Two months ago I gave my family and friends a final hug before boarding my plane to set off to the unknown: a 6-month motorcycle trip from Chile to NYC. On an oldtimer Guzzi.
Now, 2 months later, I am in Lima, Peru’s capital city. The past 2 months have been a constant high. A huge smile on my face has been traveling along, accompanying me on the road. So far, I traveled around 6,000 km through Chile, Argentina, and Peru. Crossed the Andes twice, at an altitude of 4,800 meters above sea level. And took my Guzzi (date of birth: 1976) to the Official MotoGP racetrack of Rio Hondo in Argentina, right before legendary Valentino Rossi won another insane GP race on the very same track – probably after watching my tutorial video.
Next to all the bike fun, I met a great amount of cool, inspiring people. People like you and me, committed to make this world a better place. To make a change. To defy the system. To break the odds.
One of them is Don Leo, a mechanical engineer. Don Leo is the owner of Hotel Galvarino in the coastal town of Tocopilla in the Atacama desert of northern Chile. For 5 consecutive days, Don Leo let me work in his office. We got along really well. One day, Don Leo took me to the roof of the hotel, to show his solar panel system. Using his engineering background, he set up this solar heating system by himself, which provides the hotel with hot water fully. Without need to use energy generated by the polluting coal power plant, just outside Tocopilla. Read more about Don Leo here. Don Leo is a modest man; somebody who walks the talk.
Just like Ebel.
Ebel is a doctor who lives in the south of Peru, in the city of Tacna. Ebel prefers not to work in institutionalised medical environments (= hospitals). That is why she applied and got admitted to work for Doctors without Borders. Next week, Ebel will leave Peru for her first mission, to the war-struck region of Donetsk in Ukraine. When Ebel talks about the need of medical aid for people in need, her eyes are blazing fire. This woman’s got courage. Read about Ebel here.
María José and María Emilia
In Argentina, in the city of Tucumán, I met María José and her sister María Emilia, who are both primary school teachers. Together they set up the project of the “Eco Casita”: the construction of a house made out of plastic bottles. The objective was to raise awareness among young kids about the environment and about recycling. After the house was finished, it was used (and still is) as a house for young children to play in at primary school. Check it out here.
People like Don Leo, Ebel, María José and María Emilia give me goose bumps. They are the living proof that everybody can make a difference. And have a positive impact on the lives of others. The most important step (as Nike’s marketing gurus discovered already ages ago) is: Just Do It.
Go for it, regardless.
Encounters like these make this journey absolutely epic. And it makes me smile yet again when I realise that the world must be full of stories of people with fire in their eyes, and in their hearts.
Cannot wait to meet more of them, during the next 2 months on the road.