Well, I’m home! After 10 months of traveling, I made it to Yaviza, Panama. That was the 14th. I spent a few days in the area, did some exploring of the remote community, and then flew home with my bike. You should see how I packed the damn thing. Maybe not how you’d expect. I mean, the other day someone said to me “I take care of my car probably how you take care of your bike” I laughed and told him what I’m about to tell you.
I found as much cardboard as I could out of a dumpster about a kilometer from the airport. The cardboard far from encased my bike so, with the help of a nice man, we wrapped my bike in 3 black trash bags. It probably needed 5, and of course more cardboard, and we also needed string and more than the 2 meters of tape but we made it work. Luckily, the guy knew more than me about packing odd and big items since he makes furniture for a living. He tied knots in the bags here and there and everything seemed to hold its position. He then carried my bike on top of his head all the way to the airport driveway. I surprised him with some cash for his help and I was on my way. The first thing to do was a $50 covid test. Then, I waited 6ish hours for my flight. I got up to the counter and boy was I lucky to get a young nice lady. She looked at what resembled trash and she said “I don’t know what I’m looking at”. I said lightly with a smile, “well it’s my bike. Sorry about how it looks I did the best I could do”. She looked hesitant to take it so I did my best to continue to keep a personable and light conversation. And the sign of relief was when she asked me to sign a liability waiver. I accepted with enthusiasm and while she was getting me squared away, I asked, “have you seen worse?” She replied laughing, “sorry but no”. She added fragile stickers and I was on my way. I assume that was the last time she’d let that fly (pun indented).
I got my bike back in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with a missing peddle. So, I peddled from the airport handicapped to a bike shop 6km away. My right peddles had a strap over my foot so I still had the ability to do a full stroke with one leg but boy was that a struggle. I imagine people looked at me and thought I really was handicapped. Maybe I inspired some people that ride haha but maybe not, it’s Florida. Anyways, I know now that if I lose a leg, I won’t have an excuse to not bike. haha At the bike shop, I got a new set of cheap pedals, and this time I secured 2 free bike boxes that were tossed out and that I later came back for. That is, after I was done exploring Hollywood and Miami.
Aside from this bike packing story (pun intended, you know bikepacking is a play on backpacking) that is neither here nor there. I mean, I’m telling you an airport story after a 10-month adventure through foreign lands. Like you, I expected more from this blog post. haha Okay, let’s see.
Let’s talk about people.
Meeting people made the first half of my 10,000-mile trip memorable and worthwhile. They have become the focus of my travels but more than that, if I wasn’t able to meet people then I wouldn’t be able to continue. Sometimes it’s just a quick smile, wave, or an encouraging shout or honk. Other times, a wave or smile leads to a conversation. And sometimes that leads to something more. Of course, most smiles and waves are not memorable but what proceeded some smiles or waves or many smiles or waves, depending on how you look at it, have become memorable. I never knew which person behind the smile or wave would become memorable but I welcomed magic to follow each one. Sometimes, or a lot of the time, life just continued. But in the last 10 months, I documented 84 times where I met an unexpecting person(s). Our paths crossed at an opportune time, a serendipitous time. Whether it was fated or just chance is beside the point here, I’m just grateful it happened. And I don’t know why 84 and not 6 or 200 but again, I’m just grateful the ones that happened, happened. At some point, questions are beside the point.
It’s because of these encounters, that spanned 10 minutes or 9 weeks, that motivate me to continue. And in so doing, I hope to meet more people and to learn more. I’m biased to think great and interesting people are all around. Of course, the chances of meeting a bad person (and that bad person doing bad to me) still hasn’t changed but if the last 10 months say anything, it says that bad people (that want to do bad to me) are far and few. Now, all it takes is one person. I get that, but I also get risk-and-reward. And the last thing I want to do is live in fear.
I’m grateful to have the time and resources to explore and enjoy these simple pleasures while it or I last. I should resume in northern Columbia before the year ends. Or something like that
Thanks for reading!
If you want to read about the 84 people I met then you can take a look here. Some of the people I’ve met were business owners, prostitutes, farmers, and travelers. I also met people that were homeless, wealthy, spiritual, famous, and just helpful. The 84th person is actually the guy who helped pack and carried my bike to the airport. It was a spectacular way to conclude the first half of my trip
PS expect a long post about purpose soon
This is a montage from my Instagram story of me cyling south: