Amanda Zito on Embracing a Life of Adventure and Facing Anxiety Along the Way
Show notes for podcast #115
Amanda Zito on Embracing a Life of Adventure and Facing Anxiety Along the Way
Scott Brady interviews the inspiring Amanda Zito, solo adventure motorcycle traveler that has embraced the road less traveled. Amanda shares her process of facing anxiety and the challenges of finding her way through the wilderness of life.
Amanda Zito was born and raised in Western Montana and spent her childhood on her family’s ranch. She moved to Portland, Oregon in 2010 to attend the Pacific Northwest College of Art where she earned a BFA in Illustration and finished her Tattoo Apprenticeship. In December 2020 she quit her day job, and is now a Full-Time Content Creator. She started riding in 2012, after moving to Portland. She decided that if she couldn't ride her horses regularly anymore, a motorcycle was the natural next step. Not to mention her habit of running away from the city was getting a little expensive in just a car. She currently owns five beautiful motorcycles; Lazarus, a 1980 Suzuki 850gl, Hephaestus a 2005 Honda Shadow Spirit 750, Paul Bunyan a project 1972 Honda CB175, Briareos Hecatonchires a 2016 Honda CB500xa, and a Batavus Moped named Icarus .
Scott is the publisher and co-founder of Expedition Portal and Overland Journal and is often credited with popularizing overlanding in North America. His travels by 4WD and adventure motorcycle span all seven continents and includes three circumnavigations of the globe. His polar expeditions include two vehicle crossings of Antarctica and the first long-axis crossing of Greenland. @scott.a.brady
This episode sponsored in part by:
*all photos and info from Amandas personal website, copyright to her*
Scott Brady: Well, thank you all for attending the Overland Journal podcast live. I've got Amanda Zito. As the magpie flies, is that correct?
Amanda Zito: That is.
Scott Brady: Awesome. So thank you so much for being on the podcast with me today. And a special thanks to Nimble Vehicles for supporting this week's podcast. Nimble Vehicles has been the leading manufacturer of extreme expedition vehicles since 2019. The Nimble Evolution is the ultimate vehicle for beginning overlanders and extreme adventurers alike. The proprietary lightweight aluminum flatbed combined with a luxurious habitat allows you to confidently go where others only dream of. Built on any one ton chassis or larger with an off roading package, 75 gallons of freshwater, over 1000 watts of solar and over [00:01:00] 1000 amp hours of lithium ion batteries. You can expect to be off the grid for extended periods of time. To find out more information, visit nimblevehicles. com online, or you can email info at nimblevehicles. com for more information. Thanks again, Nimble. Your story is fascinating and there's so much inspiration to be had from the things that you've accomplished. And one of the first things that come to mind for me is, you've been a lifelong creative, what caused that transition for you to go from being a creative living in Montana to now I'm going to hop on a motorcycle and start to go see the country.
Amanda Zito: Well, the first thing is I moved from Montana, Portland in 2010 to attend art school. So that's how I got my bachelor's degree in fine arts. And as all true broke college students understand, it costed a lot of money to go home and I was homesick a lot. I had horses in Montana. I've always been a horse girl. Like you can stereotype me. That's fine. But at the time I had this boat of a car and it cost almost 400 to go home and back, and it was way too much. Especially for the amount that I wanted to go back and [00:02:00] forth. So, motorcycles were the next best thing to horses. So I started on a 1980 Suzuki GS 850 to go from Portland to Montana and back. And that's also how I got into motorcycle camping because I couldn't afford to stay at a hotel.
Scott Brady: That makes so much sense. So it was necessity was the mother of invention for you.
Amanda Zito: Exactly. Yes.
Scott Brady: And at what point did you realize that I'm not just solving a financial solution by riding a motorcycle and you're like, I really like this. What was the transition for you?
Amanda Zito: Yes. Part of it was just like being on the road and moving was the only time that I really alleviated my homesickness. And that was a really big problem for me for a long time. But if I was moving, if I was traveling, I didn't miss home so much.
