Tue 4 Dec 2007
I never though I’d have a blog, but I’v arrived at the idea for a few reasons. The first is, it seems like a good way to keep track of planning and resources for this crazy idea. The second, and maybe more important, is by making my idea and progress public it makes it more real. It’ll also open the door to critique of my planning and suggestions for things I’m not thinking about.
I came up with the idea of riding from my front door in Asheville, NC to Buenos Aires Argentina after realizing that I have fully arrived at the place I promised myself I’d never be. A mind numbing desk job. Originally I was thinking I could take a TEFL certification class and teach English in Quito or one of the oil camps in the Oriente. Then it hit me – I could make it a grand adventure by riding a dual sport bike from here to there. I know its nuts – but I feel really good about it.
On Friday, someone on Boater Talk asked a question about why people quite kayaking. I wrote the paragraphs below. Before I put it down on paper so to speak, I didn’t really realize what was going on. Then this came out of me:
After a divorce, I filled a void in my life with kayaking. The more I gave it the more my cup overflowed with beautiful places, great times and friends. For a while I felt like I shined brightly with all the things I loved around me. We travelled to all kinds of crazy places. I moved to a small city and took a “dead-end” job that paid well enough, all so I could paddle more and be more involved the Community. I made choices that have led me to place where, as kayaking seems to be slipping away from me, my cup feels very empty and I’m trying to figure out how to fill it back up. I know that some of this is related to the drought we’re having, but its also a lot deeper. Its a spiritual crisis. Blaise Pascal said, “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every person” and the river and woods are the God I choose to fill it with. My life has drifted into working a desk job with two weeks a year off. I have a comfortable house, insurance and a 401K – AND I’ve allowed myself to arrive at the place I promised I would never be. I’m being sucked dry by what Ken Kesey called The Combine. I have days where the only time I’m outside is walking to and from the car – and that aint right.
I still get out in the woods or on a river sometimes. I did the Marathon Gauley this Fall, been on the Green once since then. But the dam control circus isn’t filling my “god shaped vacuum” and I’m feeling the rubber-band of the cosmic slingshot being pulled taught. I don’t know where it will fling me, but I need to get flung. I’m applying for a Middle Fork permit next week, and if the Gods are kind to me, I’ll win a launch date. Or maybe I’ll chuck it all and go teach English in South America. Maybe I need to sell the house and ride a bike from Anchorage to Buenos Aires – Paddle the French broad river all the way from Brevard to New Orleans. Something big is brewing.
“Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am- a reluctant enthusiast…a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still there. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains, bag the peaks. Run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk bound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: You will outlive the bastards.” -Edward Abbey
So, here we go.
Things to do – the big stuff:
- Take care of tax stuff
- Sell Charleston house
- Sell the V-Star and buy a dual sport
- Research pasport and visa requirments
- Buy a LOT of maps
- Get better Spanish
This is just a preliminary list. And I know this idea is crazy, but I could do it. I could sell the house and use some of the money to fund the trip, invest the rest, keep the Asheville house and rent it out while I’m gone. This could work. Its up to me.