"I would speak to Bruce."

Interview with Dylan Wickrama about his trip on the motorcycle-raft.

Adventurers know no obstacles. They only really know one thing: the notorious Darién Gap, which causes so many problems for travellers on the Panamericana between Panama and Columbia. Where flying would be the ideal way forward, Dylan Wickrama made his R 1150 GS "Bruce" into a raft and crossed the Pacific. In an interview, he tells us about his miraculous journey and reveals the secrets to his survival.

Dylan, in your book you almost exclusively talk about the journey by raft over the Darién Gap, and only briefly touch upon the three years of your adventurous world trip. Why?
There are so many books about motorcycle journeys. But my experience with the motorcycle raft was something special. I want to address a wide audience with my book and not just the motorcycling community. This story is about much more than just motorcycling. I plan to write a book about the rest of my journey soon.
You made a raft out of ten oil barrels and your GS "Bruce" without thinking too much about the dangers involved. That sounds a bit world-weary.
Life is for living. If you're happy working in the same place all the time, spending a few weeks a year on holiday on the same beach every time and living as if there was nothing left to discover in the world, then this is precisely how you should live. But if you have dreams, you should pursue them. And doing things that appear impossible is how you discover the wonderful world. Only then do you see wonder. And wonder makes us feel as though we were living in a fairytale. For me, this is life.
Your book about your journey on the raft across the Pacific reads like a fairytale as well – but it's real. How have it changed you?
I have had a great many incredible and unforgettable experiences. I have been rescued by dolphins. Assisted by locals in the Darién jungle. The storms and the thunder. These are not stories which one hears about every day. Before my journey, I was a non-believer who would ridicule god. Today, I am convinced there is a god.
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Together with your R 1150 GS "Bruce", you have been through a lot. Although Bruce is a machine – does a world trip like this in some way bring you both together?

It is a very special relationship. Bruce may only be a heap of steel and plastic and a lot of individual parts, but this motorcycle was my companion on this trip. I spent many nights far away from other people. I'm not quite sure when it started, but at some point I began talking to Bruce. I got to know him so well I even took to the high seas with him. He will always be a special part of my life.

Do you think your journey would have ended sooner if it hadn't been for your DIY skills, your resourcefulness and your attitude?

No. You don't need to be good at DIY to travel the world. Even if it is useful to be able to help yourself so you don't get stranded in the same place for too long. Travelling has become so easy. There's always help nearby. But it is important to keep a positive attitude. Especially when you're testing out your own boundaries; it's an absolute must. Optimism acts as a magnet and attracts good things into your life.

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Were you able to perceive and marvel at the world around you?

Yes, of course. I always live in the moment. At this moment, I'm being bitten by a mosquito. Isn't it amazing how such a tiny creature can attract my attention by making me feel discomfort? I find this magical. Other people might not. One strike – and the topic is inscribed and forgotten.

What are the most important ingredients for happiness?

Being content with what you have. And being happy about what you have instead of being unhappy about everything you don't. Everything else is an extra, a bonus.

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Optimism acts as a magnet and attracts good things into your life. "

Dylan Wickrama

How do you define home?
The answer to this is what I was searching for when I was travelling the world. I left and returned to my starting position three years later only to realize that I had never left home. Home is inside me.
Why do more people not go on adventure trips?
The adventurer bug can be seen throughout human history. We have been travelling around the world, discovering new things, having experiences and learning lots. And somewhere along the way we became collectors. We have collected so much and simply stopped moving around. We told ourselves: "This belongs to me and I will stay here."
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Why don't you have a definite plan when you travel?
You can have a plan, but it should just be an idea. Travelling should be about collecting experiences. If you have plans, the danger of missing these special experiences is great. As a child, I saw photos with huge redwood trees and thought it would be cool to take a closer look at them. Years later, I travelled through California and suddenly found myself beneath these gigantic trees. Without realising, I had arrived at the place I used to dream about as a child. I was so happy on this day and couldn't hold back my tears.
What is the next Dylan Wickrama adventure?
I am very busy with my presentations, keynote speeches, book promotions and documentary project at the moment. Nevertheless I do still have a general idea of what I would like to do. But this will remain a secret for now.
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