Scott Brady: It is amazing how travel will do that because it's, you're in the moment. You're solving problems. You're navigating, you're experiencing new connections. And a lot of times for me, it's just being in nature that it really does settle a lot of those things in us. Is that what you found?
Amanda Zito: Yes, absolutely. Like camping and being in the woods really calmed me down. I have [00:03:00] really bad anxiety. The more time I can spend in the trees, the better.
Scott Brady: Sure. Oh, it's, it's well, I mean, I think in Japan, don't they, they, they'll actually give a prescription of, they call it nature bathing and you just. You go walk in the forest to help our soul settle a little bit. Find that stillness that's so difficult in the modern day. So what else kind of inspired you to go a little bit further? Cause now you realize I'm enjoying this. I'm going back and forth to Montana. I'm seeing my family. What made you think about going to the next step and starting to document your journeys?
Amanda Zito: It’s a combination of a lot of people. I think a lot of people are inspired by multiple, multiple people. Right. So my grandmother traveled all over the country and she was my hero for most of my life. She's still my hero. And also Kinga of on her bike. I don't know, you know, She's amazing. She's incredible. And when I first found her, it was before she had even left Australia. She had done the tour of Oz and had recorded that trip. And that was also part of the kick for me to start recording my own trips. I was like, well, she's like, it's montage of her trip. I could do that. I could totally [00:04:00] do that. And so that was a big kick for me. It was Kinga and she was very inspiring.
Scott Brady: She is very inspiring. And one of the things that I really appreciate about the content that you produce is you've done a really nice job of, of maintaining that, that this is where I've come from. This is who I am. These are the positive things that are happening. These are the negative things that are happening. One of the concerns that I think all of us have in this industry is that we don't want to misrepresent the experience, but there are days that I'm exhausted. There are days that I feel frustrated. There are days that I'm lost. There are days that those things happen. And I think you've done a really nice job of helping people understand that absolutely this is amazing, but bad things happen or, or challenging things.
Amanda Zito: Challenging things happen.
Scott Brady: What are, what are some challenges that you encountered early on that you learned how to solve that you found your, your kind of rhythm to get around them?
Amanda Zito: Well, in the early days I was still traveling on my 1980 Suzuki and 80s. A bike that's 40 years old that hasn't been treated very well has a lot of mechanical issues.
Scott Brady: Sounds like me.
Amanda Zito: Yeah. [00:05:00] And so I, in 2016, I did a loop of Montana. I did 6, 000 miles and was on the road for two and a half months. Pretty much every other day that bike broke down and it was very overwhelming at first being in the middle of nowhere, Montana, I couldn't afford to pay a mechanic. So I had to figure it all out my own. Of course I had, I carried my Bible with me, which was like the Chilton or the climber manual for my bike. Which is, it's a mechanical, mechanic handbook, so it laid out everything in vivid detail about how you're supposed to fix stuff. So my throttle cable got messed up in Northeast Montana. I had to fix that. My petcock broke in Eastern Montana. I spent a week in a tiny town in Eastern Montana.
Scott Brady: So did you lose all your fuel? It all poured out or?
Amanda Zito: It didn't all pour out. A little piece of metal got stuck in my petcock so fuel couldn't even go through the line.
Scott Brady: Oh, got it, got it, got it.
Amanda Zito: Yes. That was a whole thing, but mostly it taught me, like, when problems do arise, you just have to breathe. It's okay to freak out. Like, it's totally okay to have a little meltdown, let yourself cry, grieve your [00:06:00] original plans, because that's also necessary, and then take a deep breath, and then you tackle one thing at a time. What is the immediate problem? We have to take care of that first. The next stuff can come after that, and that's really important is staying as most of the moment as possible and worry about the future after the problem is dealt with.
