You may not have seen Hans Karlsson, but it's more likely he's seen you. 
At the age of 91, he's logged over 600,000 miles on his Honda Gold Wing, reaching all corners of the globe, chalking up 76 countries in total.
Recently, Karlsson returned to his home in Harahan, Louisiana to pen his new book, "Around the World on Two Wheels: An Old Man’s Motorcycle Journeys Through 76 Countries" (Kalmar Books), which details his course through the heart of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, over a leg of Japan, and into the belly of South America.  
What motivates a 91-year-old to want to ride solo to such faraway destinations? An insatiable desire to see other countries and other cultures he says. 
“I’ve had a love of travel ever since I can remember. I grew up in a small town in Sweden and always knew that I wanted to see the world. I joined the Swedish navy in the Second World War and I’ve basically been traveling ever since. After the navy, I took various jobs that required travel to other countries. I guess I never really lost my curiosity about other parts of the world. When I retired, I decided I wanted to keep exploring.”
It was Karlsson's son who got him on a motorcycle, however.
“Paul had a bike and he taught me how to ride. And in 1993, when I was just a youngster of 68, we took a trip together from Miami to California. I loved it. He rode a Gold Wing and let me ride his Suzuki Intruder. Since then, I’ve ridden everywhere.”
In the Western Hemisphere alone he’s ridden from Alaska, to Argentina. Shipping his bike across oceans, he’s ridden through Paris, Moscow, New Delhi, Tokyo, Sydney, Istanbul, Tehran, Zurich, and a thousand other cities, towns, and villages along the way.
After that first trip, Karlsson got a Gold Wing. 
“They’re heavier, more stable,” he explains, “with a lot of comforts and conveniences, like trunks for storage and even a stereo system. Basically, they’re designed for the kind of long-distance touring that I do.”
Around the World on Two Wheels was written from the daily logs that Karlsson journaled. Despite the hundreds of thousands of miles of landscape he's seen, it’s the people that have made the biggest impression on Karlsson. “We might live in dramatically different cultures,” he says, “but we’re really all the same underneath. I’m always surprised at the hospitality I’ve received no matter where on earth I’ve gone. Everybody’s always so helpful. I’ve made friends all over the world. That’s the best part.”
At 91, Karlsson has no plans to slow down. “I’m healthy and I feel good,” he says. “There are a few places I haven’t seen yet and a few places I’d like to see again. I’ll keep going just as long as I can ride.”
"Around the World on Two Wheels: An Old Man’s Motorcycle Journeys Through 76 Countries" can be found on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

Book Information

"Around the World on Two Wheels: An Old Man’s Motorcycle Journeys Through 76 Countries," Kalmar Books, April, 2017, 373 pages, $17.95 paperback, also available in eBook, ISBN: 978-0-692-83553-1.

About the Author

Hans Karlsson, born in 1925, dreamed of traveling the world ever since he was a little boy growing up in the small town of Brunna, Sweden. But it was only later in life that Hans discovered his most cherished means of travel: motorcycle touring. He was 68 when he took his first long-distance ride. He’s 91 now and, in the intervening years, he estimates he’s logged more than 600,000 miles. And those miles have taken him from Alaska to Argentina, throughout the Middle East, all over Europe and Japan, into Africa, down under to Australia and New Zealand, and, quite literally, around the world.