Northbound and Down

Trip Start Mar 17, 2009
Trip End Jun 17, 2009

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Flag of Peru  ,
Thursday, May 28, 2009

I´m riding the Pan-American Highway for thousands of miles northward. The first leg, Santiago to Lima took around 50 hours. No sleeper buses were available, so I chance it and take a traditional. Big mistake. The bus was crowded, and I was very surprised at the number of kids that were aboard. One very young Peruvian mother (maybe 15) decides to abandon her seat at the front of the bus to sit directly behind me closer to the back. This baby was all the birth control I needed to keep me childless for a long time. If it wasn´t crying, it was pooping or eating. During the first night, the in-experienced mother must have been sleeping with the baby in her arms. I was still awake and I hear a loud thud, followed by the baby screaming. Apparently she had lost her grip and dropped the infant square on her head in the middle of the night. It was a nightmare, but I soon realized she was so young and so out of her league as a new mother, that I (along with others around me) helped her out whenever we could.

I have actually grown to love these long bus rides now. These are times that are actually stress relievers to the common backpacker. Our big bags are safely stored below, and that is a huge burden off our shoulders (literally). During the night, my iPod serves as entertainment when I don´t feel like watching the action thriller they are playing on the TVs. During the day, the landscape usually speaks for itself. An interesting book can also make the time fly by.

The current book I´m reading is Ted Simon´s ¨Jupiter´s Travels¨ an auto-biography of an English journalist who rides his motorcycle around the world  in the mid 1970´s. The entire journey takes the man 4 years to complete, and makes my little jaunt seem like a long, easy, weekend. One quote I will steal from Simon that really hit home on my thoughts of travel and life in general:

¨Magic was simply experiencing something for the first time. My purpose should be to increase the number of such moments until maybe, one day, everything could be magic ¨

It´s seems to me that there should be no reason in the world that I feel the way I have for the past 10 days. For some reason, I have been in a horrible mood and can´t grasp what it is that is bugging me. Maybe it´s the fact that I have no more friends coming down here to see me. The first month, I had Jon. The second, the Atlanta crew in Peru and Jess in Chile. I traveled through Bolivia by myself and loved being alone. Maybe I just miss home and my ¨normal¨ life? Maybe I know it is close to being over? Maybe I am just lonely? I have found it harder to meet strangers, something I prided myself in doing this trip, especially solo. I have almost completely given up the quest to learn the language, and my pictures have gone down in quantity.

Whatever it is, I decided that it can no longer be apart of my mindset or this amazing adventure. I have made the conscious decision to ride this out and make Ecuador the most memorable experience yet.

Many people have asked if this trip will or has changed me, I think it already has. I really won´t know until I get back. Will I come home more compassionate for my fellow humans, volunteering my time, effort, or money to the less-fortunate? Will I go back to being the same person I was when I left, the guy you meet at the bar for a few rounds and a few laughs? Or, will I attempt to achieve more in my life, follow dreams and never stop improving myself? Only time will tell.

Here are our underwater pictures from the Galapagos, underwater photography is a tough gig:


¨Looking back over my shoulder got some miles on me now
Not much more that I could do to keep my deal from going down
I'm tired in my bones and I've starting to wonder
Can we really call it livin' when your livin' on the run¨

Yonder Mountain String Band ¨Looking Back Over My Shoulder¨
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cholt01 on

take it all in now....
....cause you will be back here before you know it. love the qoute from Simon...very true! great pics as usual. talk to you soon buddy! :)

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