Scott Brady: That's one of the things that I've noticed when people make the transition from being a tourist to a traveler is when they accept the fact that things are not going to go according to plan. As tourists, when we travel, we're on a schedule. We've got to get from here to here in this hotel. And this is when we fly out, but it sounds like you made that transition at that time.
Amanda Zito: Yes.
Scott Brady: Well, originally just the means to get to see family and then as a tourist and then as a traveler, what are some other things that you have learned as a traveler that you now bring into your day to day?
Amanda Zito: Dealing with my anxiety in a strange place. I do have anxiety attacks, and they sneak up on you in the least convenient times. It's kind of the nature of anxiety and panic attacks. When I'm at home, it's very not easy. It's simpler to deal with a panic attack because I have my safe corner, and I go to my safe corner, and I breathe through it, and calm [00:07:00] myself down, and just let it happen. It's much harder to do in a strange place, like when you're out on the road, having a panic attack at any point is extremely inconvenient and can sometimes be really dangerous. And so learning box breaths, learning my own way to deal with my anxiety, because everybody deals with it in a different way. And some things work for some people and some things don't sometimes taking box breaths and forcing yourself to breathe can make it worse. It's just a matter of trying to go through the different ways to handle your anxiety and figuring out what works for you. So for me, it's. Pulling over immediately as soon as I start to feel it. As long as there's a shoulder, right?
Scott Brady: What do you normally start to feel happening? This may be helpful for those listening that are experiencing something similar. What are you finding early on that happens?
Amanda Zito: My heart rate increases. That's the first sign for me personally. And then I started to get like this big tension in my chest and then it walls up this way and it goes into my sinuses and I start to cry and then my brain is like, why are we doing this? This isn't okay. This isn't safe. And that's like part of anxiety and panic attacks is that your body is like, this isn't safe. We can't have a panic attack. We'll be in [00:08:00] danger.
Scott Brady: And does that, that amplifies it?
Amanda Zito: Yes. Yes. It's like a cycle. It makes it so much worse.
Scott Brady: Well, so for someone that's traveling, that's experiencing anxiety in a similar way. You talked about, was it box breath?
Amanda Zito: Box breath. Yes.
Scott Brady: Can you describe that?
Amanda Zito: You're taking a moment and closing your eyes, making sure that you're grounded as much as possible. If you can take off your boots and touch like the ground with your feet, that helps me personally and closing your eyes and taking a moment and be like, everything will be okay. Not that it's okay right now. It's not okay right now, but it will be okay. Depends on your lungs. Some people can like hold their breath for four beats. Some can do it for eight. For me, I count to one, two, three, four, inhaling, hold it for four, exhale for four, and do that over and over again until it starts to relax you.
Scott Brady: And are there other things that you find when you're traveling that help with that, with help with the anxiety?
Amanda Zito: Trying to make as much of your setup feel like home as possible. And that's part of the reason I like camping so much because my tent feels like my home. Everything has its place. Everything goes where it's supposed to be. It's like [00:9:00] playing house when you're a kid, right? If you have a big cardboard box, you had your bed area. You had your little side table, those kinds of things. And so I do that in my tent. So I have my bed, I have a little side table, I have where my clothes go, where my bathroom is, which is just my toiletry kit that goes up in a little, my tent has a little pockets. So if I can create a safe space that I can make anywhere, it helps so much.
Scott Brady: Oh, and that's. It's incredible that you have, you found these tools. I mean, that's really impressive and it's not stopped. You've seen what you want to see. When I read through your bio, you, you took a big trip around the country. And can you share what it, well, first of all, what inspired you to do that? And then what did, where did you go?
Amanda Zito: First one or the second one?
Scott Brady: The first one, the first big trip.
Amanda Zito: The first one, where I went from Portland, Oregon to North Carolina and I came back, I did that on my 2016 CB500X. Honestly, my answer is kind of shallow, but I just had not spent much time on the eastern half of states. I bought a scratch off map and I scratched off everywhere that I had [00:10:00] been and it was like the whole western half of the United States. A couple of little states in the south, but I had not spent like any time on the eastern half of the United States. And I was like, I should, if I'm like educating people about getting outdoors, I should have experience on the other half of our country, right?
