Our Current Trip

CLICK HERE for Travel Journals and Information on our current trip cycling from Alaska to Argentina, June 2010 - ?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Cycle-touring with Podcasts

We were introduced to podcasts in Baja California by our cycling companions Aiden, Lorely and Russ. My technical ignorance was so that when we reached internet and they would say “I'm just going to download my podcasts” I would just smile and nod and have some vision of a small man with beans and a fishing rod beaming down onto their Ipods. When I finally asked them what a podcast actually was, and when they explained just how easy it was.. it opened up a whole new world for me. In fact you could say I got a little addicted.
I don't always listen to them while I am riding, but when the day starts getting a bit long, the scenery a little monotonous and I need a little distraction they are the perfect antidote. I also love to listen to them when going sleep in the tent at night, or when I wake up and hear strange “outside the tent night noises” and I need to be lulled off to sleep again.
My podcasts can sometimes make me look a little crazy tho', a funny one may make me laugh raucously while riding along or I get all excited at an interesting point and wave my arms around (not clever while riding). I once even cried during a podcast – but to be fair it was about climate change and the penguins, i think anyone would cry over that!
We are subscribed to a number of podcasts, so when we find internet along the way we can download the podcasts and be ready to be entertained. Our favourite podcasts to entertain us while riding are:
  • Coffeebreak Spanish and Showtime Spanish: These Spanish lesson podcasts are great (besides the annoying themesong that makes me want to ride off a cliff)
  • Dr Karl on Triple J: weekly talkback of science and answer questions
  • On the Couch: A discussion of the weekends games of the AFL (Australian Rules Football – the best game in the world), particularly handy at this time because out team appears to be making a comeback. Go Eagles
  • Environment ABC Radio National – automatically downloads any environment related podcasts great for nerds like me... as well as The Science Show with Robin Williams (ABC Radio)
  • Radiolab it's science, it's stories, it's music, it's great
  • A History of the World in 100 Objects A BBC history podcast- this is our falling asleep podcast, the English presenter of this history podcast has the most soothing voice – I am always asleep almost instantly (so I have no idea if the podcast is any good!)
  • Joe Strummer Jules favourite – a rebroadcast of Joe Strummer's London Calling radio show, music from all over.
Unfortunately, our addiction has got a little out of hand lately – Jules is downloading anything that she finds (I have just found 10 new episodes of Sesame St on the computer!) and our computer memory has just become full. No more downloadng is possible. I'm not sure that we can continue riding......

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Walking for Peace

We ran into Guillermo Vega Cortez at a little roadside restaurant while we were cycling in the mountains of Colombia, south of Cali. We just stopped to get out of the rain for a minute and we saw this man, totally dressed in white, with a large and well-used backpack, a Colombian flag, a hat that read “Paz” ('peace' in Spanish) and a big banner with a map of South America on it. Intrigued we got to chatting to him and found out that he had been on the road for four years. He started at his home in Medellin and had walked south, through Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, across to Brazil and then down to Argentina to Chile. From Santiago he headed north again, back to Colombia. He was walking for peace, for “peace without borders”.
Jules and I had just been thinking what a big trip we were on, nearing the one year mark of our cycling trip and having done just over 16000 kms. However, cycling is easy, compared to walking with a backpack, and we felt quite humbled to have met Guillermo. In his four years of walking through South America he has travelled almost 19000 kms, through nine countries and he is up to his 25th pair of shoes!
It makes Jules and I, on our cycling adventure, feel a little less alone and a little less crazy. We are travelling slowly in a world filled with people rushing past in cars and buses. We have quit our jobs and thrown everything in to go off moseying through the Americas. It's always good to know that there are other people out there that have stopped what they were doing and gone off a-wandering. There are many different reasons for people to head off into the world, for adventure, as an escape or for a good cause, such as raising awareness on the need for peace.
The human quest for adventure, or for escape, hasn't changed that much over the years. We may now live in much more complicated societies of large cities, and internet technology and globalisation but really there is still the urge deep down to go and live in a cave, grow our hair long and eat berries naked.
Years ago when I was cycling through northern Australia I would often chat to the 'grey nomads', the retired caravaners. They always had stories of other people that they had met that were cycling, walking, crawling their way through the outback. There was the Japanese man that was pushing a cart and playing a didgeridoo across central Australia, the cross-dressing cyclist who had a small dog and a road-train of three trailers and of course lots of other people whose stories were retold and embellished around a cup-of-tea on the side of the road.
Jules and I are now on our little adventure, cycling Alaska to Argentina, but pretty soon we will be back home sitting in an office with only our memories of our wanderings. We'll be thinking of all those people out there grabbing the world in one hand and following the urges that only they can feel. Guillermo is almost home, his walk for peace almost at an end. He believes only two more months of walking, maybe one more pair of shoes and his four-year quest will be over. What an accomplishment. Here's to peace without borders, here's to all those people out there off on adventures big and small.