Boyd Holbrook on the Motorcycle Trip That Changed His Life

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Boyd Holbrook, known for playing a relentless DEA agent in Narcos and a merciless government agent in Logan (and as a poster child for Diesel’s Bad cologne), has had a relatively recent rise in Hollywood. For years he was a struggling actor from Kentucky who had his share of ups and downs. At a low point, Holbrook, broke and aimless, called a long-time riding friend and asked him to get on the bike and bum through South America. Turns out, that was a good call.

I was not in a good place in my life at the time. I had lost a close friend, and I had a relationship fall apart. I had been working in a third-world country for months.

I was about to go dead broke because some financier had fucked me over on a film project and I had to empty out my life savings. I was going to have no money at all soon, and I was going to have to start asking people for it, which is not a position that someone my age should put people in.

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I needed to get away, and I knew I wanted to do a motorcycle trip. So I called my best friend Fernando Mastrangelo, who is a great artist. He taught me how to make sculptures, and I taught him how to ride a motorcycle. I called him and said, “I am going to ask you to do something, just say yes.” He could tell it was important. I told him I needed to get away.

I got in touch with this great company called Patagonia Rider, run by these two guys down there. Horatio planned out the route of our trip. They dropped us off in Santiago, Chile, with the bikes, along with some extra gas tanks because we were going to run out of gas on the way. I’m glad he thought of that, because we just barely made it even with them.

From there we went about 4,000 miles through Argentina and Chile to Punta Arenas over the course of two weeks. Once you hit a certain point of Chile, there are no paved roads and riding on gravel gets old fast. I have to say the people we met along the way were some of the most hospitable I had ever came across. For some reason people have this idea that Latin America is all violent and scary. That is not true at all.

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There were a few great places we stayed along the way. One place where we slept was in this dirt-road town in Bariloche [on the border of Argentina and Chile]. There was only one place to stay in the whole town. The shower, toilet, sink, and everything were in this one four-by-four corner. I grabbed a good photo of Fernando in one of them.

The food down there was amazing. We had an empanada challenge going on. Everyone down there has their own signature empanada, so we were eating those every day. I now consider myself a full-on connoisseur of empanadas. The winner was this old gentleman who had a restaurant that he only opened once a week, and he would serve the most delicious steak empanadas there.

I could not be happier that I took that trip. Sometimes it is hard to pull the trigger on a journey like that, because logic is trying to stop you. It is trying to make you worry about your job or whatever. But I think it’s important to make sure you don’t get stagnant in your surroundings. I think everyone should do that ride. And if you go, invite me. I’d do it again in a second.

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