Scott Brady: Sure. And what did you think? What was the, what was the takeaway?
Amanda Zito: So much different than over here for sure. East does have public lands, but they're smaller and they're more compact and access is kind of harder than it is over here.
Scott Brady: It's more difficult to find places to camp.
Amanda Zito: Definitely made me respect the challenges. That a lot of my YouTube audience has, cause they're from the east coast and trying to find places to access. They were outdoors.
Scott Brady: And what tools did you find that helped you find campsites?
Amanda Zito: All of the apps. So many apps.
Scott Brady: What's your favorite app?
Amanda Zito: Well I'm biased cause I'm sponsored by On X Offroad.
Scott Brady: Okay. So Onyx is a favorite.
Amanda Zito: But I was using it for quite a while before they sponsored me. That was part of the reason they sponsored me cause I was already very fluent in the app. And I loved it. There are, of course, other apps like Gaia and those kinds of things that.
Scott Brady: iOverlanders.
Amanda Zito: And [00:11:00] iOverlander, yes. But specifically to show you the property boundaries of public versus private land, On X and Gaia and I think the Public Lands app will show you the borders between public and private land. And that's also very important to know, especially on the western half of the United States, if you do any dispersed camping, to know what kind of land you're on. So that you're following the rules appropriate to that organization.
Scott Brady: And that is one thing that's really useful about On X. Just knowing that you're on state land. Some states require permits to be on state land. Knowing if you've ventured into private land accidentally, that's really helpful.
Amanda Zito: Definitely. For sure.
Scott Brady: What other things did you find about traveling in that area that are different from the Pacific Northwest? What gear did you need that was different? What solutions did you find that worked well?
Amanda Zito: I thought that I was prepared coming from the Pacific Northwest and we have a lot of rain. But I obviously did not do a good enough job waterproofing my tent. I had a massive downpour in West Virginia and like my tent, like not totally flooded, but there was moisture in my tent because the area that I was in was a slight depression. But I didn’t see, [00:12:00] because there was hay all over the campsite. And I was like, why is there hay here? It's because it floods. My tent was in a slight depression. The water went under and over my footprint, soaked through my bathtub.
Scott Brady: So you finished this trip out East and now you are planning a bigger trip, which the next one, I think was kind of around the country as it looked like.
Amanda Zito: I did that one. I did. That was in March.
Scott Brady: Okay. And what, what did you learn from the first trip out East that you changed? Did you change your bike? What were the things that you changed about your travel or your equipment when you did the bigger trip?
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Amanda Zito: There was a couple of upgrades I did. I got new brakes, but that was my bike needed that. I added a Pelican case to my bike so I could bring my laptop along with me. Obviously this is my whole job is to be a content creator. And I knew that I needed more than just a tablet to be able to do my job on this trip. I added a Pelican case to the luggage rack of my bike and I mount my camping duffel on top of that. The Pelican case protects my laptop to make sure that it's all nice and safe. It's lockable. I added extra locks onto it. A big upgrade for me was I added called a moto jug to my bike for hydration. I normally carry a hydration backpack. I've done that for ages on the first Costco tip. I started to get back pain. I was wearing it [00:14:00] every single day, nonstop, and that's two and a half liters, and water is like some of the heaviest things that you could wear. So I added a moto jug, which is one gallon, and it's in a steel container, and it sits in like this fabric, and it sits on the passenger peg of my bike, and then there's a hose that come up the top, so all you do is pull it. There's no weight on your body. I stayed way more hydrated. It was awesome.
Scott Brady: Yeah, I used to have, like a camelback that I would wear. And I was talking to a Dakar rider and he, and he said, well, first of all, put the weight on the mule, which is the bike. And then he said, the bigger problem is it closes off all the ventilation for the back of your jacket. So it could really, you know, include all of the airflow. through there and block that off. And I thought that's a really good advice. So I, I've not done that since then. That's a good observation.
