I met a goddam hero yesterday: Emilio Scotto, and I’ll do a full profile piece on him soon cause this post certainly won’t do him justice. He was my first guest on my podcast (not live yet). I reached out to him because he had the Guinness World Record for longest motorcycle journey and basically said:
“Yo, you got a world record, I got a world record… let’s chat”
But I had no idea who this man really was. In fact, Guinness barely came up in the conversation. He hit the road in 1985 and for ten years because his dream of going to the moon had been trampled by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. So, at a time when his native Argentina was in disarray, he hopped on one of the few motorcycles in the country without much money and went to every single country in the world (except for 5 which he would not reveal) and the stories of how he was able to get into every African country, tour the Middle East, Europe, China… I won’t keep going, I’ll save this for our two-hour interview, but you’ve never heard this shit before.
He bumped into Muhammed Ali (who gave him fifty bucks) in LA, he met the Pope, the Dali Lama, he converted to Islam and was renamed a muslim name so that the people of Kuwait would accept him into the country, he was chased by Somalian pirates, found himself in the middle of war, was tortured in Liberia, gave the Chinese government a shoutout in exchange to enter their country, and that’s just the beginning. The guy is literally my hero.
I really hope many of you reading this will listen and help promote this episode because if any story should be heard, it’s his. If any news should interrupt the noise out there right now, it’s this. Everyone must meet this man and hear him out.
What I love about travel is it leaves us vulnerable, honest, and asking for help. When you have those three ingredients, you’re destined to live a better life. The road makes you a better person for that reason. It pulverizes prejudices. There’s no way to truly not judge a person by their country until you go there and meet the people on the street. It’s always a pleasant reminder that, though the differences might be stark in culture, the basic needs of all humans are the same. The deepest desires of all us are nearly identical. Travel has a way of mending those edges together so that there’s no gap for difference to exist.
We think we know what we’re talking about. We talk shit about politics and economics, we judge people by social status and physical appearance, we separate by nation, race, and sexuality–thinking the only way to truly find comfort is to reside with people who can relate to us on job title, color of skin, or sexual preference… but travel takes all that and tosses it out the boat. Because when you’re in the middle of Brazil and two strangers find you on the beach and invite you (tell you) to come with them to their home… You might get a great dinner or never wake up another morning.
It doesn’t matter what they do, whether they’re white, brown, a pacific islander or black, who they voted for or whether they have little money or a lot of money, because the second you arrive at their house and their mother places a seat for you at their dinner table (you, a complete stranger)–you realize all those fears you had never came true.
In that moment there’s one tribe: the human tribe.
The way I see it, nobody can prove they are right about anything; not about religion, political creed, economic outlook or parenting strategy, so why try to prove anything at all? Why should your religion claim god belongs to them and not the other religion? I’m not a religious dude, but that’s one thing that’s always bothered me about it all. The chances of any dogma being “correct” are highly unlikely. Still, that’s not a reason to disbelieve them. And although I’m not a religion dude–in fact I truly dislike religion–religions still provide humans with a moral framework to operate within, and that’s better than not having them at all (maybe).
Nobody knows whether capitalism is the right answer, and if it is, whether it should be a completely free market or a mixed economy, so why fight till the death to prove something that can’t be proven? Nobody knows whether socialism in its purest form would work (it’s never been done, and for the record I’m not a socialist), so why hate your neighbor because they have an idea that might be true in the same way your idea might be true?
Travel teaches us that no matter how differently we live, at the end of the day, we all jerk off, check our instagram (maybe both at the same time), take a shit, dream about a better life but sometimes get caught up in a nightmare, wake up and hope the sun is out and depend on the relationships in our lives to get us through our existence. We all hope for good health for ourselves and those around us. But it’s hard to remember that when nobody is posting about it on Facebook because algorithms are weighted to stir up addiction (fights and debates) rather than “keeping the world connected”.
I veered off course there for a bit, but I think this man, a true explorer, who asks the question: Why can’t travel be a profession? Why can’t traveler be as much of a job as a doctor? Magellan was a traveler, Columbus was a traveler, Marco Polo was a traveler… seems like it certainly is a profession.
Anyway, I’m so fuckin pumped to share this podcast with you, and it won’t be out for a bit of time, so make sure you are following along to get notified when it’s live. Subscribe to my email list (I don’t send many emails). Follow my socials–not for vanity’s sake–so you can make sure you don’t miss the damn interview.
Because he is the news we should be following (even though his journey happened twenty-five years ago.) We need him now more than ever.