Fueling the Entrepreneurial Engine (Literally)

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In May, EO UK-London’s Harry Lyon-Smith (pictured) took the concept of the entrepreneurial journey to a new level by embarking on a trek around the world. His vehicle of choice: a motorcycle fueled mostly by vegetable oil. Octane caught up with Harry during his environmentally friendly adventure.

Talk about an entrepreneurial journey! What inspired this trek around the world?
“The simple answer is that ever since I can remember, I’ve had a yearning to travel. However, it really hit me while I was in Cambodia last Christmas. I began fantasizing about riding a motorbike around the world. The fantasy dictated that any self-indulgent journey of mine had to leave minimal carbon footprints on the environment. There were many immediate barriers, but within a few weeks, I had nothing stopping me from going.”

What do you hope to get out of this trip?
“I suppose it’s the satisfaction of doing the trip, taking a lot of time off without burning any bridges, seeing the world and meeting new people. I’m looking forward to finding new markets, witnessing the world developing and forming my own opinion about it. I am extraordinarily lucky to be able to do this, and not to do something with this luck would be an awful waste.”

You’re a busy entrepreneur. Why take this journey now?
“In another 10 years, I might not have the desire or energy to undertake such a trip, and then it would never happen in my lifetime. Also, my business is in a good place and growing confidently, so that helps.”

What challenges have you faced while on the road?
“There have been a few mechanical things that needed fixing, but that was no trouble. For me, the biggest surprise is that when you’re traveling alone, there are times when you are very alone. That may sound obvious, and it is, but I had this stupid idea that I would stop every evening and automatically chat with people. That is not the case, and I have gotten use to my own company now more than ever. I have also been surprised at how easy this trip suddenly became, and how the fears and barriers just do not exist if one’s mind is set on something.”

As you continue your journey, what have been some memorable moments so far?
“Crossing the Indian Himalayas will be a memory that I will always treasure, and traveling one of the highest and most challenging roads in the world was just extraordinary. Also, witnessing the wildly developing country of Turkey was memorable. Every single road I traveled was being developed into dual carriageways, and apparently it’s the same throughout the country.”

How will you incorporate these experiences into your business or everyday life when you’re finished?
“I intend to hook back into the business full-time and with some newly acquired worldliness, as well as help develop what we do to greater effect in our markets. Not sure about my private life, but I am sure it will be a bit different.”

How did EO play a role in this adventure of a lifetime?
“During a Forum retreat in France three years ago, our facilitator conducted an exercise that asked us what we would do if we had two years off. I said I would do a lot of traveling. Since then, my Forum, chapter mates and other EO members have been completely supportive of my goal. EO has been a fundamental enabler of this trip, and I will be forever grateful to the organization and my pals in it.”

To learn more about Harry’s journey around the world, visit www.vegibike.com. You can also reach Harry at [email protected].

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