Amanda Zito: Life changing, isn't it?
Scott Brady: Changes a lot. So when you're camping remote, how do you normally eat? What, what's your solution for that?
Amanda Zito: I've become kind of obsessive about my camp kitchen. I used to just really rely on like canned soups because it couldn't afford dehydrated meals all the time because they become [00:15:00] kind of expensive. That's what you're eating most of the time. Also a lot of dehydrated meals tend to have a lot of sodium or preservatives in them. There are wonderful companies now that have removed those kinds of things, which is super awesome.
Scott Brady: Is there one that you like?
Amanda Zito: Packet Gourmet. I think they're based out of Texas. They're my favorite.
Scott Brady: Okay. That's good to know.
Amanda Zito: But they do tend, it's a little bit expensive. I think their meals start at about 14. Of course that's two servings. So you could definitely split them up if you wanted to. But I knew that that wasn't sustainable for me longterm for all of the meals on the road. I started branching out. I learned how to make pasta in a pot, like one pot pastas that are super easy. And then I started making more complicated things. I learned how to make rice in my camp stove, which is. It's very tricky.
Scott Brady: I can imagine. I've never done that.
Amanda Zito: I'm like making little stir fries. So now I have a skillet and a pot, so that I could like start rice, let it hydrate on the side and then make a stir fry in my skillet. Most of the time my meals end up being vegetarian so that I don't have to worry about keeping meat at a safe temperature. I don't carry a cooler or anything else. [00:16:00] So most of my meals are shelf stable or last a couple days because I'll stop at a grocery store and pick up fresh vegetables and cook them at camp. And most party vegetables will last like two to three days on the motorcycle if you pack them correctly.
Scott Brady: And what do you do to help them correctly?
Amanda Zito: If it's a more, fragile vegetables like cherry tomatoes and that kind of stuff, if you get the cherry tomatoes in like the plastic pack. That way it doesn't get crushed. I have soft bags, so that's something I have to worry about. Broccoli, if you can wrap it in kind of like a damp paper towel, it will last a little bit longer, especially the hotter that it gets outside. If you could like wrap them in something moist, it helps it stay a little bit longer. Carrots are very hardy. They'll last on the bike for like a week. Same thing with potatoes.
Scott Brady: And have you found that eating better has helped you stay out longer?
Amanda Zito: Yes, absolutely. I've always had stomach problems, so I've always kind of pay attention to what I'm eating. So making sure that I'm consuming way more vegetables and greens and that kind of stuff has like, one, make me felt so much better and like I can ride longer during the day without starting to feel bogged [00:17:00] down and that kind of stuff. I don't know if you've had a day where you ate just like way too much jerky and you can feel it.
Scott Brady: Like I'm dehydrating from the inside out.
Amanda Zito: Yes.
Scott Brady: I've probably done that more times than I should admit to.
Amanda Zito: And like the other benefit of eating a lot of vegetables on the road is that you're also hydrating from the vegetables as well. We all, as outdoor people, I'm sure have a struggle with staying hydrated. You just cannot get enough water into your body. Electrolytes, of course, are very, very important. And a lot of people know that. But like being able to also being hydrated from the food that you're consuming is awesome.
Scott Brady: And it's hard to carry enough water on a motorcycle.
Amanda Zito: Yes.
Scott Brady: They're very payload sensitive. And then once you go off road, the heavier the bike is, the more challenging.
Amanda Zito: Definitely.
