Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Argentina And Chile - solo
Raul will cycle Chile and Argentina solo. I decided to pull out.
Why? As we kept saying from the very beginning of this trip it has never been about destination. But we had to choose two points on the map to draw the line of the journey between them.
When we left Alaska two and a half year ago, we had countless number of turns and junction ahead. That's the beauty of a road trip – freedom of choice, lack of routine, spontaneity. We rarely turned down invitations from locals; we would stop in the middle of the day just because someone invited us for 'chicha' or stay a day longer in a village, because Dona Maria promised to cook local speciality for us or her children wanted to show as their hideout in the forest. We would take longer ride just because someone told us that there is something beautiful to see that none of the guidebooks talk about. We would stay longer in a town just because we like its vibes or there was a local party coming up.
Neither was it about cycling, at least not for me. It was always about travelling freely. To be honest I had very serious doubts about 'the whole bike thing' at the beginning. But now, with no doubt, I can say that bike is the best vehicle to really be there with the environment and with the people, to truly experience the place, not just look at it. Cycling lets one engage fully with the surroundings. Whether it's uphill or downhill, whether is hot or cold, rainy or windy (or both ;)), whether we pass through the most stunning canyon or in between traffic that follows no rules in La Paz, whether it smells pine forest or sh.t – we feel it all, with all our seances. But the most beautiful is the experience with people; bikes have opened for us many doors and even more hearts. This trip was the best lesson of human generosity and kindness. Ans I'm sure no other vehicle would give the same experience.
However, few months ago we noticed Ushuaia on the map. The destination, the end of the trip, became an obvious part of it. And it wouldn't be a problem, if it wasn't for the fact that each day it was gaining more importance. Soon we realized that if we want to arrive to Ushuaia on time (there is a very small gap of good weather), we have to speed up. To do so we even decided, for the first time, to take a bus in Peru, which I didn't like at all; it was killing the spirit of the trip. And yet counting days and kilometres we realized that we are still too slow. We started to turn down invitations, we couldn't afford to 'waste' time to wait for a fiesta that is in few days time, we had to plan how far to go each day in order to make 'the minimum daily distance' etc. The priorities switched; it was more about reaching Ushuaia by bike rather than about the journey. And I didn't like it, didn't like it at all. I didn't want to cycle across Chile and Argentina in order to reach Ushuaia, I wanted to experience those places. So I decided to pull out. I might be back one day. And then I'll start from Ushuaia and go North. This way I'll have all the time I need to explore. Free again.
Raul keeps cycling. The fact is that he is faster then me, so by making a bit more kilometres every day he is 'saving' more time for exploration. Yet he has to keep Ushuaia in mind; he has to speed up significantly. But he still have the strength and determination to do so. However I doubt he'll find much time to share his stories with us. I'll however post sometimes on his behalf on Facebook, just to let you guys know, how is he doing. And we'll definitely post pictures from Peru and Bolivia some time in near future.



  1. Brave and difficult decision for both of you I'm sure and good for the two of you for reaching this position. Completely understand your thinking but a big deal for you nonetheless. Looking forward to seeing you both whenever that can happen. xx

    1. Decisions are the paragraphs of our life what is made of, those paragraph some times are short, sometimes deep, sometimes painful , sometimes poetry sometimes prosa,but we need to try to see always the whole picture, the picture of our live, in which, to make our dreams to come truth. learning, growing from our experiences and decisions keeps all those paragraphs together giving meaning to the whole text(live)
      More than 8years ago I had a dream to cycle the world from the North to the South with no destination just with the goal of living my live fully and my heart still wants, needs to keep going down south until there is no more road or path to be able to start an other "paragraph of live"

  2. Good luck with the last leg of your journey Raul. You and Marta were such an inspiration to us when you stayed with us in San Francisco. You inspired us to cycle much more than we had cycled before and also to think big! Good luck to you both and we hope our paths will cross again some time in the future. The world is small as you are demonstrating to us by cycling from north to south of the Americas!
    Orla and Marc

    1. Great to hear from you guys! And I'm so happy to hear that you cycle more and you not afraid to dream! Btw, just to cycle up to your house is a huge challenge. :)

  3. Mucho ánimo y Fuerza a los dos!! la Vida es caprichosa y nos enseña cosas insólitas en Dios sabe que lugar! lo que está claro es que las Decisiones difíciles llevan seguro a grandes Aprendizajes.. y sea lo que sea lo que saquéis en claro será importante para VIVIR (con Mayúscula ;)
    Un Abrazo desde Granada de una seguidora de vuestra aventura :)


  4. Hi Marta, and Raul,
    This will be a little long so I'll say now, it is Christopher, we met in Southern California.
    It has been a while since I checked the blog (I think it was down for a while? I couldn't find it once), it is good to hear you have both had such a good experience since we saw each other ... so long ago. Raul: best of luck on the rest of your trip. It is much harder to ride for the sake of riding once you start to get closer to the end, it is impossible to keep the end out of your mind, especially as time begins to dwindle. I arrived to Ushuaia in late march, so I had this always in my mind as well. But, southern chile is one of the most beautiful places of the trip, patagonia is incredible, you have lots to look forward to if you can spare the time to savor it. You will take the carretera austral, right? Make sure to save time for the bakery in Tolhuin!
    Marta: I really respect your decision. I think you both had the right idea from the beginning, I always thought too much of the end of my trip, and always felt the pull to keep pressing on, to keep making 'progress' towards Ushuaia. And for what? So that now I can tell people I rode my bike to the tip of Argentina? I hate telling people that, it feels like it cheapens the trip, like the only reason I went on the trip was to tell people about it. I realize now, I didn't go on the trip to impress people (even though, when I started, I liked the idea of telling people I'd done it), I went on it for myself, for the experiences I'd have. I am definitely glad I went on the trip, it is the best thing I've ever done, but never again will I put an end point on a trip I go on, no destination or 'goal' to distract me from the purpose of the trip.
    Anyway, it was a pleasure to meet both of you, long ago but I remember well. You make me start itching for the day when I can start biking again.

    Un abrazo,


  5. Marta and Raul! I too haven't looked at your site for a few months...must have been a difficult decision, Marta...but it encourages anyone who knows your story and reads your reason to also make sure that whatever journey we are on, it is about the journey...not a paycheck, or 'another day' to get through at work, or whatever 'point' it is that can rule us. Best wishes to both of you, and I do hope Raul lets us know how he's doing....This is Teri from Portland, Oregon..good memories of chance meetings..

  6. Teri and Chris you both don't have to re-introduce yourself. We do remember all those incredible, generous, good, special and crazy people we met on the road and you guys are one of them :)
    It's so good to hear from you, especially that we met at the beginning of our trip, over 2 years ago already. And you still remember about us :)
    Thank you for the warm messages. I (Marta) can just talk for myself, but i couldn't make better decission. Back then I wasn't sure how I'd feel about my decission later, but now I know it was the best thing to do. And I love to dream that I'll be back to Chile and Argentina one day.

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