In August of 2010, I journeyed out of Alaska on an adventure that I thought would be about riding a motorbike from the extreme north of Alaska to the southern-most tip of South America. I thought I would just press pause on my career, relationships, and finances. I would slip away for a few years of travel, delight in adventure, and inch ever closer to that self-actualization stuff we read about in books.
Instead, the information technology industry continued to change rapidly. My friends briskly produced a new generation. And, despite operating in the most technologically advanced century known in all of written history, banks balked when I wrote “homeless” for an address.
The uncertain and transient nature of a multi-year, solo adventure fiercely complicated the most basic needs of life. On a cold, wet day north of the Arctic Circle, I lived for a hot meal and nothing else. In the scorching desert of northern Colombia, finding water and a swath of shade made my day. When food and weather were at their best on remote mountain roads of Peru, I yearned most for a friendly hola.
And it was while this proverbial foundation of my needs pyramid quaked uncontrollably that I found the self-esteem and personal fulfillment I sought. Each day was an opportunity for achievement. Problem solving became the work that yielded confidence and security. Living “without” built respect for simplicity. Trusting strangers tore down the walls of prejudice. Spontaneity uncovered new relationships that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
Travel is the kind of movement that has the power to transform you.
My adventure did not set a speed record; instead, I traveled along an unknown route and within a schedule governed largely by weather and the whim of suggestion. Some of the places and people I visited were planned, but otherwise, the trip was truly an exploration of geographic and cultural diversity.
After a year and a half touring the United States, I took passage with my parents aboard a 42-foot sailboat. We sailed from Puerto Rico to Florida via the Domincan Republic, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Bahamas. Early in 2013, I resumed my ride long enough to celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans and pause in Texas for a year. In March of 2014, I left Texas for Mexico and the long ride south. The ride through Central and South America introduced me to new ways of living and some of the most difficult riding conditions of my life.
Inspiration and the generosity of others played a huge part in keeping my wheels moving. I slowly recovered from the theft of my motorcycle and equipment in Chile, and then finished the ride in Tierra del Fuego in March 2015.
I am now back in Texas and searching for meaningful work. Adventure will always be a part of my life, and I am thrilled to continue to live every day to its fullest alongside my life partner, Eric, and our amazing family of friends in Houston.