I feel broken. It’s as if some of the color has seeped out of the world, the sharpness faded. As if I’m behind my eyes, watching myself, performing on auto-pilot. Finding any sort of emotion is difficult, especially motivation. After the last week, it’s like everything is done. I am full.
It’s a strange feeling – similar to the occasional feeling of emptiness, but truly a polar opposite. I find it incredibly difficult to find motivation to write about the last few days simply because it seems impossible to convey what has been happening in my head. I can summarize it, I suppose, by saying this:
After conquering the rain, snow, wind, dirt, mud, sand, gravel, and vicious wind of the past few days, I feel as if there is no point to the trip any more. Everything I do from this point forward will be a useless attempt to re-capture that high, but I don’t believe it will be possible to find that degree of struggle again without taking deliberate, irresponsible measures.
I know it’s hard to understand, that if you haven’t been through a situation like that you can’t quite empathize, but these past few days will be with me for the rest of my life. Days like those are the reasons I go on adventures like these, and at this point I feel as if I’ve won.
The first day I spent in El Calafate it was hard to find any motivation at all, and I didn’t even bother to eat out. Instead I spent almost the entire day holed up in my cabin processing my emotions from the week, cooking myself simple meals and trying to unwind.
The second day, I went off to the Perito Moreno glacier and it was almost painful. For the first time ever on this trip, I was bored out of my mind within moments of hitting the road. The 80km ride out to the glacier, even stopping for video and some minor narration, felt endless, purposeless. The glacier itself was mind blowing, stunningly beautiful, and yet it felt dull. Were it not for a desire to capture it in photos, I’m not sure I would have even stayed as long as I did.
From here, if all goes well, I should be able to make it to Ushuaia in three days. Based on the weather reports for the areas I’ll be traveling through, there is a minor chance of snow but even through the mountain pass north of Ushuaia I expect pavement and tolerable weather – it does not appear to be likely that I will be struggling with anything to match last week.
And I’m full. I can’t really summon anything other than fleeting excitement at the idea. For the first time, I feel as if riding to Ushuaia will simply be checking a box, rather than accomplishing a goal. I just don’t imagine it will be a struggle.
I remember the way I felt as I rode the Dalton Highway in Alaska northward, through intense cold, rain, fog, and occasional vicious mud in what was an almost endless day: victory. It was a hard fought struggle, and pushing through the Arctic Circle was a slow build of emotional triumph. There’s no doubt in my mind that I set out on another insane trip to chase that dragon, and I feel somewhat cheated that I found that dragon only days away from my destination.
We’ll see how things go from here. I’m still going to head south, but I think from there it will be a leisurely trip back up the coast until I can chase the dragon again through the desert mountains of Bolivia… after which, perhaps, it will be time to go home and find another dragon to chase.