He is the perfect motivator when it comes to travelling. Give him ten minutes to talk about his trips and you’ll end up with an urge to pack and take off. We hope you do when you finish reading this blog post.
Gonçalo was totally enchanted by the travelling muse in 2006 while he was working for a Portuguese software company. Twenty-two days of holidays did not allow him to satiate his travelling soul and he began to feel very uncomfortable with this ‘holiday limitation’ and the overall impact on his life.
Gonçalo, thirty-years-old at the time, decided to change his situation. He saved some money and quit his job.
With a free schedule in front of him he began to dream big, in such a way that at the end he was alone with his great plan. Circumstances pushed him into a long solo ride.
“On every trip I have ever did I have never chosen to go solo”, says Gonçalo, “the most important thing is my eagerness. So I go either way. Most of the times I start alone because there are only a few people who wish to embark on my slightly absurd adventure ideas. Nonetheless, the experience of travelling alone always fascinated me. I was eleven when I first travelled by myself.”
Gonçalo decided to go on a trip through North and South-America, where language wouldn’t be a barrier. In 2007 he jumped on his BMW GS and rode from Buenos Aires to New York. He named it - BuenaYork - a total of 40000 km, 15 countries and 7 months.
“This journey was more than fulfilling a goal”, he says. It was a path to discover a new world that eventually led him to discover himself.
Gonçalo travelled seven months through the most beautiful places nature can create and faced all kinds of natural phenomena. Big, frenetic and crowded cities changing into the most remote areas you can imagine; easy-breezy sunny days leading to cyclonic winds and massive rains; big amounts of snow that would block his progress or an empty tank preventing him from escaping the most inhospitable places. You name it!
While your heart will speed up, your spirit will learn to remain calm. Traveling alone for a while “deconstructs your reality”, Gonçalo assures.
“You have a lot of adrenaline related to unknown situations; you never know what will happen. I was stuck many times in remote places. What you need to remember is: no matter where you will be confronted with a flat tire or get sick, there will always be someone who will know how to help you. This someone is maybe five hours away and driving a rotten truck, but he will arrive.”
“I remember running out of fuel in Patagonia due to a ‘fuel in 250 km’-sign. After 250 km I arrived to the pump and found out they were out of fuel. Next station was 80 km further away and, of course, I ended up stuck with an empty tank in the middle of nowhere. In these moments, instead of freaking out, you learn how to put up a fire, make yourself a nice tea and wait for someone to appear in a rotten truck!”
Even though he managed to break through all of these events and finish his trip alone, Gonçalo did not feel happy when he arrived in New York. There was not even a sense of accomplishment. Something had changed along the way.
“Every time you put down the tent and jump on the bike you know you have 10/12 hours of pleasure or massacre ahead”, he says, “this can be challenging, but when I arrived in New York I did not feel victorious; I felt sad because my trip was over. In my opinion this means that somewhere along the way my mind-set had changed. The trip stopped being a challenge or a sprint, and became a journey of exploration, where more important than fearing what comes next is the need of discovering what’s next! You could compare it to what happened with the ancient explorers: travelling becomes food for the soul.”
“What’s next” is what will truly change you. Some roads make you slow down and discover the present, not the fast-forward life you’re leading. Time seems to stretch out, thoughts will hit you stronger than normal and people will touch your heart more deeply than ever. On top of that, some of the things that controlled your wellbeing back at home will lose their value.
“Travelling does not necessarily become easier when you’re rich. Being rich doesn’t save you from catching a virus and won’t help you find shadow or water. Being loaded does not erase the bad luck of a flat tire. Your wellbeing doesn’t come from the things your money can buy. Nowadays, with the loss of living in communities, people think their wellbeing comes from the ability of being autonomous in creating their conditions. In many countries/cultures there is still a belief in community support. The more we evolve in the midst of wealth and capitalism, especially here in the West, the more we are on our own. When no one needs anyone, the isolation takes shape and the purpose is lost.”
With this trip Gonçalo grew a deeper interest in neuroscience. He specialised in life-, business- and team-coaching, and founded Mind4Time, a company exclusively dedicated to the investigation, development and implementation of High Performance and Excellence practices. He is also the author of two books and the face behind the platform What’s the trick, where he shares his own short animated videos and articles with tricks on how to enhance your productivity.
Nowadays Gonçalo enjoys the intensity of a long, slow ride on his bicycle. “When you’re older you begin to need less and enjoy more”, he says.
It doesn’t really matter how you travel, as long as you do!
To know more about Gonçalo’s projects, visit: