Last Saturday we were invited to meet a guy that had a story, and what a story. An ecuadorean named Raul Ricaurte also known as "El Ruso". His ride is a 1987 150cc Vespa (Antonia), and goes around America as chilled as if he was going for a sight tour to the nearest town.
We had the priviledge to have a chat with Ruso to find out his ways and to understand his motivation (as if there is any needed to ride a motorcycle).
Here is a quick Interview.
EBR: Thanks for allowing us some of your time. So what is this story of going down to Ushuaia and coming back to Ecuador on a Vespa 150cc?, and first of, who are you?
Ruso: I'm Ecuadorian. A professional photographer and graphic designer that just decided to take off without thinking it much. I love to travel and since 2014 I've been doing it non-stop. On September 2017 I wanted to travel in another way. I wasn't a motorcyclist by then.
The best way to travel and to know places is on a motorcycle. I found out about it when I got my first bike and on board of my motorcycle I decided it was the way I would do my travels from now on.
EBR: How many countries have you traveled so far?, and if you had to go back to one of them, which would be?:
Ruso: I've been riding across 18 countries so far and loved them all. I think most of them have their goods and bads. However, one that I would love to go back to is Costa Rica. Also Recognized as the happiest country in 2019.
EBR: why a Vespa?
Ruso: At first, the plan was to go on a Volkswagen Beetle I had, but then I changed my mind to a motorcycle as my family were riders. So after some research, Vespa came out as the perfect bike for me to do it. Besides being lightweight, its mechanically simple and not much to break. Plus, it came with a spare tire!
EBR: How do you make your living for your trips?
Ruso: I have few amazing companies in Ecuador that help me with part of my expenses. But when I first left Ecuador, I did it with USD 200 in my pocket. So on the way basically I've been working as I go on foundations, Zoos, selling my photographies, you name it. As long as I can have something in exchange for me or for my Antonia, a place to crash, fuel or in any other way that can help me to reach my goal. As for lodging, most of my trip has been basically camping with few hostales here and there. Since there are lots of Vespa Clubs throughout my route, it was manageable to find places where to stay safe. Couchsurfing and IOverlander was also a strong option for me.
EBR: Amazing!, so with this frugal lifestyle you went down all the way to Ushuaia and came back...
Ruso: Yes, that was the first part of my project. Then I came to Ecuador to work out my US and Canadian Visa and continued my trip towards the north. On the way, always writing useful advices to other riders who would like to follow the same route. You can find all that useful info in my blog.
EBR: How did it go with COVID and your way up to Alaska?
Ruso: Covid caught me on the second part of my travel on my way from Quito to Alaska. I was stuck in San Francisco California, and then flew to Miami to be with my brother and some relatives to save some money. My US visa was running out so I had to come back to Ecuador to refresh my stay until September and then go back to the States hoping that the Canadian border is open to continue with my route.
We didn't have the chance to see Ruso's colorful bike. However, the way he talks about it, transmits trust, confidence and even a little bit of faith. Also his determination to do a trip that not many would even consider to do, regardless the size of their bikes. His final thought to us was that never mind the perfect timing. Any possible limitation is in your head, and remains there until you say so. Once the intention to take the first mile is there, the others will just follow.
If you would like to read a bit more of his adventures with Antonia, we encourage you to visit his blog: https://vespeandoalmundo.com/