The traveler was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes sight-seeing. ~Daniel Boorstin
Since 1998 I’ve worked in the riveting world of finance. The constant excitement and daring-do of the white collar working world has been great, but somehow, I seem to have lost my mojo. Whatever the reason, I came to the conclusion that the best remedy to this comfortable rut would be some sort of adventure. I liked the movie about Che, so naturally, I thought that I should buy a motorcycle, fly it to South America and then ride back home to Los Angeles, California.
My trip starts in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where I hope to learn approximately 50 words of Spanish. From there I’ll travel south, to Tierra del Fuego and Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. From Ushuaia, I’ll work my way north through Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Equador, Columbia, Central America, Mexico and finally into California.
My goal is to travel at an enjoyable speed, while trying to get off the main road as much as possible. I’ve deliberately avoided planning a specific route, in order to give me the flexibility to change plans on a whim. I’m guessing that my route will include things like Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia and lots of steak, Chile’s Route 7, calving glaciers and Torres del Paine, Bolivia’s Lake Titicaca and Salar de Uyuni, Peru’s Machu Picchu, Ecuador’s volcanos, Columbia’s San Gil, beaches and colonial towns, the Panama Canal, surfing in Costa Rica, diving in Nicaragua, the jungles of Honduras, Guatemala’s Tikal, tea in Belize and Mexico’s Baja. But I also want to keep an open itinerary in order to be able see the thing that aren’t listed in every tourist guide book.
Given my time line and flexible route, I am hoping that the trip will provide me with many opportunities for exploring and chance encounters that as a normal tourist, I would miss. I’m expecting the entire trip to take between four and six months. Initially, I planned to do this trip with a friend, but unfortunately, those plans changed, and it looks like I’ll be starting out solo.
Most people look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them what I want to do. Maybe so. But I’m really hoping that this trip, and the fact that I’m doing it on a motorbike, will provide me with a up close glimpse into life outside of the U.S. and allow me to gain a little better understanding and appreciation of how this world really works.