The past months we had the pleasure of working with him and learned there’s more to Charley than many of us think. From here on we let Charley do the talking. About his life, his views and a little more about his career – his movies, TV shows and charity work.
You know, not many things in this world are ‘life changing’ – marriage, gout, a lottery win – or premature balding! But bikes... Now they can change your life so much for the better – bring on the comb-over! Just before Long Way Round I was working as a painter and decorator – yes, the life of a semi-employed actor is a bit of a tightrope walk. I usually choose films for their locations rather than their scripts! Not a good move.
RouND THE WORLD
I met Ewan McGregor whilst working on a movie called ‘The Serpents Kiss’ and we found a common bond immediately – Bikes! It didn’t take long before we were planning some bike trips – the way mates do. Although we’d simply started off thinking of Spain or maybe even Morocco, Ewan’s career had really begun to take off, so we only ever had a short window of opportunity – his lightsaber was already glowing!
In between films, we decided to grasp the nettle and before we knew it the planning gained momentum – snowballing into a mammoth round the world ride (RTW). The trick was only to ever look at small maps – so much easier to show your wife or boss! The main reason for, initially the book, and then the TV show, was to help pay for the trip – as Ewan’s acting was far more rewarding than my decorating! We never dreamt Long Way Round would take off the way it did.
the world is a far more friendly and safer place than many would have us believe
We’d both read the Ted Simon book, ‘Jupiters Travels’, an absolutely inspirational book and we knew of lots of other people living ordinary lives who just decided to stop the merry go round, jump on a bike, any bike - and ride off into the world, looking for adventure. That’s the great thing about a bike – big or small you can throw a bit of luggage on it and off you go – all self contained. So much better than the car. On the bike you’re a part of the environment, while the car keeps you insulated from it. People will talk to you on the bike – while they stare at you suspiciously in a car.
Certainly, the motorbike enabled my life to change, not just with regard to the TV shows, but more interestingly, with my views and experience of the world and the people you meet along the way. The world is a far more friendly and safer place than many would have us believe. On top of that, the people with the least to give always give the most. On many trips across Africa, the welcome and the generosity has been just astounding and humbling.