Thursday, November 27, 2008

Adv #7 Continued....from So. Cal through AZ and crossing into Mexico

(Above: Peter and I had a little "planning session" in the kitchen in Arizona. We've just tried to outline a basic idea of what we want to do and see. Nothing too specific...)

The clock is winding down, and tomorrow I cross the border into Mexico through Nogales! My buddy Peter has been down in Sonora for a couple of weeks vacationing with his girlfriend who flew in from Italy, and I’ve been stationed at my family’s winter house in Green Valley, AZ. This delay in departure was a great opportunity for me to get ready for the trip. Planning for new tenants in my house back in Atlanta, getting my bike ready with maintenance and spare parts, registering with embassies, getting shots and medications, trying to learn Spanish, etc, etc. Quite a long list has been chiseled away at, making even less for me to be concerned with on this adventure to South America.

Many people have been pointing out to me the inherent dangers of driving through Latin America, and I truly appreciate their reminders. Aside from the obvious traffic concerns, it seems nearly everyone has heard stories of terror, tourists being targeted, hi-jackings, shootings, police impersonations, etc. I’m aware that these kinds of things do happen where I’m going. But I’m also aware that they happen here in the U.S. and pretty much every country in the world for that matter. I’m confident that gut instinct, smarts, and my (our) own intuition will keep us safe. Thousands of tourists pass through these countries every year and return home safe and sound. (We only hear about the scary stories, right?) Anyway, I’ve developed a certain mindset about the troubles we could run into. It may sound a bit too hard-ass or care-free…..but my view on the matter is: “Hey, if that’s how it’s going to happen… be it.” At least I was willing to give it a shot.

Much consideration goes into continuing with this free-flowing adventure lifestyle. With all this talk about global economic crisis and the state of the job market here in the U.S., part of me says I should hunker down and make as much money as I can right now. For many reasons though, I’ve decided I’m still pressing forward and following my heart instead of just jumping back into the workforce grind I’d been into since college. (Plus, I really don’t want to continue with the type of work I was doing anyway.) For many reasons, maybe my timing is just perfect for taking a break and do something I really want to do. Maybe travels like this with some work along the way will lead me to the type of career that I want to work? While things are so messy in the U.S., it seems like a fine time to learn about other countries and other languages. No, I’m not saying I’m abandoning the United States; but with situations like we’re in right now, maybe I’m working on a back-up plan by learning a 2nd language and continue growing my international network of friends and contacts.

An unexpected benefit to living this lifestyle is that I’ve learned how to live and appreciate having very little. Only in these past couple of weeks have I had the luxury of staying in a home with television, washing machines, a dishwasher, etc. Aside from these past couple of weeks here in this house, I’ve only had access to the gear packed with me or what the campground I’m staying at offers. So far, it’s a lifestyle I really enjoy. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of total financial stability, and I'm not suggesting I want to have very little in life. But I’m also realizing more and more how little I needed the fully furnished townhome, the entertainment system, the DVD’s, all the conveniences, etc. By not having all of that “commitment” around me, I don’t feel obligated to use it, and it’s really freed me up to explore and discover other things, people, and places.

I definitely plan on picking up some work wherever I end up (probably Chile or Argentina.) Right now, I’d like to do some more adventure-guiding work internationally, so there’s another reason for me to immerse myself in Latin America and learn to speak Spanish. I’m applying with a few companies that have a presence in South America, and if all goes as I want them to, I’ll spend at least the bulk of 2009 down there working and traveling. If nothing is happening there for me, I’ll find something to do somewhere else in the world. I’m constantly reminded that English teachers are needed in many countries, so at the very least I'm sure I can fall back on that. "Okay, kids, can you say 'motorcycle???'"

A couple of the recent pics:
(Below: Having my parents come all the way out to Green Valley just for a visit sure was nice. Hadn't seen them since the pictures posted back in June of this year, when I rode up to Wisconsin for Father's Day.)
Dad, for being a non-golfer, that was some golf performance you put forward that day!

Like I was saying, I left my buddy Steve in southern California, and headed east along the border to Arizona. What a great combination of timing and location that I was able to visit with Aunt Sue and Uncle Denny (AS & UD) at the family house in Green Valley, and then stay there for a couple of weeks to tie things up before the trip. And as a great surprise, my parents flew in for a few days as well, we got to play some golf, and enjoy the beautiful autumn weather in southern Arizona! I think Aunt Sue (on my motorcycle above) was really hoping we’d ride one of those long wheelie’s past the Community Center to show off for everyone on the shuffle board court, but we decided to take it easy and play it safe on our cruise around the neighborhood.
Next post is coming to you from somewhere in Mexico......

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