Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Conversation with Adventure Motorcyclist David C. Parkinson

I recently had the opportunity to chat with a fellow adventure motorcyclist named David C. Parkinson. I thought that some of you might be interested in what we talked about.
David, tell me why?
Ever heard of the Langston Hughes poem "A Dream Deferred?"  Hughes mulls on what happens to deferred dreams.  Doing this motorcycle adventure to South America was my deferred dream... I had always wanted to go on a long trip from when I was a little boy.  In college I had an opportunity but started a company instead.  When I left my job at Microsoft I had another opportunity but started anothre company instead.  I knew at some point I had to make this happen; or else I would never travel and my dream deferred might shrivel up or explode!  
The best thing about my motorcycle is…
I ride a 2005 Suzuki DL650 V-Strom. It's incredibly reliable.  I have put 20,000 of the most difficult miles for any motorcycle to take but the V-Strom keeps coming back for more.  

The worst thing about my motorcycle is…
At 250kg dry, without gas and gear. It's a bit heavy for off-roading but that hasn't stopped me from taking it plenty of places it was never intended to go!

I cannot travel without…
My Charles Schwab check card. This is a travel secret everyone should know about. It's one of the only cards I know of that you pay 0% foreign transaction fees on, is free to use at all ATMs worldwide, and finally they'll reimburse you for the ATM fees the ATMs charge you. So essentially you can get money out for free, whenever you want, whatever country you're in (no limits). The account is free (you must set up a brokerage account and a checking account) with no minimums. What I do is transfer $1000-2000 into my Schwab account to cover a month's expenses. With this technique you stop thinking about the ATM charge as they are reimbursed at the end of the month, and it makes it easier when you know you will be exiting a country not to have too much currency left over.

When I’m riding solo, I think about…
What a lucky bastard I am to have the opportunity to travel by motorcycle in Central and South America.  More people should travel this way!

I like it when I ride into a town and…
See the smiles on people's faces.  There's something about a motorcycle that just cheers everyone up.  

I would like to go back to…
Mexico, Colombia, Nicaragua.  I was in love with Colombia and spent nearly 6 months there!

I was surprised to find out that…
Almost anything can be repaired. When abroad, it's normally the case that repairing your items is far cheaper than buying new items. Locals' ingenuity have repaired everything from my tent, my motorcycle, my watch, my aluminum panniers, to my GPS
My attitude about travel is…
Do it when you have the opportunity.  

The single most important thing that I could tell someone is…
When you like a place; stay there for awhile.  When you meet a person you like, stay there for awhile.  It's great travel advice that I wish I had followed more often.

You can read more about David and his adventures at his website www.davidparkinson.com


  1. David are you back home? I known you enjoyed your adventure... it was a pleasure to meet you in Peru Lima... Wish you fantastic things into your Life Unconditional Love Joy Harmony Peace Health Prosperity Wealth & just Life Love Joy. Be well Friend :)
    Antonio Premnath S.E.

    1. Antonio, David wrote this article as a guest contributor. He is back on the road in South America.


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