“210.000 km and 100 countries made (by now) by VESPA since September 2017 NON STOP”. This is how the social media of Ilario Lavarra welcomes all the Vespa fanatics who dream of long-distance trips. But long-distance here gets another huge meaning, short explained: The entire world!!!
He celebrated the 100th country of his journey on October 2023, and sent us this beautiful postcard, so we wanted to pay tribute to him by telling a little of the story of a #RealScooterist, in this case: the traveler! ;)
"First" long trip
"21 Americhe" - solo trip on an old vespa-
How we meet Ilario
As thousands of kilometers turn out to be thousands of friends, and I was one of the lucky ones to cross his path :)
Back in 2010, when he was on the middle of his journey : “21 Americhe” on a 40-year-old Vespa (Sprint Veloce), 82.000 kilometers from the Arctic to the Antarctic and back (here the video). He entry into Colombian territory, and for us, he was one of the first travellers that visited us. As it usually happen, we all gathered to hear the countless stories that he accumulated along with his kilometers and our friendship was set.
7 years later, was my turn to make a bigger Vespa trip, unfortunately not in my Vespertine (my PX over there). But thanks to him, we rode through Modena, Bologna, Verona, and Rome. That’s how I knew his plans for a new travel, but this time a “little farther”…
"Le Grand Tour'" - The longest journey ever on a Vespa
“Le Grand Tour’ was the name given to the educational journey that became fashionable in the late 17th century. An excellent name if you ask me, because there is no better way to know the world but to experience it! and he describes it perfectly like this:
“It is a personal journey of knowledge across cultures and latitudes. And this knowledge makes me happy.”
The first 100.000 km
and as in a small summary of his 100 thousand km, ilario tells us the wonders he has seen:
“I love this Vespa, called Ardimentosa, which is gliding over the world meter by meter. Slowly, joyfully. And me with her. On the icy Scandinavian tundra with the aurora borealis lights. On the autumn warmth of the African deserts of Western Saharan. On the dirt roads of Bissau and Conakry. On the Atlantic coast to Nigeria. On the Cameroon war and the rainforests of Gabon and the two Congos. On the colors of Namibia’s deserts and on the reefs of South Africa. On the burned savannahs of the east part, on the villages of huts and on the banana plantations of the thousand hills. On the warm silences of lava stone of the Horn of Africa, on the Coptic monasteries, on the pyramids. On the fairy chimneys and on the peaks to almost 5000 meters of Central Asia. On the snow of the kingdom of Persia and now on the gulf in front of the Arabian peninsula. One hundred thousand kilometers. Ole!”
A new chapter - INDIA
At that time, in India, Ilario was informed that Scooter Center was there some time ago making some buying for his NOS section and when some engine problems arose, he did not doubt to reach us. But what a surprise for both of us when I received his email, because he didn’t know that I work here.
He has a philosophy of no sponsors, so he can travel free, but we responded, not as sponsors, but as partners, and the best way we can contribute to fulfilling his dream is with the parts he needs.
In the middle of the Indian jungle he sends me a message, tired of the hard trip:
“I am preparing to cross Tibet, I will leave from Nepal to get to Laos. As Tibet is a Chinese problem area, it will take me some time to get my visa.
In Tibet I will be driving for a week at about 5000m altitude, probably October/November.
The Chinese authorities will want winter tyres, compulsory in winter in Tibet.”
So we send him some other parts in need:
And believe me, India is not big, it is huge!!! INDIA IS A WORLD, the country with such a diversity and density of cultural, religious, ethnic, geographical aspects, etc. which in another country is IMPOSSIBLE to find. From Ladakh in the heart of the Himalayas at 8000m high, to the Buddhist Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim so close to Tibet, East India and its tribals with bamboo villages among mountains difficult to reach (that already seems to be in East Asia), to the Sickh Punjab and the infinite super populated plain of the Ganges, to the rural and the fascinating rural Hindu States of central India, and then the Muslim majority regions near Pakistan or Bangladesh, up to the high tea plantations of the Christian Kerala, to finally jump into the southern apex which is Kanyakumari. An infinite puzzle with billions of pieces different from each other, to enjoy one by one. Slowly.
We wish him the best of luck, although we know that he is surrounded by it thanks to the magic of the Vespa, his charisma and his wonderful story.
He will keep us updated on his journey. In the meantime you can catch up on his story with his videos and posts, which are not only amazing, but also entertaining.