Filmmaker Ben Machado’s life was already filled with deadlines, stress and challenges… and it was about to get a whole lot more complicated.
“I needed to get away from my desk and the digital bubble and get outside to see as much as I could before I lost the opportunity,” he says. “I needed to mentally detox, so I drew up some paper maps, took every app off my phone so I had no technology, and I went.”
Having just got married and gearing up for a baby, the “window of opportunity for something this big was creaking shut”. He squared it with his clients and wife then went on the adventure he’d always promised himself.
We’re glad he did… his video is one of the best you’ll see this year and captures a month’s worth of America’s sensational landscapes and people from a Bonneville T100.
WATCH Ben’s vid and then read on to find out about the NYC to California trip’s most terrifying moment, the biggest surprise and why every rider saying ‘I might’ should say ‘I am’.
“The video pretty much says it all but there are some things a film can’t capture,” explains Ben. “Standing there filming those broad, wide-open vistas and giant formations, you can’t really explain the complete and utter silence that almost screams at you.
“It was a perfect storm. I was on the Bonnie I’d always wanted since age of eight and it was perfect. My dad had a Triumph and I’ve wanted one since I was little. It handled everything I threw at it perfectly, even all the dumb off-road stuff I did.
“It was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life.”
But not without a little bit of fear…
“I’ve always lived in the city alongside a group of superb riding buddies, so the thought of wild camping was terrifying. On the first night, I was super-stressed but I woke up, nothing bad had happened and all the fear was gone.”
… and a surprise or two
“Without electronic maps, I decided to talk to locals face-to-face and ask them where I should go. One guy in his 70s, who ran a campsite in Colorado, told me about a trail that led to a quartz mine. The views were incredible and I’d have never known about it if I’d relied on my phone.
“When you’re riding, especially on a Triumph, people want to talk and hear what you’re doing. Not like in the city!”
Get the balance right
“Work/life balance has always been a bit of an issue for me, hunched over drawing, editing and animating every day. My Triumph made me realise that work is not the most important thing in the world to me anymore. People and experiences are. We’d got married just before I left and have had a little girl since, so I knew I had to act quickly. I learned that the next time you think ‘I might’, just do it. You won’t ever regret it.”
- Ben is a freelance film and art director producing video and animation for brands. Check out his reel at benmachado.com