The Great Expedition 2023 - Part Uno
The Right Hand Man has set off on an epic motorcycle road trip, covering 16,000km across 24 countries. The journey will be in 3 stages, and began with 10 days in Spain. Various events were planned with host barbershops. The idea is to enjoy reunions with old friends, meet new people and present the brand's products, but above all, to share great moments on Spanish soil!
Let’s catch up with the blighter…
What’s the Great Expedition all about?
I’m calling in at barbershops across Europe to deepen friendships and make new acquaintances - barbers, customers and distributors alike. Why Europe? Well, as the poet John Donne said ‘No man is an island…Each is a piece of the continent/ A part of the main’.
And of course after Brexit our own little island is no longer dealing with a single state (the EU) but 27 individual countries, each with their own nuances and customs requirements. Some 78% of our orders go overseas and, furthermore, Captain Fawcett is hugely proud to be named a Department for Business and Trade Export Champion for 4 years running.
So in my experience it’s vital to cement relationships in real life and make the effort to meet people on their own patch. I always prefer a handshake over a Zoom call! Just as the traditional barbershop experience is hands-on by nature, tangible moments of connection are at the heart of good, honest trade.
Why did you choose to start in Spain?
In truth, it’s because of the writer, Cervantes! In Madrid I was delighted to see superb statues of my hero Don Quixote and his long suffering side kick Sancho Panza. It’s remarkable that the name of the character has become an adjective, understood in so many languages. People who’ve never read the book know what it means to be Quixotic. Across cultures, it defines being true to one’s dreams, however madcap they may appear! Perhaps the older we are, the more we yearn to revisit the dreams we had in youth. Travel is one such dream. I am eternally delighted by the world’s infinite capacity to enchant and surprise.
And there are few places as wonderful as a barbershop. I seek out barbers the world over! Wherever you roam, the barbershops are safe, welcoming spaces for people from all walks of life. A stranger is invited to make himself comfortable, be looked after and leave feeling like a new man. To me, that’s what Don Quixote reminds us of. We do what we do to fulfil our sense of who we are. And for friendship. There is nothing more precious.
Where was your first stop?
I’m travelling solo, but in Spain had the invaluable assistance of Captain Fawcett’s highly esteemed Spanish distributor Juan from El Mirall Distribuciones. Juan met me on a rainy morning in Bilbao and proved my Sancho Panza throughout!
First I was whisked off to see Dany of La Barbería del Norte, who hosted the first night of the Great Expedition with cocktails and an array of bikes. I was made to feel very welcome - fabulous shop and lovely people! It was a brilliant start!
Did the trip go according to plan?
They never do! Challenges are all part of the adventure! I was in all sorts of trouble when my bike lost power on a sleepy Saturday afternoon 4.5 hours from Valencia. Tian of Tian Stil Home in Vinaròs, who is a previous Barbersride participant, was an absolute hero. Not only did he lend me a bike, I was also the guest of honour at his splendid Bikers, Beers & Beards seafront gathering in Alcossebre. I couldn’t have wished for a more uplifting welcome following a very trying day. It is, after all, the particularly difficult times that tend to reveal the best of humanity and indeed, the very best of the Bike/Barber Brotherhood. Thanks to Tian, the show could go on! What a guy!
Were there any stand-out barbershops?
The truth is that every single barbershop has been an absolute joy. From Tian’s invaluable assistance on the road to the magnificent Brothers Barber Shop and Brothers Tattoo who hosted a great party on the last night after a last minute change of plan! I’m hugely looking forward to meeting more of Europe’s magnificent barbering community as the journey continues.
Is there a personal element to this quest?
Yes, there really is. I love the open road. The horizon has called me all my life. There is a fantastic Spanish phrase ‘El momento para viajar es ahora’, simply meaning ‘The time to travel is now’. As JRR Tolkein, wrote, ‘the road goes forever on’, only my time spent on it is finite. So this is, too, an inward journey. Why am I doing this? The simple answer is simply that at present I can…but tomorrow? Well, that’s another day…
Where are you going next?
The Great Expedition Part Two is in June/July and Part Three in September/October.
For Part Two, all being well, I plan to visit Amsterdam, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Malmo, Gothenburg, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, Gdańsk, Poznan, Berlin, Luxembourg and Antwerp.
Then in Part Three you’ll find me somewhere in Germany (Munich), Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland and France (Paris). However, we all know what happens to the best laid plans of mice and Right Hand Men...so keep a keen eye on Captain Fawcett's website and social channels for all the latest details!
Hope to see you along the road!
Where is the Right Hand Man now?!
Tune into Fawcett’s Diary for regular updates from the road and use the Live Tracker to keep up with the Right Hand Man in real time! Host barbershops are marked on a specially designed map highlighting the route.
A SPECIAL FREE GIFT
To celebrate what might just be the greatest road trip of all time, all purchases of two items or more from Captain Fawcett’s Expedition Reserve Signature Series will be despatched with a free souvenir Great Expedition Sticker and Badge. Huzzah!
THANKS TO THE MAGNIFICENT HOSTS
Juan, Lorena and Allie from El Mirall Distribuciones
La Barbería del Norte - Bilbao
Chamberí 5 Barber Shop - Madrid
Amarcord Store - Madrid
Barbería El Mentidero - Madrid
Urban BarberShop - Granada
Barbería Capri - Alcossebre
Tian Stil Home - Vinarós
Luis Villa Barbería - Zaragoza
And thanks also to:
Iroco Barber Club - Madrid
Alvaro The Barber - Logroño
and Nick Sanders for his help and inspiration
Thoughts from some of Spain’s finest barbers…
‘In our barbershop we use a careful selection of quality brands. We chose Captain Fawcett because the products offer exceptional performance and use high quality ingredients for both hair and beard care, guaranteed to contribute to the well-being of clients’ hair and beards. We're proud to contribute to our local community, participating in local events and supporting charitable initiatives and we care about getting to know our customers, hearing their stories, and building lasting relationships, so it was really fantastic to host Captain Fawcett’s Great Expedition here in Madrid.’
Daniel Perales from Chamberí 5 (Madrid)
‘Tian's Barbershop is a landmark for almost all the town’s bearded men and those from many kilometres around. Every year we hold a fantastic event specially for bearded men so it was incredible to welcome The Right Hand Man as our 2023 guest of honour! My barbershop is a meeting place, where you can fix your beard, then have a beer or a Barber’s gin while listening to a live music session. It’s a vibe! Captain Fawcett totally gets that. It’s about friendship. Brotherhood. Captain Fawcett rocks.’
Tian of Tian Stil Home (Vinaròs)
‘We’re all about the atmosphere from the moment you enter, the beautiful aromas, the care with which we deliver classic barbershop services such as traditional shaves and the quiet soul, rock or hip hop music in the background. Our barbershop advice is good vibes and of course a good beer!
It’s important to help our clients treat and manage their hair and beard at home so that they always look good. We love working on beards and use the full range of Oils and Balms from the prestigious Captain Fawcett brand. The Great Expedition is a brilliant idea for bringing us all together!’
Daniel Ortega of Urban BarberShop (Granada)
‘We want clients to relax and feel at home when they’re in the barbershop. Our customers deserve the best. That is why we always use top quality, leading brands that inspire us with confidence - such as Captain Fawcett!’
Dany of La Barbería del Norte (Bilbao)