Staying Warm & Dry through the High Andes of South America
The French author Anaïs Nin once said,
“Life either shrinks or expands according to one’s courage.”
We couldn’t agree more.
Life has been expanding quite a bit lately.
We’re in Southern Bolivia with our bicycles and everything we need to live on the road. We’ve cycled through 11 countries and spent 19 months living and traveling on our bikes. Our goal is Patagonia; we’re about six months away.
What will happen when we finish?
You never finish a journey like this. We may return home, but the road will always be our other home, waiting for us, calling us. Beckoning us to be courageous again. Today and every day.
A journey like this changes you forever. Life will never be the same.
So much has happened since we left behind the comforts of home in 2016. We’ve had days of extraordinary accomplishment and times of despair. We’ve missed our family, our friends, the luxuries of running water, a good shower, a jar of Tahini.
We’ve camped at high altitude lakes and cactus covered deserts across Mexico. We’ve spent months pouring sweat in the middle of summer in Central America, treated to ice cold coconut water and fresh watermelon on the side of the road. We’ve cycled across hundreds of coffee plantations in Colombia. We’ve bounced around for weeks on end, climbing Ecuador’s mountains on bumpy cobblestone roads. We’ve traversed mineral-rich and wildly-colored mountains of Peru. We’ve ridden across the largest salt flat in the world in Bolivia. Chile and Argentina now await us.
It’s an amazing way to live life, taking it one day at a time, one moment at a time, and never knowing what is going to happen next. It is like being in a constant state of flow; always arriving, always leaving. The journey has presented us with numerous challenges along the way – triumphs and defeats and memories we’ll carry with us forever. Every day offers a lesson if you’re willing to be a good student – in patience, understanding, love, passion, and living life without regrets. As tough as it is sometimes, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Throughout our travels, we have learned so much about Latin America, its people, and the cultures, customs and beliefs that span the continents. We have experienced first hand the incredible hospitality of Latin Americans in every country we’ve traveled so far. “Mi casa es su casa” isn’t a cliché – the sentiment is very much alive and well.
On a journey like this, life is stripped down to its most basic, necessary elements. We are carrying only the essentials at this point, with very few luxuries. The luxuries we do have are useful and practical to life on the bikes.
Thanks to the team at Smartwool, we’ve been able to pare down our wardrobe on this trip to the bare essentials, with a few key layers that work in all types of weather we encounter. Now that we’ve been wearing nothing but wool for months, we can’t imagine living our active/outdoors life without it.
Wool has been used for centuries all over the world, a practical textile for all occasions. It is eco-friendly. It retains warmth in the cold while lighter blends breathe well in the heat. It does not hold odor or moisture like cotton or synthetics. We experience all types of environments – from high altitudes to sweltering low-lands, snow, rain, wind, heat, and so on. Our primary goal is just to be as comfortable as possible, wherever we are, and to stay dry. Smartwool has us covered!
We’ve put together a little video about our experiences so far. Check it out!