We regularly talk about Tito Tomasi in these columns. We appreciate his work and dream of his lifestyle. Tito travels the world to live out his passions; biking, surfing & painting. A great combination that he lives out every day wherever he may be.
Between 2 planes and 2 mountains, he was in Vieux-Boucau to paint a board during one of the GromSearch stops, and found time to answer our questions.
* Last time we spoke was a year ago, you’d just returned from Kyrgyzstan. What’s been happening since?Wow! Lots have been going on! Lots of new projects and meeting new people. After a couple of weeks surfing and painting in the Landes, I began new adventures. Bike guiding in Haute-Savoie and more importantly a book project based on my travels. We’ve decided the book will be released during the Roc d’Azur in Fréjus in October during the leading mountain bike event in the world.
The project set the pace and I wanted to add some new destinations. I travelled to Nicaragua during a month, crossing the country in search of some of the most amazing trails and volcanoes.
"Such a shock to go from Google Map to the real thing!"
My book took me to the enriching and stunning Cape-Verde. I spent time biking in mountainous summits and surfing in the islands. The welcome was fantastic and the trip was just awesome. The book then took me elsewhere.
To Indonesia, where I spent time biking and surfing through the islands in search of the best trails and waves. I was even able to do a paint workshop with local kids.
The book ended with Georgia, through stunning and wild landscapes for an awesome trail full of culture. The country is stuck between Russia, Turkey and Armenia, and the fantastic historical sites include medieval ruins, castles, towers and citadels. An incredible adventure of sharing and travelling through the Caucasus.
* Can you be more specific about each destination?Each destination has been outstanding, be it on a personal level or the adventures I’ve experienced. Peru was my first real mountain biking trip; riding my bike in the capital Lima was complete madness! Then through the deserts and high mountain trails. Such a shock to go from Google Map to the real thing!
I understood the best way of riding the trails, and all of a sudden the trips became completely awesome. I have lived incredible adventures, such as in Ecuador or Georgia. These adventures are like a new life, I just sit back and enjoy. I ride, surf, and paint, what more can I ask for? I also spent three months in Hawaii…
* How do you find time to draw when travelling?I always have watercolors and notebooks in my bag and Posca to customize people’s stuff. People always like having a custo helmet, surfboard or just a sign. I write every day, and keep track of everything. I paint what I live, and most sketches are done whilst on the mountain trails or at the end of the day.
* Can you tell us a little more about the art workshops you did with local kids in Indonesia and Cape-Verde?Whenever possible I try to do a workshop with local kids or adults. It’s very laid back, we find some sort of canvas and I give them some Posca pens. I give them a theme to follow, usually something to do with Nature, and get drawing together.
Kids love it! Using a large support or material is thrilling and Posca is so simple to use. They keep the painted objects as a souvenir of our time together, such as the four long-boards I did for a surf school in Nicaragua.
* What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen during your travels?I saw many strange things but the most significant must have been when crossing the Caucasus in Georgia. There were human skeletons inside towers on sites of ruins, and the story goes that during the 12th Century, the elderly and the sick returned to the citadel to die peacefully.
* Is bathing naked in Nicaragua part of being free?Ah ha! Riding through a country and climbing up trails of some of the most spectacular mountains is close enough to my idea of freedom. To be where I want to when I want to, and to have a choice in life is a luxury. Perhaps it’s the definition of freedom.
* Your book is now on sale yet last time we spoke, you didn’t seem very keen…I was contacted last year by VTOPO, an editor from Marseille specialized in nature and cycling books. Cédric wanted to work together; it took me a long while to get my head around the idea.
Trail of Freedom marks three years of mountain biking adventures. Ten destinations and the endless pursuit of freedom. Having kept a log of all my adventures, it seemed only natural to show and share them. A real challenge and a fantastic experience.
"Life is a journey full of surprises, be free to choose them! "
* How’s the book laid out?I re-read all my notebooks and re did the drawings and sketches to make up what is the book today. The original watercolors and sketches couldn’t be used for printing. Texts were rewritten to obtain a more dynamic rhythm and to put across the sense of freedom each journey took me on.
Ten chapters, ten destinations and such a sense of fulfillment. Over the years I have received so much support and encouragement, this book is dedicated to all those that have carried me with their energy.
The book contains 128 pages and is out on October 10th. A signed edition is available from my website www.titotomasi.fr, released at La FNAC or found on Amazon, La Maison de la Presse…
* What’s next?Ah well, lots of new adventures, a new long-term book project and another challenge. This winter, I’ll be involved in MTB races abroad, with events lasting several days in stunning mountainous environments. Events will take place in Chili, Argentina, Canada, Nepal and also France. I’m excited to be with other contestants and enrich my world of travels.
Other partnerships include Urge Bike Products for the helmets and ION for the clothing. Together we’re working on setting up live custo workshops and collaborations with other artists. There will be more art as I’m currently working on exhibitions, in particular one with Posca in Paris (date to be confirmed).
As you can see, the schedule is busy yet positive! Life is a journey full of surprises, be free to choose them!