Scott Brady: Which leads me to a question. When you started riding, were you mostly on pavement and then started to introduce Off road riding. Did you have any experience off road riding when you were younger? What were some of the things that helped you? Cause I see a lot of your photos now you are getting further off road, crossing streams. It's awesome. It's awesome. What, what kind of, what was the progress for you to feel more comfortable solo riding off road? [00:18:00]
Amanda Zito: I started going off road with that 1980 Suzuki, just cause I didn't know any better. It was like, I want to go to that place. And the fact that it was gravel didn't face me. When I started writing, I didn't really know anybody else who rode. So I didn't get any of like that fear of like dirt or rocks or anything like that involved my grandpa rode, but he only rode with me a couple of times. And when I did ride with him, he's like, gravel is the same as pavement. Just go a little bit slower. You know, when I first started writing, it just like. Well, my campsite's that way. I'm just going to go there was a little bit cautious. Of course, I don't ride nearly as like quickly as I do now. I'm not going to say fast. I'm not a fast rider off road, but definitely just like taking it slow, taking it easy. If I felt uncomfortable, I stop and I breathe and you keep going. Going from the Suzuki, I got the CB500X and a Honda shadow, a cruiser bike. And same thing. I did everything on the cruiser that I didn't know CB because I didn't know any better.
Scott Brady: The bike that you travel on now, is it a CB500 you said?
Amanda Zito: Yes. Yes. Yeah. I'm borrowing an Africa twin from Honda right now. I'm extremely spoiled. I don't know how I'm going to give that bike [00:19:00] back.
Scott Brady: That's a different kind of motorcycle. Does it have the DCT or is it a manual transmission?
Amanda Zito: It's the DCT. Yeah.
Scott Brady: What do you think of that?
Amanda Zito: It has grown on me.
Scott Brady: Yeah at first it’s tough.
Amanda Zito: Yes.
Scott Brady: Why do I have an automatic transmission on my motorcycle?
Amanda Zito: At first you're just like, where is, where is my clutch? But when you have to do long hauls and you're going through towns and stuff, it's really nice.
Scott Brady: Yeah. Or even really technical off road, because it kind of works like a reverse clutch and you can go really slow without stalling.
Amanda Zito: Yes. Yeah. If you go up a hill, like I feel like a lot of that fear of like cutting out the engine halfway up the hill is totally gone now. Yeah.
Scott Brady: Yeah. And you think that that is the direction that you would want to go? Something about that size now that you've ridden it longer?
Amanda Zito: I think that the Avro twin is just like exactly what I need for what I do right now. It is definitely heavy, but I don't do a lot of super technical riding at the moment. I'm much more interested in like traveling, seeing a lot of new things. And I am about, like, trying to do really technical, difficult obstacles, if that makes sense.
Scott Brady: No, it totally makes sense. So speaking of traveling and seeing new things, what are some of your [00:20:00] goals going forward? Where do you, where do you want to go next now that you've done these big loops in the U. S. What's next?
Amanda Zito: A long term goal is to go to Alaska, of course. I want to hit as many of the United States, states as I can before trying to set my sights abroad. I do have the northeast of the United States to hit next, then Alaska is after that.
Scott Brady: And do you think you would ride through Canada or would you take the ferry or what would be your plan?
Amanda Zito: I think it's more cost effective to go through Canada. I did look at the ferry and if I go to Alaska, I really want my brother to go with me and for Two bikes on a ferry, like don't quote me. I'm sure prices have changed, but when I looked at it, it was like 5, 000 for two bikes.
Scott Brady: Could be yeah.
Amanda Zito: And so going up through Canada would be much more cost effective. And I kind of want to go up to the Arctic circle, see that, and then go back to the Arctic.
Scott Brady: Yeah. Nice. Yeah. Tuktoyaktuk is amazing. And now that there's the summer road, it's much easier to do that on a motorcycle. You'd have to have studded tires to do it before that. On the ice roads.
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Scott Brady: When you think about Or when you talk to people that are interested in having this same experiences as you, what is some common pieces of advice that you give to new writers or people that want to maybe venture further? What's, what's some advice that you tend to give?
Amanda Zito: To be patient with yourself first [00:22:00] off, like just because you see other people online doing super difficult obstacles. Doesn't mean that you have to, if it's not fun for you, there's no reason for you to be doing it also to invest in good gear. I, especially people who are getting started camping, whether for the first things that they turn to is big box stores, cause it's cheap and it's accessible from my experience. I did do that and I regretted it almost immediately. So investing in really good gear, even if that's like a budget backpacking tent. You will be so much happier in the long run.
Scott Brady: Oh, that's great advice. And one of the things that I found with motorcycling is you have to use lightweight gear. And you have to spend some money in order to get something that is lightweight and durable. So what have you found are some things that have worked really well for you? What's part of your kit that you're like, this is my go to stuff.
Amanda Zito: Life changing piece of gear for me was when I got my Big Agnes tent. It's a Copper Spur HV UL2 bike packing version. Big Agnes, and I'm sure other companies do this as well. They have a series of bike packing tents. They're specific to like [00:23:00] bicycle packing, not necessarily motorcycling, but it fits perfect for our uses. And part of that is because the pole sections are broken down into 12 inch instead of like 17 inches and it's ultra light. So it packs down tiny, doesn't weigh very much. The copper spur is to a two person tent and it's about the size that a normal one person tent would be like packed up.
Scott Brady: Has that held up?
Amanda Zito: Well, yes, I've had it. for almost five years now.
Scott Brady: Oh, geez. Yeah.
Amanda Zito: Yeah. It's a good tent. Yes.
Scott Brady: And nothing is broken?
Amanda Zito: And nothing is broken. I did have to patch one hole, but that was my fault. Not the tent.
Scott Brady: Sure that happens. That's incredible. Okay. So what are the things that are like that that have been so impressive like that for you?
Amanda Zito: See the summit X series for their kitchen equipment has been really, really awesome. I used to carry around a stainless steel Stanley pot and I dropped it. When I had a tiger, I dropped it pretty heavily on a rock and that Stanley pot just like caved in. It was a very trusty pot for a very long time. And it's a great option for people who need something like that. The Sea to Summit X line has like this, X pot that collapses down nice and flat. And then [00:24:00] they have the alpha pan that And the pot kind of nestles into the pan. And then I have a kettle and a cup and it sounds like a lot of stuff, but it packs down like this much because it all folds into each other. And I've dropped the bike multiple times. I think the Alfa pan has like a small thing into it, but like nothing like the way that my Stanley pot, like crunched in not saying that Stanley is bad. But that's what I did do it.
Scott Brady: When you get off a motorcycle and just about anything, putting your foot. It hurts.
Amanda Zito: Yes, definitely.
Scott Brady: After all of these journeys, what do you think you've learned most about yourself after all of that?
Amanda Zito: I have grown so much, definitely. And I first, first started writing. I would not talk to anybody when I left the house. I had made my map, and like, even when I went to the gas station, I wouldn't talk to anybody. I would purposely go to gas stations where I could pay the pump and keep going, right? When I did that big tour of Montana, one of my rules was that I wasn't allowed to use GPS. I only had to use, was allowed to use paper maps, because I knew it would force me to talk to people. Which was amazing. I met incredible humans on that trip.
Scott Brady: Oh, that's, that's some great insights. You talk about starting to interact with others [00:25:00] as you began to travel more. What have you most learned about other people in your journeys?
Amanda Zito: Everybody has a story and they want to tell you.
Scott Brady: Yeah, that's true. That's true. And sometimes it'll take half the day to do that.
Amanda Zito: Yes. I've also developed an excellent skill of telling very kind old men that are telling me about their triumph that I have to go.
Scott Brady: Can you share that with me? Because I would like to know. I want to know what that magic is. What is working for you to just to graciously step out of a conversation?
Amanda Zito: You kind of like nod, nod. And when they take a breath, you're like, I'm really, really sorry, but I do have to meet some friends down the road. I am. It was lovely to talk to you. Scott Brady: Yes. It's a good one. I'll have to, even if the friends are very far down the road, like a week later, still truthful. That's good. That's great advice. One of the things that we really like to ask, and it's, it's a, it's a selfish question for me is the books that you've read or the books that have been inspiring for you and you'd share those with us.
