Is it the struggle towards the goals, which makes mankind happy? Or is the goal the struggle to stay conscious in the midst of ghastly twinges? What is the value of having goals for our own sake? After 30 years of living on this green and blue ball, I know one thing… they all vanish… It is merely a question of time.
All I remember is the screech of the car tires behind me trying to avoid collision, and the sound of metal scraping on the wet asphalt in the Paraguayan tropics. Just moments before the slide, I tried to pull over to the shoulder to wipe off my visor, and that’s when I went flying to the middle of the road.
When I left Argentina for the beautiful Uruguay, I was happy with no worry in the world. The bike was fixed, the hospitality of the locals was top notch, and the weather was glorious if just a little hot. But my mind quickly tuned into the ever-changing state of this expedition, and with that came the thoughts, and agonizingly hurtful memories of my recent relationship. Explaining the causes and details is not something I’m willing to do, but the outcome was devastating nevertheless for both of us. And with every mile, this pain became more tangible to the point that it was unbearable to carry on. Somewhere in northern Uruguay, I got sick. I started to vomit few times a day and eating became a chore. I tried to force-feed myself, but I couldn’t hold anything down, and the burning fever skyrocketed to compound my misery in the already hot weather. But my deteriorating physical condition was no match for the despondent mental state I was in.
I rode day after day with no real destination as my compass pointed north towards Paraguay and Bolivia. The perpetual fights and indecisions went on with Cynthia via emails and phone calls, and I hoped against hope just to have something to cling on to. I met amazing people on the road and they all showed me nothing but the greatest care and love, but I failed time after time to even take out my camera to snap a photo of them to remember them by.
For two thousand miles I hallucinated. So when I found out that I washed my passport inside my riding jacket in the washing machine for two cycles, I wasn’t one bit surprised. My only identity and my ticket out of this land now looked like a watercolor painting of a shity story as my stamps resembled the famous painting; “Persistence of Time” only more incoherent. My importation papers for the bike looked like a wet clump of toilet paper, and I didn’t even notice that until I reached the border of Paraguay.
I spent hours at the border going from one office to another to beg the apathetic officials for mercy, and at last I succeeded. This was a true test of my Spanish limit and, I was exhausted when I received my entry stamp and stepped foot in Paraguay.
I rode towards Asunción, with nothing on my mind but Cynthia, and I lost my focus on the road and my surrounding. For the first time in my life I hit the ground while riding a motorcycle. I spent years perfecting the art of alertness in traffic, but I succumbed to what I knew too well. I let my guard down, and I simply didn’t think of what any idiot would already know. I pulled into a muddy shoulder after heavy tropical rains at speed, and the rest is history.
I have to get my focus back, and this country is going to be the place to do it. Paraguay is beautiful, but also is one of the poorest countries in South America with a real grip of poverty, and malnutrition chocking its population. Countless skinny and dirty innocent little faces made me realize once again that nothing in the world is ever worth fighting for than standing up for those who can’t. I’m here to stay and I’m here to do what I set out to do. I tried to take a trip, but the trip took me.
We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.- John Steinbeck