-1491796804459070/
WE WILL BE FOLLOWING YOU CLOSELY. GOOD LUCK.