Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Follow the Road


There is no denying it any longer. I’m getting the bicycle tour bug again. In a BIG way. It’s hard to describe. It’s almost as if I’ve left a part of myself out on the road…and I’m not going to feel completely whole until I get back on that bike and start pedaling again. Walking around town, hanging out with friends, balancing my portfolio, grappling with career next steps, and every other mundane and not-so mundane thing I’ve been doing these past couple of months has all felt like a prelude to something much more pertinent and essential. Suddenly, life, in its most pure, simplest form, only exists (lives?) out on the open road.

That is not to say that I have not enjoyed my time off the bike. There is something to be said for resting your mind and body and reconnecting with those most important to you. But I definitely think a shift has taken place. Whereas traveling was always a welcome, (albeit short) respite from the comfortable and predictable routine of work/bar hopping/work/family stuff/work/bar hopping/work…traveling has now taken over my imagination in ways that I am still trying to come to terms with. The old routine is now a necessary respite in between moments of pure joy and adventure.

So, what’s the next adventure you ask? Well, here it goes:

I’m aiming to travel the length of South America. From the coast of Colombia to the tip of Patagonia in Argentina. By bicycle.

I’m still in the planning stages so I can’t really share any details other than to say that this trip is probably several months away. But I’m already having dreams of setting up camp on the highest peaks of the Andes, hiking up to Machu Pichu, and sleeping under Southern stars. The road beckons. I have no choice but to heed it’s call.


Family on Bikes said...

WOO HOO!! Another one bites the dust! I can promise you that you won't regret it - it'll be a definite highlight of your life! Be sure wave to us as you come blasting by!


LissaK said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip. I have heard Peru is really incredible and the mojitos are awesome.

Anonymous said...

No doubt about it, South America is home to spectacular terrain. On the other hand, there are plenty of communication and safety issues that you may face there but did not face on your U.S. bike trip. How will you plan for that?

Although several decades old, Ted Simon's Jupiter's Travels is the story of his motorcycle trip around the world, including South America. Road Fever, by Tim Cahill, recounts his trip up the Pan-American Highway from Ushuaia to Prudhoe Bay. I'm sure other commenters will also have suggestions about reading material, but I enjoyed both of these.

Meg said...

Just be sure to check out the safety of the areas you're planning to ride through. I know it's not like the U.S. is 100% safe, either, but there are certainly some areas of South America that I wouldn't want to be as a lone tourist.

Plus, there is some extreme terrain & weather, so don't get too macho. I wouldn't want to see you end up in the hospital again or worse!

Besides that, I'm sort of jealous ;)

Buen viaje!

Fonk said...

Awesome! Now, that's a trip!!

Buck16 said...

Oh wow, that would be an unbelievable journey.

Best of luck with planning (and please include time for blogging in these plans, as I'd definitely want to live vicariously through you on this trip too!).

Julia said...

Wow. Good for you, Jack!

Anonymous said...

Oh here I come to rain on your parade. Not really; that actually sounds likes quite an adventure, and I look forward to reading about it (esp. Machu Picchu).

Just be sure you're riding toward something (adventure) and not running away from something (?--only you could know that).

Jerry Critter said...

WOW!!! What a trip, Jack, in more ways than one. Hurry up. Go! I can't wait.

Unschoolers Rock the Campground said...

So glad that you have heard what you need and are able to go for it! Awesome!

Anonymous said...

check this out for reference...

stiffie said...

I imagine if I were to ride my bike through South America it would look a little something like this.

"Signifiqué hacer eso." -- Señor Pee-Wee.

Jack said...


And don't think your own trip isn't partly at fault for this!


I've heard the same. I will let you know about the mojitos when I get there.


Still planning everything, but safety and communication is definitely at the top of my list. And thanks for the recomendations.

Jack said...


Yeah, there is still a ton to think about it. Believe me, not everything has been thought through at this point. But I will do it safely. Promise.


I know. Super excited.


Yep, as of now planning to blog from the road again.

Jack said...


Thanks. Just getting more and more excited.


"Just be sure you're riding toward something (adventure) and not running away from something (?--only you could know that)."

I know what you mean. No worries. Heading forward for sure.


Well, going to have to take it one step at a time.

Jack said...

@Heart Rocking Mama,

Thanks. That's how I feel.


Way ahead of you. Been reading it for a while now. Thanks.


Ok, that was funny.

Sara Jean said...

Oh thank god, that is a relief...

What I mean by that is this: I have been raised by very serious, conservative (and loving) family, to believe that life ends after X-age. So, being almost 25 I keep thinking "is this really it for me, no more chances to have those adventures I've always dreamed of? Did I miss it completely...lust for life now has to be lust for cubicle forever"

I know I'm young (and have my whole life ahead of me and yadda, yadda, yadda), but I think you know what I mean very well....when you sit there starting into the yawning gap of your future and you start to wonder if this is really all thats left for you to hope for, if there really isnt anything better than 9-5 and a gold fish.

Thank god your doing this.

P.S I think you should check out Tennysons poem Ulysseys if you havent read it already. Your post brought one of his lines straight into my mind "I cannot rest from travel: I will drink life to the lees"

Anonymous said...

Be safe - any developments on the townhouse?

dtb said...

So cool! You speak Spanish? Just don't drink the tap water and pack loads of immodium. Have a blast!

Jade of the Jungle said...

Exciting! Are you doing the Coroico downhill thing?

If you go via Brasil be sure to post me some pao de quijo.


Anonymous said...

I've been following since they started their epic journey, and I think you'll love it!!! Best of luck. :)

Unknown said...

Holy bullcookies, bicycle-bug-bitten man! That's an adventure and a half. Pics of Manchu Pichu please: I do believe I'll be living this one vicariously...

Tim said...

just bought my one way flight to brazil chill out there for NYE then bus it down to buneos Aries via the falls ride through patagonia to fitzroy then up along the andes then on to mexico

I'm confused about your description of the weather, now seems like a great time to go...?