Introduction by Dave Bloom Interview by Dave Bloom & Oliver Nermerich
Adrien, you’ve often been dubbed, “The Traveler.” How has your lifestyle led to that?
It’s true that I like to travel and meet people, so I pass my time in flights, trains and on the road to see and experience as much as I can. Traveling is life and when you stay home you can’t be totally aware and understand the differences between people and all that. It’s also a good thing to learn new languages, new food, traditions and cultures.
What’s it like being on the road all of the time? Where does the motivation come from?
The motivation usually comes from the fact that I haven’t seen friends for ages and want to see them again when it’s a place that I have been to. If not, it’s just the fact that I will discover a new world and it’s always exciting.
We’ve all picked up some plane tickets at one point in our lives and it gets pretty pricey. How can you afford to travel as much as you do?
For the trips in Europe I got the chance to have the best sponsor, Grindhouse. They help me so much and send me where I want to go for all of the contests or film sessions. When it comes to going outside of Europe, I pay for my own trip or I’m invited. When I pay I try to get as much money back as I can or I buy cheaper stuff in the country. There is always a good deal around. For example, when I’ve gone to Russia I came back with vodka and cigarettes. It costs nothing over there and it’s easy to sell at a contest in Europe. Another example is that I need to buy a new laptop so I am waiting for free time to get to the US and the price difference pays for my trip, so I will stay there a bit to film. All those kinds of things make it work. With time you understand how to do things better. Plus, most of the time skaters host me, so thank you all for the help. Rollerblading is a good community when it comes to that.
What places have you been to so far? What are some of your favorites?
Except for about six or seven countries, I have been all over Europe. On top of that I have traveled to Canada, the United States, Australia, Mexico, Korea and Russia. With all that I have traveled my favorite places are Melbourne, San Diego, Montreal, Barcelona, Milan, and France. Melbourne has such a great rollerblading scene. They’re a group of friends and there is no jealousy or conflict. San Diego is where life is good. Lots of sun. You feel like you’re on vacation all year long. Plus, it’s a nice place to skate. In Montreal with Julien Cudot we won the MTL, him as Pro and me as AM. I had so much fun. The city is just crazy when it comes to partying. We didn’t even really skate and we were there for two weeks. I owe Jerry for the hook up. Barcelona is the skater’s dream with all of the parties and skating. You really need to be ready for this because it’s hard to handle the rhythm of the city for more than one month, haha. Milan is always a pleasure to visit because of my good friend, Jason Adriani. Even if there are not that many street spots available to skate there we always have fun because the city is great. I love the Italian food and women. I can’t deny that I was born in one of the best countries, if not the best. Well, at least I think France is the best. We have all we need. The sea, ocean, mountains, cold weather, hot weather. And great food, of course.
Do you typically feel out of place when you get somewhere or have you been doing it so much that you have been naturally blending in?
Well, it depends where. Sometimes I feel at home and sometimes I feel like I need to get to know more of a place to feel like I’m a part of it. It’s different for every place, but what makes you feel good is always the welcoming from skaters there.
What experiences have you gained that others will never get a chance to live? Do you feel that this has opened your mind quite a bit?
I have so much to say about experiences that I could write a book. It really is incredible. I met more people on my adventures so far than most will in their entire life. I tried so many different foods, taken millions of pictures in my head, skated the best spots in the world and visited the best skateparks. Of course I feel that it has opened my mind a lot. Now, when I say something about Korea or Australia I know how it is and I’d feel almost ignorant to talk about a place I’ve never been to. But, that’s the cool thing about it. There are still a lot of places that I need to visit, so I feel stupid when people start to speak about that because I don’t have much insight to offer. Travels give you the chance to know why people act in a certain way in their countries. Why they eat this, why they build their homes like that, why they dress like this, or why they’re influenced by that. It all opens your mind.
Are there any major changes that you see within yourself between now and back before you got into traveling all over?
Yes, definitely. Before, I felt like I was a dumb kid. I couldn’t speak any other languages, couldn’t see further than my own city, and it was easy to talk crap about people when they were different. Now, it’s totally different. I am more open-minded and I want to share my culture while having the chance to discover another one. I speak three languages and know a few words or phrases in a lot of others. Even if I feel traveling is becoming tiring and I’m out of energy it’s definitely worth it. Trust me.
If someone decided to make the effort in living a similar lifestyle, is there any advice you could share?
If you want to do it for a long time, take care of your money. Unless you’re already a baller, haha. Spend your time doing research for the best trip prices and best times to go. Be organized, get info about the places before you get there, and get in contact with the local rollers. Stick to these and you’ll have more fun and feel more secure when it comes to even dangerous places.
What are the most import things to consider when living on the open road?
Have your cell phone and laptop battery charged!
How has this all made you both a better skater and better person?
That’s easy to answer: You skate more spots with way more people, you learn from everyone, good or bad, and you have the chance to mix the spots up so you never get bored. I’ve become a better person because I’ve been humbled. When people give you everything you feel indebted to them and want to give back.
Is there anything you regret?
No. I don’t live my life with regrets. I have no time for that. Even if it wasn’t all perfect I still take it as an experience and not a failure.
What places have you not been yet, but plan on traveling to in the future? Where is this all headed? Is there an end result or do you just simply want to continue being, “The Traveler?”
Well, there are still a lot of places that I want to visit like South America, Thailand, Japan, China, Morocco, and Finland. I have no life plan. I take it all day-to-day. I am still ‘The Traveler’ and plan to be for as long as I can. I already have the rest of the year packed with trips.
What do you plan on doing when your travels will come to an end? Do you actually plan to stop traveling anytime soon?
I have a diploma in sales and in tourism, but sometimes I work as a cinematographer and editor. For the moment I am not ready to settle into a normal life. Traveling is still what I love and want to be doing. For how long it will last, I don’t know. But, I do know that right now I don’t want anything to change.