In 1977 Terry Mentzer rode a Honda XL250 from Los Angeles to Los Angeles–westbound. He was the first person to document a solo, continuous, point-to-point motorcycle circumnavigation in a major publication–inking the pages of the November and December 1978 issues of Motorcyclist Magazine. Prior to his ride, a handful of others had completed continental rides across Europe and Asia, but none had assembled a true circumnavigation of this variety.
I’m Andrew Mentzer (Terry’s son), and in 2012-13 I will retrace as much of my father’s route as geopolitics, weather and war will allow. Where he ventured through Afghanistan and Iran in 1977, I will attempt to navigate Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan on my journey west.
I am a 30 year old hostel owner and journalist from Boise, Idaho. I write the Motojournal for the Boise Weeky, and own Idahostel–Boise’s first and only international traveler’s hostel. I’m extremely fortunate to have been able to travel throughout most of my adult life–and ultimately make a living in this industry.
My mother, a Jamaican immigrant, was a flight attendant for British West Indies Airways in the 1960’s–before going to nursing school in London. My dad is the guy you meet at a party who doesn’t say much until someone asks if he has traveled much. He’s been to or near almost anywhere you can imagine.
Growing up in Idaho, I learned how to ride a dirt bike when I was 5. My senior year of high school, I participated in a volunteer service program in Mexico that was part of the Bishop Kelly High School graduation requirement. It sparked my interest, and proved to be a fulfilling and enjoyable experience. A year later I was in Belize island hopping. A year after that I moved to Australia and traveled the South Pacific for 5 months.
I finished my undergraduate at Boise State University and got a real job. Working in public sector transportation planning wasn’t my cup of tea, so after nearly 2 years, I quit my job, took the LSAT, bought a motorcycle, and headed for Panama.
Several questionable experiences in Mexico, and one major wreck later, and I was back stateside, unwinding on a Southern California beach lucky to be alive. During my 3 day layover in California, I was introduced to a venture capitalist who owned an enormous Transcendental Meditation resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. He was looking for someone to orchestrate the renovation of his 1,000,000sf complex and get it ready for market.
Three weeks later I was in Boone, NC working as the director of development for Heavenly Mountain Resort. That summer, I traveled coast to coast on a Kawasaki Versys–covering 31 states while working full time. I completed my contract in NC that fall, moved back to Boise, and began working on Idahostel. It had been my passion for the better part of 5 years to bring a cultural travel hub to my home town. Two years, 12 countries and all my money later and I pulled it off.
Today, Idahostel is doing well, and we are fortunate to have an excellent clientele arriving daily from every corner of the globe. For this project, I intend to utilize the international hostel network to enhance Transworld Tour. Local knowledge is the key to finding your way when traveling, and there is no better resource than independently owned and operated hostels.
This site will be jam packed with video and blog updates from the road. Keep an eye out for updates as I get ready to head out May 19, 2012.