Austin Vince: Mondo Enduro

The world according to motorbike adventurer and organiser of the Adventure Travel Film Festival

3 mins

Mountain/desert/jungle/ocean which are you?


First travel experience?    

1972, aged seven: we travelled in a transit van on a road trip around Europe with my parents and five siblings. I was the youngest.

Favourite journey?  

Lima to Santiago down through the Atacama desert.

Top 5 places worldwide?

Home; San Francisco; Istanbul; Asmara; The Catalan Pyrenees.

Special place to stay?

The joy of the rough campsite or weird abandoned building. Impossible to predict where you'll find them and all the more appreciated when they arise.

Three items you always pack?

Leatherman multi-knife thingy; super 8 camera; army surplus poncho/tarp/groundsheet.

Passport stamp you're proudest of?

Saudi Arabia.

Passport stamp most like to have?

North Korea.

Guilty travel pleasure?

Exotic alcohol beverages.

Window or aisle?

Seriously, who would write 'aisle'?

Who is your ideal travelling companion?

My wife, Lois Pryce.

Best meal on the road?

Njera and Waat in Ethiopia.

...And your worst?

Restaurant on the ferry across the Caspian Sea, 1995. Easily the worst food ever and totally out of character with what is normal solid Soviet 'meat 'n' potatoes'.

Most surprising place?


Most disappointing?

Los Angeles – tough when you don't know anyone and have no wheels or money.

Where do you NOT want to go?


Who/what inspired you to travel?

My elder sister Isabelle. In 1978, she went from London to Delhi solo by public transport. I grew up thinking this was what all 18 year old girls did.   

Any travel heroes?

Chris Scott, Lois Pryce, Maciek Swinarski.

What do you listen to on the road?

I try to write songs in my head while I am motorcycling across a country.

What do you read?

Jackie Collins.

Is there a person you met while travelling who reaffirmed your faith in humanity?

Pretty much everybody, you know that already.

Anyone who made you lose it?

I am a pacifist, so anyone who says that war is an inevitable consequence of the human condition. Nothing depresses me more than the public's endless glorification of the military. I recognise that being anti-violence and anti-military makes people very angry but I have seen too much of the world to believe that there really are 'bad' people who need to be stopped by us, the 'good' guys.

What's the most impressive / useful phrase you know in a foreign language?

Crikey, nothing in particular, but I picked up loads of Russian words for obscure engine parts.

What is your worst habit as a traveller?

Wanting to avoid big cities.

Snowbound in a tent in Antarctica, how would you entertain your companions?

I would create elaborate quizzes.

When and where in your travels have you been happiest?

On honeymoon.

What smell most says 'travel' to you?

The weird fishy smell of Soviet gasoline.

Given a choice, which era would you travel in?

Impossible to answer.

If you could combine three cities to make your perfect metropolis, what would they be?

San Francisco, Cairo and Rome.

The Adventure Travel Film Festival is taking place from June 3-5 2011, with weekend tickets priced at £55 which includes camping

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