I’ve been home from my scooter trip for a month now, and by far the most common question I’ve heard anyone ask is “What’s next?” It’s a question that has consumed me for months, and needless to say, it’s not easy to answer.
My plan for the next adventure is a bit more ambitious. If you’ve been following me, you know that I have two driving reasons behind my recent adventures: the first is to help people in need through charitable donations while the second is to inspire “normal” people to look up from their daily routine and see the amazing beauty of the people and world around us, to realize that we’re all the same and enjoying that is as (or more) important than focusing on our own small bubbles of existence.
With this in mind, I want to embark on what I feel will be one of the most unique adventures of its kind – and I want you to come with me. Not to experience it through my eyes, but to actually journey with me and share a second perspective while having a vacation experience that will hopefully drive a small wedge into your reality, shifting your perspective (while being mind-bendingly awesome).
In February, 2011, I plan to fly into Lima, Peru and purchase a brand new Honda Motokar Ultra Abierta. I will then drive this mototaxi down to Ushuaia in the Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America before driving it back up the east coast in a grand loop towards Colombia and eventually up through Mexico with the goal of traveling through every land locked country in South America and (if possible) bringing it back to the USA.
During this trip, which I expect to take six or more months and cover tens of thousands of miles, I will often travel on remote roads in very commerce-poor areas of South America. I will bring with me duffel bags of clothes to pass out to people in remote villages who often live in the same clothes for months (without fancy synthetics like I use), and I hope to pair with a strong South American charity to visit their operations “on the ground” in various areas and share these with you back home to help inspire donations.
I expect to spend a lot of time living off my own wits, eating whatever food is available, scavenging for repairs, navigating roads where even the locals think I’m crazy, freezing at nights in sub zero temperatures at over 10,000 feet, boiling nearly to death in the jungle, meeting all sorts of amazing people, and generally having a fantastic time – and I want you to quite literally join me.
As I travel through South America, I hope to convince people back home to fly out and visit with me on the trip (up to two people at a time). For a week or two (or more, if you’re up for it), we’ll work together to navigate the “real” South America. You’ll find yourself well outside your comfort zone, but not alone and hopefully not afraid. You can make the most of your own experience – if you want to drive, you’ll drive (if you don’t, it’s okay, you can ride in back until you’re ready). If you want to take point in conversations with the locals, try out your Spanish, order mystery food, or see if you can talk your way through a police checkpoint, we’ll make it happen. You’ll likely even get a chance to change a flat tire or fix a chain on the side of a dirt road miles away from anywhere.
Most importantly, you’ll get to have an incredible experience which will stick with you for the rest of your life, all while broadening your horizons and opening yourself and your friends up to the world at large. Best of all, you can have this experience for simply the cost of visas, airfare, and expenses while you’re down in South America – I won’t charge you a penny.
Instead, I hope that every person who comes on this adventure vacation with me will raise at least $500 for the charity we work with, and I’ll expect each person to bring a duffle bag of used (or new) clothes down with them. You’ll also have to write for my blog and help with photos and videos to document the experience. A small price to pay, no?
You get to help those less fortunate, adventure travel through South America, pick up stories to last a lifetime, see life off the beaten path and outside your comfort zone – and you get a dedicated chauffeur, logistical planner, and translator for no extra charge? Makes you want to go get a new passport right now, doesn’t it?
Stay tuned for more information over the coming weeks as I keep putting it all together. If you know of a great charity that focuses on smaller villages in South America, I’d love to hear about it (bonus if you can put me in touch directly). If you really seriously think you have the guts to join me on this adventure, I’d like to hear that, too. Finally, I’m going to need a bunch of new gear for this trip as much of my current stuff has been destroyed by the abuse I’ve put it through over the last year – I’ll be posting a list soon, but am open to sponsors for this trip (gear is usually my highest expense other than airfare).
While I put this all together, I’ll be hanging out in DC spending some much needed time with my friends who I have barely seen this year. I’m even discussing picking up some very short term contract work in order to add a little money to the pot, since I’ve already exhausted most of my life savings. Here’s to a couple months of taking daily showers and having a bed to sleep in every night!