People have said we should write a book.
There are so many stories within our story I wouldn’t know where to start or what the point of the book would be. I couldn’t possibly include it all.
Would it be a how-to book, detailing how to cycle the Americas? Or in the comedic genre, a how-not-to book? Or a picture book, something to sit on the coffee table of dreamers?
Then there are the stories between the lines of our journal. Somewhere there’s a story of self-discovery and growth. Maybe it’s a story about the non-traditional life, the road less traveled.
There are also the stories of us, sharing the experience, through good times and bad. Traveling with anyone for 24 hours/day, 7 days/week for nearly two years is challenging. Perhaps traveling with a spouse is even more challenging because of the moral obligation we feel to stay together.
Scott and I are both fiercely independent, each knowing we could make it on our own. But we need each other. Not in the needy, need sense. We need each other in the practical sense. We only have one tent.
It has occurred to me to just buy a second tent. But these moments where we’re at the end of our ropes with each other don’t come when there are sporting stores conveniently close by, where we could divvy up our meager belongings and travel independently for a while. No, these moments happen when we’re in the middle of a desert, or in the mountains, miles and miles away from any one or any place. And by the time we make it back to civilization, the mood has passed and we’re travel partners again.
The other day I asked Scott what he wanted for his upcoming birthday. He said, flatly, that he wanted to be on an airplane going home. And then yesterday, while I was picking my chin up off the ground from this jaw-dropping amazing scenery, Scott rode up next to me and exclaimed “This is horrible! How many more miles do we have of this?!” He was referring to the road. Yes, the road was rough. But my mind was too busy being blown away by awesome to notice the pain in my backside.
Scott is done. He has the kind of traveler’s burnout that can only be fixed with a one-way ticket home. While I, on the other hand, am trying to find ways to prolong my time in the Patagonia.
Yesterday pushed me to my limit. I can’t travel with someone who is incapable of appreciating something so easy to love as the Patagonia. I can’t be WanderWheels’ team cheerleader. People dream of coming here. I dreamed of coming here.
So when his rear hub broke this morning and he needed to take a 2 hour bus ride north to Puerto Montt, I told him he could have anything he wanted, but I was taking the tent and continuing south.
Our plan is to ride the Carretera Austral south and then return north to Puerto Montt to catch a ferry through southern Chile’s archipelago to Puerto Natales. My idea was we could meet-up later in Puerto Montt for the ferry.
All of this is happening while sitting on a guardrail at the side of the road. I don’t know how long we sat there, but it felt like a while. Not much was said. After more than 18,000 miles with someone, there’s not much left to say that hasn’t already been said.
We decided I would accompany Scott back to the last town to make sure he was able to catch a bus.
But in the end, we left both bikes at a tourist information office and I got on the bus with Scott to Puerto Montt. I’m not sure why. I was really looking forward to solo travel. Maybe it was out of moral obligation. Or maybe it’s because we’re all we have right now so we have to stick together. Or maybe it’s because I love him too much to leave, and an experience shared (even if experienced differently) is still richer than experiencing it alone.
This is what a broken rear hub looks and sounds like: