Riana Petanjek is a Croatian journalist, TV presenter and motorcycle rider, three passions that she likes to combine into awe-inspiring travel adventures. This year, Riana partnered with Motul to bring the story of Motul’s products to a wider audience of likeminded petrolheads. Part ambassador, part influencer and completely travel obsessed, this is Riana’s story.
LIVING THE AMERICAN DREAM: RIDING ROUTE 66 ON A HARLEY
How would you describe what you do, Riana?
I’m a travel writer and journalist and have a travel TV show in Croatia. Motul gives me some products and, when I’m travelling around Croatia and everywhere else I go, I bring a Motul product with me to feature. I write a story about where to go, why to go there and what to eat etc... Maybe in the future we will do more things with Motul as well. I was in South America earlier this year on a magazine assignment, before I started working with Motul, and Motul showed an interest in supporting these long-distance trips.
On your Instagram, I notice a lot of motorbikes on your travels. Can you tell us more about that?
Yes, most of the time I travel by bike. Hopefully I’ll do much more with motorbikes before it gets too cold. I did Route 66 on a Harley Davidson, all by myself. That’s when I became kind of well-known in Croatia and lots more people started following me. It was a really interesting experience, a woman travelling solo across the United States on a motorcycle. One of my plans is to make a documentary out of that trip. I’ve also done a video recently where I went to a motorbike shop and created a “how to prepare your motorbike for winter” video. It was supported by Motul and we used Motul products to show viewers the best way to protect and store your bike over the winter.
Were you aware of Motul’s products before you started working with them this year?
Yes, even before I started working with Motul, I was using Motul products because I wanted to treat my bike well. But it’s more than just the lubricants for the engine. I use the products for my leather jackets and helmets. My helmets are often ruined by make-up and the only thing that gets it off is this spray. I can’t put my helmet in a washing machine [laughs].
In terms of travelling, how long have you been doing it professionally?
Ten years at least. I’ve lived in India, working as a journalist. Then I spent a lot of time in Asia as a tour guide, then moved to the United States for two years. I did a lot of road tripping in the US. This winter I travelled almost the whole of South America. When it comes to numbers, I don’t know how many countries I’ve visited. I don’t count them. Next on my bucket list is Australia and New Zealand.
What is your favourite country for road trips?
The United States. Even after so many years and countries, there’s no better place to travel through. Road trips there are amazing, especially on a motorcycle. It’s just so big, and there are so many places to see. You can travel for hours and not come across another person. It’s this feeling of freedom that I’ve never experienced before or after. It’s a really special experience for people like me who love road trips. Route 66 is my most memorable adventure. I ended up doing the length of the route twice because I was constantly getting lost (I wanted to do it the old-fashioned way without navigation). Also, if I was close to somewhere interesting, I would take a detour to go and see it. When I was returning the bike to LA, the guy looked at the number of miles and asked if I’d gone to Mexico [laughs]. I ended up doing 8,000kms in two weeks, almost double the route.
How has the pandemic affected your travelling this year?
It’s changed my life in a bad way [laughs]. I was really happy to start working with Motul this year because everything else stopped, even my TV show. I was lucky enough to get back from South America before the lockdowns started in Europe in March.
Where’s the first place you’re going to go once the pandemic is out of the way?
I’d like to travel across Canada on my motorcycle. I’d go all the way, and go into the northern parts of the USA, too. I’d also love to go to Argentina again and ride across there on a motorcycle, especially over the Andes. I reckon that would be up there with my Route 66 ride.