3 Years Traveling
Today marks the end of 3 years traveling and the start of my 4th year on the road. What started as a one year sabbatical from my job as a Police Officer to cycle and hike around Tasmania and then cycle and hike from Alaska to Mexico has turned into so much more.
For three years I have been living on my bicycle or out of my hiking backpack. Without a doubt it has been the best three years of my life. During that time I rarely followed a guidebook in favour of making things up as I go. I rarely took advise about safety from people who had never traveled to the so called dangerous parts of the world, but I listened intently to the locals who had.
The last 3 years traveling has seen me Hike a total of 9409km, Cycle a total of 22590km and canoe a total of 721km.More info can be found on my Stats and Maps Page – click here to have a look.
Hiking the CDT
Probably my biggest challenge of the last 12 months has been my successful hike of the Continental Divide Trail. It was certainly the hardest hiking I have done. I was faced with many challenges that I had to overcome. The snows of Colorado both humbled me and scared me. I learned new skills in the snow and learned the power of persistence. Just keep moving forward.
I also faced a couple of possible hike ending injuries and illnesses. Both Cryptosporidium and Giardia took hold inside my body. At one point in Wyoming I considered calling for a rescue as my body started to shut down and my ability to keep moving forward started to fail me. I persisted and kept moving.
My feet started to give me problems in the form of Plantar Fasciitus. A nerve injury on the bottom of the heal that can take months to repair. In fact 4 months after finishing my injury has not completely healed, but I am confident I will be hiking another long trail later this year.
More Cycling and Hiking in Mexico
I continued my cycling journey through the most amazing country of Mexico. Most of my time was spent in the colonial heartland of Mexico in the states of Guanajuato and Queretero. It saw me cycling through the ancient Aztec lands of the central highlands. I took many detours to visit ruins and learn of the culture and I took the time to climb or attempt to climb a couple of volcanoes. I was successful at climbing La Malinche near the city of Puebla but didn’t even get a chance to climb Pico de Orizaba due to illness.
My cycling journey continued through the heartland of the indigenous people ending up in the town of San Cristobel de las Casas, where I am currently writing this post. I had a short but hot and sweaty visit to the coast to get a bit if beach time.
During my time in Mexico I learned to love the food. There are so many regional differences in the food that it is hard to call something Mexican food. Carnitas of the Colonial Heartland, Cemitas of Puebla, Moles of Oaxaca and the coffee of Chaipas. The diversity is so much more than the stereotypical taco.
This past year has seen me take an extended break in the Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende. The time off the bike allowed my body to heal and my mind to work on new projects going forward. While in San Miguel I upgraded this website in an attempt to fund my further travels. I love the current format, it is exactly what I want to see in a website. Hopefully, it shows off my photos a little better, I hope this will get even better in 2017. But it has come at a cost both financially and time. It now costs me several hundred dollars a year to run this website every year. Not that I am complaining, it is a labour of love for me and I take pride in what I present.
I have made small attempts to monetise the site. I now have links that lead to Amazon. If any of you buy any products from Amazon during that visit I will be paid a small commission. Hopefully, it will be enough to cover the cost of running the website someday. Also, I added a link to my PayPal account for donations. I dearly appreciate all the kind donations this last 12 months. They funded many meals while I hiked the Continental Divide Trail. The hike was substantially more expensive than the Pacific Crest Trail – anybody traveling to Colorado lately will attest to their high costs.
Photography and Video
I also invested in a photo editing and organising program called Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6. So hopefully the next year should see an improvement in my photos. I am also fighting the idea to upgrade my camera equipment to include high quality camera capable of taking 4K video. Which may lead me to starting regular videos on my YouTube Channel which is currently scant of videos, despite having taken maybe 50 hours of video in the last 3 years traveling. I might sit down in one place and start the task of editing them. Any tips or hints are appreciated. Also, what is your favourite YouTube Channel and why? I must admit that I am looking forward to trying to make a quality video. If I bought a quality video camera do you think my photography skills would transfer to filming?
The next 12 months will see me again return to USA (if I am allowed in), to hike the Appalachian Trail. By completing this trail I will have completed what is called ‘The Triple Crown’ of hiking. The completion of the 3 premier Thru Hikes in North America, The Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail. Not many Australians have completed such a feat, maybe less than 5 (I will attempt to find out the official number later this year).
I will also continue cycling through the rest of North America. Hopefully I will be close to finishing the road that stops in Panama at the Darien Gap. Before I reach there I have several other thoughts on things I would like to do. I am considering stopping in a place for a month or so to take some intensive Spanish lessons. My Spanish is OK but I’m far from fluent and I’m motivated to increase my vocabulary and grammar.
I am also considering stopping in the Caribbean for an extended period to complete my Divemasters or Dive Instructors Certification. Having logged over 100 dives around the world over the years I might make the next step to becoming a semi-professional diver. But nothing is set in concrete yet. As my bank balance decreases I may need to find a way to top up my funds, this might be a great idea.
If I take time to Learn Spanish and further my Dive career then it should give me the time I need to edit all my videos. Then there is the book that I started writing. I just can’t seem to find the time to dedicate to that project at the moment.
3 years Traveling, what have I learned in the last 12 months?
I learned to slow down during this last 12 months, taking more time for myself to read, to learn and contemplate the future. I seem to know a lot more about myself. Who I am, who I am not. And I realise that not many people know that about themselves. I am so much different to that highly stressed out Police Officer that I used to be. It took a long time to de-stress. Granted that it was a stressful job to begin with but I never realised just how much. I suspect if I continued it may have led to an early grave like it has for so many of my fellow colleagues. My life is worth more than the money my job paid me. It was a great job and I enjoyed helping people and helping the community, even if some segments of the community didn’t agree.
I have learned patience and tolerance. I already possessed those qualities but they have become more developed lately. Also, I learned that it is OK to have long hair and a long beard. And it is equally OK to chop it all off. As I did only yesterday!
3 years traveling done and dusted, I have started looking beyond the next 12 months of travels and again I am so optimistic of the future. I won’t reveal my too much of my plans but lets just say that I am planning some very epic stuff in the coming years. No stopping just yet.