December 25, 2015
Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas.
Looking back on the past five months of traveling the Americas, it’s been a tremendously rewarding experience. There have been very good days, and some more difficult days, but I wouldn’t trade any of them.
Many people have asked what my favorite country has been so far. It really depends on what aspect you’re talking about. Most beautiful? Overall I’m still putting Colombia at the top of that list, although Peru has been pretty awesome so far, and I’m not through it yet. Friendliest people? They’ve all been great. Colombians and Mexicans really went out of their way to be friendly….everyone I came in contact with. I’ll never forget sitting at stoplights in Bucaramanga, Colombia and having people pull up next to me, both on bikes and in cars, and give me a thumbs up while screaming “Bienvenidos a Colombia!”.
Best food? Personally, I’m still a huge fan of Mexico. Although Peruvian ceviche has been incredible, and I had a few great meals in other countries as well: at a guesthouse in Panama, on the beach in El Salvador, and several others I can’t even recall right now. It’s probably not fair to rate a country based on its’ food when your budget is as low as mine.
I’ve met a lot of great people on the road, from locals who were just curious where I came from and where I was going (the little girl at the gas station outside of Chimborazo, Ecuador especially comes to mind — wide-eyed and having fun talking with me in Spanish), to innkeepers like Aase and Ove at The Magic Stone in Banos and Anja in Vilcabamba, to the other travelers I’ve met and even traveled with along the way. Especially Judith, the “Swiss Girl” who rode from Alaska to Chile on her own (except when she allowed me to tag along).
Judith will always have a special place. It was a great trip and I hope to see her again when I get to Switzerland.
I’ve also enjoyed traveling with Ian from Scotland, and hope to meet up with him again closer to Patagonia, and hopefully in the UK as well.
I feel like I’ve made a lot of new friends on this journey; people that I will see again either down the road or in their hometowns on the other side of the world. And wherever I land when the trip is done, they will all be welcome there as well.
I also want to say thanks to all of my friends back home that have followed along on my travels, and those who have offered assistance during my trip, should I need it. So far, my bike has been great and I haven’t had a need to call for help. But you are not forgotten.
In just the first five months of my travels, I have seen and experienced a different lifestyle than I have ever lived before, but I have adapted to it well, and it feels good.
As if to confirm that this life fits me well, I am healthier than I have been in years. In addition to losing 25 pounds since July, my primary health problem seems to have cured itself: when I left Texas in July, my PSA level (the number used to measure prostate condition and possibly indicate prostate cancer) was 50. The normal level is closer to 4, and typically a level of 50 indicates the existence of prostate cancer is highly likely. This past Wednesday, after five months on the road, my PSA level was measured again, and I am at 2.8. My doctor has no explanation for how my number has dropped so far, or why my PSA is well within the normal range now even though my biopsies in July showed a pre-cancerous condition. I will chalk it up to a change of diet and a severe reduction in the stress levels in my life.
Which gives me a lot to be thankful for as I continue to ride.
I hope your holidays are bright, and you make plans for the new year that change your life in a positive way.