Manu Torres and Ivana Colakovska of “Around Gaia,” were born in different countries and met in their late twenties when they discovered they had lead very parallel lives. Both came from middle-class families that studied in public schools just to take mediocre jobs to pay the bills. However, Manu and Ivana grew up as rebellious teens, not wanting to conform to that way of life. Now that rebellion, which was hard in some moments, has made them happy in their lives and has helped change the minds of loved ones.
The “Around Gaia” duo had never ridden a large motorcycle before when they decided to travel around the world on the Ténéré. They also had never studied photography or writing, but chose to use photography and tell their stories to help finance their adventure. As lovers of change and challenges they learned to use the camera “just like the birds learn to fly, by jumping off the cliff.” Their world tour with the Ténéré motorcycle began in April of 2013, and they are still on the road now.
Their greatest motivation is when people underestimate them. Manu and Ivan had never been more motivated than when a doctor reviewed Ivana’s broken leg X-ray and claimed the trip was over. Fueled by determination and messages of support from fans, they kept going.
“For us the decision to go around the world on motorcycle was easy, like when you decide go to spend the weekend at the beach. We had didn’t have a stable and promising work to quit, or a house to sell. We had what we had in our pockets because long ago we had very clear idea of how our life should be. We had long ago started a life of travels, the difference was we would do it on a motorcycle.”
After studying law at universities Manu and Ivana learned their place was outside and away from offices. They worked many different jobs including waiting tables, carrying bags at the cruise ports, and selling handcrafts on the beaches of Mykonos for over 10 years. This allowed them to travel for many months out of the year.
They have been traveling while respecting two simple rules: not using a GPS or maps, and not paying for places to sleep. From this they have gained something much more valuable, telling stories of faraway places.
When someone else is motivated by Manu and Ivana’s adventure and writes or sends a photo, they find it extremely rewarding. “Getting to encourage someone to travel in a different way, makes a better world possible if there are more travelers than tourists.”