Imagine yourself setting off on a journey that would take you away from all you’ve ever known for at least a year. Not a journey to a specific and singular destination where you could develop a sense of security from a new home and new relationships with others, perhaps colleagues from a new job. Rather, one of constantly changing landscapes and borders and the insecurity derived from always wondering, “Where am I going to sleep tonight?” Throw in the facts that all these different places you were about to explore have never been known as the safest places to visit and you were going to embark on this adventure by motorcycle.
This is what I did. I’d dreamt of and planned a way to experience the ultimate road trip and backpacking journey all in one. I would ride my motorcycle from Los Angeles, California all the way to Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina.
I would travel through over 20 countries and sling my hammock amidst some of the most picturesque sands, climb a volcano and drive over some of the world’s worst roads. Startle alpacas and llamas, vicuña and nanduè and oh, even stand amongst a plethora of penguins. Ancient ruins galore, a fist fight in Tegucigalpa and borderless riding on the Paracas peninsula. The pleasure of meeting some of the most intrepid and interesting travellers whose acquaintances I still think of to this day. The emotional arrival on Tierra Del Fuego and the quiet satisfaction of standing in front of the Ushuaia sign, the world’s southernmost city and the achievement of a dream. And of course at the end of it all the wholeness of a 30,000 mile odyssey.
If you were to ask me today what the best part of the trip was I wouldn’t answer with a particular country or a specific enjoyable moment I experienced, but rather the overwhelming sense of freedom that I had during those 13 months and 3 weeks that I was away. Perhaps some would reach the conclusion that that freedom was actually illusory as I have speculated myself, for the rest of my life was certainly lurking just ahead whenever I would finally reach Los Angeles again. But it all depends on which perspective you choose to see it from. I can say that it felt absolute and real at least until those last days of Caribbean islands and last stretches of road to Tijuana and Southern California brought me back to my point of origin.