His passion for music, social justice and road trips knows no bounds.
George Stroumboulopoulos lives life in the fast lane. He pushes and exceeds the speed limits with music blaring as he journeys across North America with his most loyal and favourite travel companion—a BMW F800 GS motorcycle racer.
A rebel streak flows through Stroumboulopoulos but he’s one rebel with a cause—or many in fact. The CBC TV host of George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight and CBC Radio’s The Strombo Show brings his passion for social and environmental causes to such far-flung places as the high Arctic, the earthquake-torn streets of Haiti and conflict-torn Sudan.
On his TV show, Stroumboulopoulos doesn’t just interview guests. He engages with them—posing tough, absurd and soul-searching questions to guests ranging from Richard Branson, Sarah Palin, Tom Cruise to Hillary Clinton and Coldplay. Stroumboulopoulos, now a vegan who gave up booze and drugs 12 years ago, is happiest alone on the road with no particular destination in sight. Music defines him. Where the music plays is where you will find Stroumboulopoulos. This rebel is always looking for a good ride and a good vibe.
What kind of hotels do you like?
When possible I don’t stay in a nice hotel—I don’t even stay in a Days Inn. I go and sketch out the most compromised neighbourhood at a drive-in motel and that’s where I stay.
What inspires you to travel?
For me it’s music, so whatever connects to me is through music. I spend a lot of time in the Deep South because of the music. I went to Clarksdale, Mississippi, because I love the Delta blues big time. Music has always been my way to get away. And I am not an escape guy. I don’t need an escape, I just want to go.
What’s a favourite spot you like to visit?
Joshua Tree National Park, California, is my holy land. It is where I go and just be.
Any road trips with mom?
I don’t think of a road trip with my mom because I drive way too fast. My mom wouldn’t like that.
Any interesting places outside of North America
where you have taken a motorcycle trip?
I have ridden a motorcycle from Dublin to Belfast, which was amazing. I got to ride a motorcycle in Pakistan, which was really wild.
What do you bring on every trip?
Music, healthy snacks—and it’s going to sound super cheesy to say this—but an open heart. You kind of just have to take it in. I don’t want to go and have my experience; I want to go and have the experience. This is not about me; this is about what’s out there.
What was one of the weirdest things that happened on a trip?
It was in Al Junaynah, Sudan, which is on the border of Chad. I’ve never seen an airport like that. My bag, which I had to take through security, got kicked around by other baggage on the security belt, which was a goat! A guy put a goat on the conveyor belt.
Where would you like to go next?
I would love to ride a motorcycle through Europe. I want to see the World War II sites. I’m a cold-war baby so I want to see Eastern Europe. I’m fascinated by Eastern Europe. I want to see where it all went down. The Berlin Wall is the most important political event in my lifetime.