Day 6- ajos to Puerto Penasco, Mexico

I said goodbye to Dan and Steve and hitchhiked into Mexico today. It feels real- I’m in another country now. An old Spanish church in Ajos.

 I had my first conversation in Spanish with this guy from Ajos to Why, Arizona.

 

National Monument near the Mexico border.
 
Crossing into Mexico was easy. The sweet border agent just asked to look in my bag and I simply walked across. I got into with a few American rvers who were going to Puerto Penasco, which feels more like suburbs than the real Mexico. Tomorrow , I’ll hike into the real Mexico. Tonight I’ll sleep near the ocean. 
Total rides-16

Day 3- Gallup to Phoenix, Arizona

 This kind family invited me into their home for the night. 

 Lots of Navajo gift shops along the way but beware, they don’t have bathrooms.
After chatting with this Canadian couple at a rest stop for awhile, I joined them on their journey to Flagstaff.  Elf (guy on left) used to play what he calls “pepperoni hockey”, just a step below the NHL. His wife said he’s broken near every bone in his body.  They travel for four months a year together in their RV chasing sun.
I’ll be camping somewhere in Phoenix tonight. 
Total rides-13 
 

Day 2- Durango to Gallup, New Mexico

Camping on the outskirts of Durango was cold last night! A mere 25 degrees made me wake up shivering a few times even with a nice sleeping bag!

 Lots of Navajo people hitchhiking from town and back to their tribes. A picture of Ship Rock, one of their sacred sites.
 ” I once grabbed a gal hitchhiking in cuba at two in the morning. She told me to let her out in the middle of nowhere and a bartender later claimed she was a wandering ghost.”
 “This was my house growing up and it burned to the ground. It was enormous and I can remember exactly how it was.”
I’ll be staying with some friendly locals in Gallup tonight and then hitchhiking south tomorrow!
 Hiking at Pyramid Trail @ Red Rock
 New Mexico sunset!
Total rides: 10

Day 1- Colorado Springs to Durango

 I finally set off from the Springs today on the firstday of this huge trip.  It took a long time and some walking to get a lift near Fort Carson. “Have you ever seen a hearst with a trailer hitch? You don’t get to take your stuff with you.” – Jimmy the wilderness therapy/ river paddle guy

 
Saying goodbye for now to embark on this journey was extremely hard. She sent me out with a proper send off- potatoe breakfast and a late morning together. By far, starting is always the hardest part.
 Six rides total so far.  Heading southwest tomorrow! 

Setting off- what’s in the pack?

On the road, the backpack becomes your home. You want to have all of the essentials ready to go for a good night’s sleep in all conditions. I’m planning to do a good amount of Couchsurfing and staying with locals on this trip, but there will be plenty of times that I need to stealth camp. Stealth camping is the art of making camp at nightfall and leaving at sunrise without anyone seeing you or leaving a trace.  Sometimes it’s the safest way to sleep!

For this trip, I bought a new backpack as my old one was falling apart. For a trip of this distance, you need something that can hold up- so I went for quality.
Inside the backpack, putting the bulkier and camping items at the bottom, there is:
1) Static V inflatable mattress. It compresses to the size of a water bottle and expands to six feet in length. So far, very comfortable. Let’s see how it holds up.
2) Gadgets, chargers.  Mainly for my Iphone, which will be my “computer” for blogging and taking pictures. I also may use it for busking with my guitar, placing it inside a coffee cup to amplify backing tracks to improv to.
3) Passport. Of course, in the 21st century version of the world, I’m not getting far without this!
4) Martin backpacker acoustic guitar- guitar picks, strings.  It sounds great and only weighs a few pounds. Great for breaking language barriers and busking/ playing coffee shops for travel funds! Some might call this a luxury item, but I have found that I can’t live without it.
5) Minimalist bivy sack. Rather than a tent, this small canvas goes over your sleeping bag and keeps you dry if you find yourself stuck in the rain. Again, let’s see how this holds up.
6) Journal and book. I always carry a book to read for moments I find stuck waiting for a ride or off days when I’m too exhausted to move.  When finished reading, you either trade for a different book with another traveler or leave it on a park bench for someone else to discover.  Writing in a journal every night helps keep a sound mind amidst constant change.
7) Big Agnes sleeping bag.  Rated for colder weather.
8) Cocoon travel pillow.  Deflates to the size of a tennis ball.  I’ve found it makes for a good night’s sleep!
On Wednesday morning , I’ll be hitchhiking from the Springs and heading south!

Hitchhiking the World-day 0 (Denver, CO)

Below you will find my open and adventurous plan to travel the world for the next 2-? years.  It’s something I’ve been reading and obsessing and mildly (to most) planning for the last five years or so after doing a few bicycle tours and hitchhiking around Australia, America, and Southeast Asia. Now, finally, comes the approach of the big trip.   .

