A nice twist for you today in my latest World Travellers interview as I catch up with Ran Zilca, not just a traveller, but also an author, a scientist, an entrepreneur and a coach!
Who are you?
Ran Zilca, author of Ride of Your Life – a Coast to Coast Guide to Inner Peace, and Chief Scientist at bLife, Inc.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Israel, and lived for many years in New York.
Where have you been?
In 2010, I rode a motorcycle for 6,000 miles from New York to California and down the California coast line, on a journey to inner peace. I went on the road only a year after getting my motorcycle license. During the five week journey, I was fortunate to meet and interview leading scientists and authors like Deepak Chopra, Byron Katie, Sonja Lyubomirsy, and Phil Zimbardo. I also met a lot of interesting people on the road, who shared their dreams and aspirations with me. My upcoming book describes my journey and the insights about inner peace that emerged from the collective dreams, the expert knowledge, and the experience of solitary riding.
Where are you now?
I work in LA, visit NY often, but spend most of the time in Tel Aviv
What are the top 3 places you’ve visited?
One of the most remarkable day on my ride started in Vegas, went through Death Valley, and ended in the cowboy city of Lone Pine, California.
What is the best travel experience you’ve had?
Riding through Texas, especially the vast planes of the west part of it, was an amazing meditative, contemplative, and shaping experience.
What is the worst travel experience you’ve had?
The first day of the ride: saying goodbye the my wife and my children, being anxious not knowing where I will stop for the night, not having the gear properly strapped on the bike, and dropping the bike and spending 30 minute getting the help of someone to help me pick it up.
What is the funniest travel experience you’ve had?
Every time I would walk into a bar with the leather vest and bandana on, and I could see that some people are worried about the “dangerous” biker that just walked in.
What is the scariest travel experience you’ve had?
There were a places when riding was clearly dangerous – riding on curves next to a cliff… The first one was on the Blue Ridge Parkway, where a famous yellow warning sign next to one of the curves – showing a motorcycle ride falling off the cliff. The other was the famous curves of Big Sur in California. I was towards the end of my ride, about a month in, and tired, and the steep curves going downhill demanded a lot of attention.
What is the most random job you have had on your travels?
When I was seventeen I left home once with a sleeping bag and enough cash for a one way bus ticket. I rode the bus as far as the money allowed and then found a job in the kitchen of a hostel.
How do you fund your travels?
Motorcycle travel is inexpensive. I saved up before the ride and just took off.
What 3 tips would you give a new traveller before they set off on their adventure?
1. Prepare thoroughly a few months before you go on the road: read, talk to people, and spend time thinking about it. Scientific research shows that the preparation process enriches and extends your overall experience – you basically get to enjoy your journey even before taking it.
2. Once you set foot on the road, trust yourself to be prepared and basically forget what all of your expectations. Just flow with things and be flexible and open.
3. If you find that you’re asking yourself “am I having fun yet?” remember that you’re in it for the experience and the adventure, whatever the experience is.
What are your future travel plans?
I am thinking of riding through Europe on a motorcycle. One of the places I am eager to visit is the island of Sardinya in Italy.
Ran Zilca is a research scientist, writer, entrepreneur, and a life coach. He is the Chief Scientist of bLife, a company developing scientifically-based digital well-being tools. Ran has published numerous scientific papers and patents while leading R&D projects at IBM Research and the Israeli military over the course of the past 20 years. In 2006 he founded Signal Patterns, a company that marries psychology and technology into a new field called Positive Computing, working with leading authors and scientists like Sonja Lyubomirsky, Stephen Covey, and Deepak Chopra.
Links (website, twitter, facebook)
Ride of Your Life: http://www.RideOfYourLife.com
Thanks to Ran Zilca for being the latest in my series of World Travellers! If you travel the world and run a travel blog or are a travel writer, please get in touch, you can be featured (there’s a HUGE waiting list at present), either e-mail jonny (at) dontstopliving (dot) net or head to my contacts page and get connected! You can also subscribe to Don’t Stop Living by filling in the form below! Safe travels!