Amanda Zito: I mean, I like the cliche answer, but it is [00:26:00] true as I love Jupiter's travels. Ted Simon is incredible. Of course, Sam Manicom, incredible writer. Stories of a Motorcycle Gypsy by Tiffany. I can't remember her last name right now. The rest of them are, oh, Graham. Graham makes incredible books. I can't remember his last name right now.
Scott Brady: Graham Bell?
Amanda Zito: Yes. Thank you.
Scott Brady: Yeah they're great. Yeah, Sam's books that the one I don't remember, it was the one in Africa and it opens with that story of him getting in that accident. Unbelievable. Has that inspired you to write your own?
Amanda Zito: I've been thinking about it.
Scott Brady: Okay, that's good. That's good.
Amanda Zito: I'm much better at visual storytelling than I am at the written word. So it'll probably be a bit off like as time wise. Yeah.
Scott Brady: Yeah. Well, so now that you've got your, your Alaska plans working out, we were just talking, you're talking about Alaska. What are the things do you hope to accomplish in the next couple of years? Maybe not even a location, but are there some things that you want to learn as a rider or as a writer?
Amanda Zito: I mean, I would really love to improve in motorcycling. I think everybody should always strive to improve in that craft, no matter how old you are. Or [00:27:00] how long you have been writing. So of course, like more, dirt bike skills and that kind of stuff is in my future. Trying to get better at those kinds of things.
Scott Brady: You're thinking about taking a training class?
Amanda Zito: Yes. Yeah. I took, the she ADV class last year. Our ADV woman and she ADV were working together at get on ADV fest in South Dakota. And I'm going back to that soon. So I'm super stoked for that. And working with Pat was amazing. I have like talked to other instructors in the past and we just never really clicked. So I didn't take their class and working with Pat was incredible.
Scott Brady: Yeah. I think that the training on a motorcycle is key because it just gives, it builds on that confidence. How do people find out more about you and your travels? What talk about all of your socials and all of the things?
Amanda Zito: Well, the easy one is my website asthemagpieflies.com. So if you go there that has all of the things on YouTube, I'm asthemagpieflies, and that's one of my more active social medias. I post there almost every Friday and there's a couple of times during the summertime where I get, I'm on a trip and I just can't make the next video. Almost every Friday I upload to YouTube, asthemagpieflies [00:28:00]. And then on Instagram, I'm at blind thistle can't see the weeds that of course I had before. The whole YouTube thing happened.
Scott Brady: So you got it. You got to tell me, cause I'm interested in the story. What brought you to calling it as the magpie flies?
Amanda Zito: That one's pretty simple. That one as the crow flies, of course, straight line, we're traveling. That wasn't easy, but I don't really go straight to anywhere. And we had magpies on our property growing up. Like a big flock came in every year. I grew up on a ranch and so I love magpies. I thought they were the most beautiful birds. And if you've ever watched a magpie, they're kind of, I mean, like they like shiny things, so they'll come here and they'll obviously think that they're going to go that way and then they see something and they're like, I want to go over there and then we'll go over there all over the place. That's me.
Scott Brady: Sounds like a perfect way to travel. So we're, we're recording this at the Overland Expo. What are some things that you've seen at the show that you are really enjoying?
Amanda Zito: Oh my gosh, there's so much. stuff. All the classes have been incredible. I've honestly spent more time listening to other people's classes than I have walking [00:29:00] around.
Scott Brady: Yeah. No, the people here are so inspiring. And I think, I think the, the event does such a wonderful job of maintaining that balance between the equipment and the people that are actually out and doing it. I think that that's so important. Well, thank you so much for being on, on the podcast today and sharing your amazing stories and adventures. Keep it up and keep us up to date on how you're doing and where you're going. And we'll share that with the audience as well.
Amanda Zito: Thank you. Thank you so much for inviting me.
Scott Brady: You're welcome. Thanks for being here. Thank you all for attending.