I’ve officially got a departure date.  February 5, 2017.  I resigned from my jobs and there are a few bit of things I’m having to give up to start this trip.  There are the things that I knew I’d give up that are easier and expected: jobs, material possessions, the idea of stability, creature comforts, retirement plans– the things that society constantly pumps us with the message that we are to value.  I’ll be trading the illusion of stability for raw adventure.  I’m not asking for permission, but asking for some support.

I realize how lucky that I am to be able to do this.  There will be dangers, there will be times when I’ll probably feel like this isn’t the right thing to do.  I’m willing to face hardships in order to make this succeed.  In whatever amount of time it takes, my foolish (to most) plan is to hitchhike and perhaps bicycle in some areas from the United States, through Latin America, through Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia/ New Zealand.  Why do this?  The simple answer is that I’ve become completely obsessed.  There is a desire to meet people of other cultures without following the traditional tourist patterns.  Using Couchsurfing, I’ll stay with local people or camp when I need to.

What will I be carrying?  Only the essentials:  a backpack with a sleeping bag, bivy sack, small inflatable mattress, 2 pairs of boxers (you can always wash one), 2 pairs of socks (same applies), a journal (to document), a small Martin travel acoustic guitar.  I debated over and over again whether I should bring a fold-able bicycle or a guitar and settled on the guitar with the idea that I can always find a low-grade bike somewhere if I want to cycle certain parts of countries.  Music is the best way I’ve found to communicate with locals when the language barrier is a brick.

“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”  Indeed, I met a girl who I love (unexpectedly, as it always is) two years ago in a pub in Denver and we’ve had many mountain hiking adventures and experiences together since we met.  But she’s for her own reasons not able to join me for this trip understandably, and I have to go it alone.  So there are things that you must give up that make leaving very difficult.  If I waited any longer to depart, I never would.  And this is something I must do because I am determined.

Staying determined through the trip’s natural occurring hardships will be a great challenge at times.  I’m hoping that I’m mentally and spiritually prepared for that.  A sense of humor always helps.

So if you see a hitchhiker on the side of the road with a guitar anywhere around the world, please pick him up because it might be me!  Haha.

Below is an overly generalized version of my intended route.  I’ll most likely be flying over the oceans and war zones that I might encounter, but other than that, I intend to remain with my feet on the lands.  I want to experience the shift gradual shift of cultures and not just fly into places having skipped over the in-between.  Of course, the world is too gigantic to see it all, but I will get a taste (in a very literal way) of all cultures of the world.

The 21st century is beginning as one of the most interesting and trivial times to be alive and I’m hoping to have a front row seat to it all.  Through hitchhiking, I can share with all of you the different perspectives and events I find myself a part of around this planet.

This is a particularly long post but most of my daily blogs I intend to keep short due to the fact that I’ll be busy traveling and often be exhausted or have limited wi-fi.

I encourage you all to pursue that which makes you feel the deepest fire and most inspiration. Bon voyage!  In early February, I will be hitchhiking south into Mexico and the hinterlands of Latin America.   worldtrip

Hitchhiking from Denver to Michigan

Leaving Denver in the morning, heading to family for the holidays, I found that my cell phone had fallen out of my pocket on the bus.  I backtracked all the way to where the bus and train line meet, where I found the bus driver standing there, my phone in his hand.  So I got off to a rough start, yet still, lucky to receive it back.  The first lift came from an Uber driver from tge country of Guinea.  I walked and waited a few hours before getting picked up by a plumber heading east.  Walking along the highway for an hour or so, a group of three pulled over blasting ICP andother forms of murderous music.  One guy was a blabbing drunk, the other girl and guy (a couple) ready to pass out.  I drove their vehicle four hours into the middle of Kansas. It was near Great Bend, Kansas that their drama unfolded and I found myself caught inside the net.  They said it was jyst a few miles off the highway for a pit stop but she drove 90 mph along astate road with minimal traffic while her drug dealer boyfriend (he then told me his employment status) caresseda loaded AR-15.   I was wishing out of the vehicle but there was no escaping. We arrived in Great Bend alive.  The couple ditched the drunk and I found myself stranded, walking in pitch black along a farming road. No idea where I was. No map.  It was raining, windy, and cold.  Five minutes later, a family grabbed me in their truck after convincing them that I was not crazy. I was mostly miserable.  A nice hispanic family invited me into their fiesta and I slept dry in the back of a guy’s truck.  I had a conversation with a shirt-off-your-back guy who had lost his job and occasionally thought about jumping off the Lyons water tower. The tower wasdecoratedwith dangling Christmas lights.  Out of Lyons, a trucker gave me a lift to Des Moines.

 Hitchhiking through the midwest in winter can be rough. I ended up buying a Greyhound bus ticket the rest of the way to Michigan.