NEXX Riders Aida Valenti and Paul Arcadia met like most motorcycle enthusiasts, at a rally. Exchanging numbers and periodically riding stories.
A year would pass before they met again, this time for a life-changing adventure!
Aida and Paul are two totally different people. From childhood to their current status! In fact, their lives couldn’t be any more opposite from each other. Well, almost.
They have two commonalities, the love for motorcycles and their passion for adventure!
« I was working a job for 15 years, doing the same thing, a union job, good pay but I was miserable; all I wanted to do was to go on vacation and ride. I just had enough; I sold everything I had, left Long Island and went for a ride. Let’s see where I ended up after that.” Paul Arcaria.
But from where did the idea of Life Unloaded come from? Paul explains it in its own words:
« I read a book about South America and how people are generally happier with a lot less stuff. That’s all we do; we just accumulate stuff and then we buy a bigger house to put more stuff in it. That doesn’t bring happiness. All I wanted to do was ride. So…I unload everything! Why do we need all that stuff? It’s more important for me to travel and to experience. To see and smell, taste and hear, feel everything than just acquire more stuff – because in the end everything you own, owns you. »
« Hey, I’m not giving up my stuff; sorry, I’m keeping my stuff! I got kids, I don’t want to sell those, well I can make a good profit on them (laughs) but anyway, I want my kids. Paul had this whole idea of unloading. For me, I’m just taking a break from my home life to live out a dream of 14 years of traveling the world on two wheels. It’s different for the two of us but it’s still ultimately about the adventure. The spirit of it! Wanting to meet people and experience their cultures and just see what the rest of the world looks like…and on two wheels oh…thats the best part ».
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO HAVE AN EPIC RIDE
Together they left Long Island traveling Westward across the US into British Columbia.
Changing direction, setting their sites Southward to the Baja Peninsula, Central & South America. After the Americas, they caught a flight to Western Europe.
Starting in Portugal and heading East to Turkey making their way to the Far East where they plan to end their journey in Cambodia.
Unfortunately, their original plans to end their journey in Portugal were spoiled due to budgetary reasons. Portugal is a country with a special place in Aida’s heart, as it is where her family is from and where she spent most of her childhood.
« Just because you are a certain age or you’re a parent or whatever the case may be, doesn’t mean you have to roll over and die. You know, not yet. My daughter, my youngest, is fifteen now, she’s at a stage where she’s going – mommy go and do it – she’s my biggest supporter. Basically, if you have the opportunity to do something you’ve dreamt about for a long time, take it. Just do it because you’re not promised tomorrow. You don’t know what’s going to happen next year. If you have an opportunity knocking on your door open it. Just invite it in! Even if you don’t know where it will lead, who you might touch, or who you might run across. It might change your life. I’m not dead because I am a mom and I’m not giving up on my dreams either » Aida
It is never too late to take hold of your dreams.
It’s never too late to LIVE!
CAPTURING THE WORLD
Traveling the world is an amazing experience, but also a difficult and stressful one.
« Buying and modifying motorbikes was a difficult task, and then we had to plan the routes, get vaccinated, prepare medication, camping gear … the list was endless, but it was important to anticipate all the mishaps ».
The logistical challenges and discomfort of such a long journey are not however, the most difficult part of the journey.
« The greatest sacrifice was leaving my then husband and my children. I will live new things every day but without them, and that will be a bit bittersweet « she explains.
Living with the minimum is for sure an adjustment but in the end, also a blessing. Aida and Paul camp for most of the time, just sleeping in hostels when they need more rest, or the weather is bad. They also accept goodwill and solidarity from people they meet along the way.
« Everywhere we go there is a great connection with other people who ride motorcycles, almost like kinship and quite often we arrive somewhere as a stranger and leave as a friend.“
Human connection and camaraderie are a great part of the trip.
LifeUnloadedRTW is about the need to travel on motorcycles, no matter what the situation.
MAKING FRIENDS EVERYWHERE
How long are they gone? The answer is around two years.
Well, these guys are not trying to break any records.
« You know, I’ve rushed to get the kids from school, cook dinner…there is enough rushing going on, so we’re going to take it slow.”
Aida and Paul feel it is their obligation to document and capture their journey and the people they meet along the way through photography and video, so do not forget to subscribe to their Youtube channel and follow them on Instagram and Facebook if you wish to keep up with their daily shenanigans!