Project Octane: Entrepreneurship with Heart

It takes a lot of patience, determination and commitment to become an entrepreneur. It also takes a lot of heart. EO El Salvador’s Edwin Escobar knows that more than anyone, having recently set a Guinness World Record for the most country capitals traveled continuously on a motorcycle.

Doing something for others has always been a way of life for Edwin. Driven by a desire to give back to his community, he recently visited five Central American countries and their capital cities to generate awareness of children’s nutritional issues, a cause central to his charity, Love ’N Roll. Upon completing his record-setting journey, Octane caught up with Edwin to learn more about his adventure, the preparation involved and how EO helped realize his vision.

You started your trip in San Jose and ended in Guatemala City just 29 hours later— talk about an entrepreneurial journey! What inspired you to take this adventure?

EE: I’ve always been passionate about sports that involve wheels. As I got older, I noticed that the people practicing these kinds of sports are very passionate and always looking for new adventures. After meeting with Gerardo Funes, a fellow EO member who owns an advertising agency, I came up with a way to channel that passion and make a mark in my community. That’s how Love ’N Roll was born.

What were you hoping to accomplish with Love ’N Roll?

EE: I started the charity to raise funds and awareness for children’s nutritional programs in El Salvador and Guatemala. According to UNICEF, malnutrition among children in El Salvador is 23 percent, and in Guatemala it’s an astounding 49 percent. I chose this cause because the first few years of a child’s life are critical for physical and cognitive development. A child who does not have enough (or the right) nutrients in this phase may go on to have health complications and learning challenges. Nutrition goes hand in hand with education if you want to bring a country out of poverty. I am convinced that a country with limited natural resources, like El Salvador, can overcome poverty through brainpower and ingenuity.

How did you prepare for this record-setting journey?

EE: The preparation required picking the right equipment and training the areas of the body that’s most involved. For this challenge, I picked the BMW R1200 GS Adventure, a wonderful motorcycle with a huge tank of 8.4 gallons that can easily travel more than 320 miles at regular speed. As far as physical preparation is concerned, I focused on the abdominal and lower back areas. Exercises like yoga and Pilates are great for strengthening the core. Also, the mental factor and resilience cannot be overemphasized; to me these are far more relevant than the physical condition or the equipment.

How fast did you need to go to set this record?

EE: It wasn’t about speed— it was all about rhythm. To establish this world record, I traveled close to 1,000 miles on a motorcycle continuously, only stopping at border crossings and capitals to have a picture taken at a monument and to meet with attorneys who verified that it was me on the same motorcycle. If you go fast, it is more stressful and you get tired quicker. On the other hand, if you go at a comfortable pace, you feel more rested and you’re in what athletes call “the zone.” Also, Guinness is very strict on complying with local speed limits.

How has being an entrepreneur helped you fulfill your goals?

EE: Being an entrepreneur has made all the difference in bringing this two-year project to light. An entrepreneur knows the meaning of the quote: “A business is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” I believe that one of the keys to making any dream come true is to treat it like a new venture. I hired a project manager right from the beginning to follow up on the idea, and I am sure that without her, I would have stumbled and probably abandoned the project entirely.

What role did EO play in the success of this venture?

EE: EO has been fundamental in the process of Love ’N Roll. This idea took form during a conversation with two EO members: Gerardo Funes and Jose Luis Saca. They’ve provided assistance through their companies and staff, without charging me a dime. Talk about the power of EO! My Forum has been a blessing, too. They have been a great support system and offered a ton of guidance.

What did this experience teach you about business or life?

EE: In general, I tend to dread the process and focus solely on the outcome. I have become conscious of this, and I am doing all that I can to enjoy the process as much as possible. Often, the process takes 90 percent of the time and effort, and the outcome is only 10 percent. By dreading the process, I am dreading life because life itself is a process. Moral of the story: Don’t skip life while it’s happening.

When you met with local press, you talked a lot about following your heart more than your mind. Why is this important?

EE: Following my heart more than my mind is important to me because my heart gives me a sense of purpose, clarity and strength; it’s bold and its intentions are pure. My mind, on the other hand, can be confusing, noisy, weak and fearful, and its reasons might not be all that clear. The mind might have the “hows,” but the heart has the “whats” and “whys.” When the mind runs out of reasons, it’s the heart that will carry you forward in business and life.

Several times throughout your journey you found yourself operating out of your comfort zone. How did this help you reach your goals?

EE: Stepping out of your comfort zone is just another word for change, which is the only constant in our world. It is only when you step out of your comfort zone that you are able to truly discover your greatness. When I think about the times in my life that are truly memorable, I was either giving or receiving love, or I was growing. This record-setting journey was a moment of pure growth in areas that were new to me, and in the process of discomfort I was able to redefine who I am and what I am capable of … at least until the next moment of change arrives.

How happy are you with the outcome of your charity drive?

EE: I’m so excited! For being the first event of its kind in Central America, we made quite some noise for our cause. Regionally, we received 970 square inches of promotional space in newspapers, including a local cover page; 120 minutes in television time; and 240 minutes on the radio. We were also able to raise US$52,000, and we benefited 260 families. We surpassed our goal. All I can say is what a ride!

What’s next for Love ’N Roll?

EE: I want Love ’N Roll to continue generating innovative events to bring awareness to specific causes in an unorthodox way. We already have two cool events lined up! We’re supporting Jorge Aguilar—the first Salvadoran motorcycle pilot to race the renowned Dakar Rally— and raising funds for the Special Olympics. And in December, my wife and I are going to India to support a UNICEF event. And yes, it’s an event that involves wheels!

Want to download the full layout of Edwin’s story in the September issue of Octane? Contact us!

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