The lonely travel

Buzz Lightyear:

The biggest thing that happened was that the dream became much clearer. There have been different points during this process when I have had reality checks. And this trip was one of them. It made me question why I am doing my trip and if I really want to do it. If I really want to suffer through mosquito infested countries ramp with malaria, if I want to risk having my horses (which are animals, and therefore loved highly by me) malnutrition, injure, or die. And, it made me question whether I want to do this trip by myself or if I want to have a partner to share the tribulations and the joys. It’s lonesome to be by yourself and a horse, but at the same time it is great. It would be much easier to have another person, but much harder at the same. It made me think if I really want to do my trip in Central America or if I want to make it easier and do it in more horse friendly places. It made me think a lot of things, which can only be expected from so many hours alone in the saddle………


………..Lastly is a story that I don’t normally tell in mass emails, but I feel like it, so I will. While down here working, I fell in love with a beautiful Peruvian girl. And what transpired that is worth telling about is the particularity of the whole situation. She is young but is the oldest in her family and needs to work to take care of her mother (who got a bad cesarean recently and can’t walk), and her younger siblings. Our boss was a creep and was always hitting on her in a very open way (if sexual harassment had a definition, this would be it) and a rightly jealous wife who openly disliked having a beautiful young women on her staff but couldn’t do anything because her husband hired her and she was a good worker. And so she kept her eyes down, and talked as little as she could when the jefe and la señora was around, and at first, I though she was just really shy. But then, the we began to communicate with our eyes. Oh, there is so much that can be said with eyes, and you don’t even have to speak the same language (though thankfully we did). And so our love developed in secret, with the tía Juanita (the cook) helping pass notes, and serving as a lookout so we could sneak kisses in the washroom. And I felt like I was in junior high again: taking everything really slow, afraid of being seen, and having secret conversations with our laughing eyes because of our secret. And besides being a typical Latin relationship (which was great in a cool cultural way), it was refreshing to be proper, and go slow, and not rush things (which is different from the normal western way). And it developed into something really beautiful, and today, it ended. You see, I am in Cuzco now, and tomorrow, I am in Lima. And then to Buenos Aires, and then to California on Thursday morning. My trip is over, and like all the good things that I’ve done down here, they end. And as I took the bus from Urubamba to Cuzco, and was savoring the bitter-sweetness of my love, of my time in Peru, and of my experiences in South America, I stared out the window and marveled at my life. At the experiences that I get to have, and the places that I get to see, and the people I get to meet. At the smiles, and the colors, and the views, and the food, and everything. And I feel so fortunate to be alive. To have a chance to experience the blessing that this life is. To profit from the time that I have, to take a long draught from the cup, to seize the day by the cajones and squeeze out all that it can give. And though my feelings are mixed with heavy-hearted nostalgia, they are good. I am good. I am happy.

So, some final thoughts before I sign off until my next adventure…When I left the United States 6 months ago, I had very little plans, but I had alot of faith in myself and my plan. This whole process of arriving here from where I was a couple of years ago has been a series of small miracles. Too many to go through, but here I am, that much closer to making this ridiculous pipe dream a reality.

When I arrived in South America, I could ride a horse, but it doesn’t take a genius to ride. It just takes enough balance not to fall off. But though Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and now, Peru , I have developed into a horseman. I feel comfortable around and on top of horses. I have a more keen sense of them, of their habits, and how to work with them. I have seen many different styles of horses and working with them. I have received advice from very capable people, and after my solo ride, I can honestly say that I feel ready to do a ride of over 2,000 miles ! I can barely wrap my head around that. I had ridden a horse just once in my life a couple of years ago, and here I am ready to impart on an epic journey. I mean, could I be more prepared? Hell yeah, I could prepare my whole life. But, like a long rider who rode for 3 months around Equator told me, “At some point, you just got to go.” And so, as I return to the US, there are some things that I still need to learn, and prepare myself for, but I can happily say that my goals for South America have been accomplished and that sounds pretty damn good to me.

And to bring it out a little more, I just want to repeat something that I’ve stressed many times. If my story gives you a little inspiration, don’t separate yourself from it. One of the huge changes that developed during this process was that I stopped differentiating heroic people/deeds and myself. That these amazing people doing amazing things just realized that they could and other people (for reasons that are without a doubt important and valid, yet ultimately fall short) either think that it is for other people or that there are too many reasons why they can’t. Or worse, both. And if you are on my email list, then you know me, at least a little. And so if this is true, and you have been able to share some of my life with me, you know that there is nothing terribly special about me. Yeah, there are some qualities, like everyone. But I am not a particularly skilled sportsman, I do not have an encompassing intellect (in fact, often, it is quite the contrary), I am not quick, nor tall (though I am in Peru), but I am very self-confident, and I know (not philosophically) that I can. What I am trying to express is that if a little shit like me can, what makes you think that you can’t. And like I have said before, your dream doesn’t have to being riding through Central America, or being an astronaut, but whatever your dream is, find it (very hard), follow it (harder), and live it. You only have one life to life. It would be great if we had more, but we don’t. So, take my story, read between the lines, and adapt it to your own story, your own life. And tell me all about what your dreams are, what you want out of life, and where you hope to go. It sure beats talking about sports.



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