Jacob Laukaitis, born and raised in Eastern Europe, recently went on a rather long motorcycle ride for his very first experience of the Balkan states. Here, he shares some of his story and answers a few questions.
I was born and raised in Eastern Europe, but have never been to any of the Balkan states, so this Summer I bought a motorbike, got my driver’s licence, shaved my head, and left for one of the biggest adventures of my entire life.
Eventually I motorbiked 8,000 kilometers across 15 countries and 19 borders, completely alone. It took me 4 weeks. My route took me through Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and back to Poland then Lithuania. I skipped only two of the Balkan States: Bulgaria and Moldova.
I did not plan this route in advance and I didn’t even have a map. I’d decide where I was going next every night at my hotel rooms. I really enjoyed driving down the coast of Croatia; doing the best mountain passes in Europe – Transfagarasan and Transalpina in Romania; exploring the ancient town of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina; checking out the the UNESCO heritage site Meteora in Greece; and so much more!
Here are a few questions I pitched to Jacob about his journey.
Why did you do it (other than not having been there before)?
I love motorbikes and I wanted to test myself out by driving something around 10,000 kilometers somewhere in Europe. So I was either going West or South and I chose to do the Balkans.
How was the day to day life?
Very exhausting and tiring, but eventually rewarding. Most days it was very hot. When it wasn’t hot – it was raining. Every time I’d stop at a traffic light I’d start sweating. Driving would feel much better since there’s a lot of wind, so you don’t feel that hot. Every day I’d wake up anywhere between 6 am to 9 am shower, have a quick breakfast and leave for the next destination. I’d usually try to arrive to my destination before sunset, so around 6-7 pm so that it’d be easier to find accommodation, because I’d never book in advance.
I’d check-in, have quick dinner, come back to the room to start uploading my video files online (I’d always leave the computer on for the whole night) and do the same thing the next day. There were only 5 days when I wasn’t driving and I’d spend most time simply sleeping up to 3 times per day.
Has the experience changed you in any way?
It’s hard to say in which way it changed me, but it definitely has. I’m much more confident I can do these big trips now; that I can find my way almost anywhere without a map; find my way out of really stressful situations; etc. Most of all I realized how I love motorbiking – it’s one of my biggest passions now.
What will you do next?
I’m currently on a 9 month-long trip around Asia. Afterwards I have a few really interesting travel projects planned out, such as: walking 1000 kilometers in the Santiago De Campostella road in Spain; motorbiking from Europe to South Africa (across the whole African continent); driving around Australia on a camper; doing Route 66 and many other routes across the United States on a motorbike; etc. Not sure when those are going to happen, but I’ll definitely have news this Summer (once I finish the Asian trip).
Jacob travels 9-10 months every year while running his online company ChameleonJohn on the road. He has visited more than 35 countries in the past 2 years and is completely in love with Asia. Check out Jacob’s Youtube channel here.