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Old 02-05-2014, 09:43 AM   #196
SeanPNW OP
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49. Rolling soon...and maybe with a 'reboot'?

I think I got into Antigua almost a month ago? Time flies, but at the same time it also doesn't. It's surprising that I've almost been here a month, but I can also definitely feel it. My package showed up in Guatemala city on Monday (thanks Kosh and Danielle!) and last time I checked, it was just waiting to clear customs. This means I'll be back on the road soon. I'm excited to get back on the bike, not knowing where I'll be staying or what each new day will bring is exciting, and oddly enough, it has grown to also be comforting. As if going back to the uncertainty of the road is like going back home, it is what feels most comfortable now, and sitting in one place with a routine and schedule has become what makes me the most uneasy. Maybe it's the feeling of freedom, or mobility, or the unknown? Whatever it is, I like it.

Having spent some time here in one spot though, I've re-thunk what I want to do next. My favorite days on this trip have been when I've been off the beaten trail, when I've been out in the rural areas, and when I've gotten to spend time with locals learning first hand about their lives. I've been lucky with the experiences I've found thus far, but what it's left me with most is a burning desire for more. A group of bicyclists came into the hostel last week, really nice guys, and had been camping in people's farms almost every single day. I think these guys have the right idea. I have all my camp gear, but haven't used it much since Mexico. I'm not really sure what my excuse is. Maybe hosteling has just been so easy, maybe I haven't come across the right places to camp, or maybe I've just been too nervous to commit to finding a place to camp each night...whatever the reason is, it's really just an excuse in my book, and I want to change that. After looking at my bank accounts I have ~$4,000 left to spend exploring. Based on my overall budget, this leaves me with 4 months of riding before I need to start thinking about how I'm going to feed my face. I want to spend at least 4-6 months in South America, so put these two situations together, and I'm left with GREAT incentive to dirt bag it more, and really make the money I have left go as far as possible. I prefer to dirt bag travel, as in my experience it leads you to learn more about the culture and communities of people that you travel through. When you travel frugally you are forced to remove the extra comforts, that while nice (like a hotel or hostel) also cost extra money, and also put up an artificial cultural buffer between you and your surroundings. For example, the only Guatemalans in the hostels I've been to, are those that work the kitchens and clean the rooms. The ratio of tourists to locals in Antigua is also pretty skewed. The effects of this change over the years can be seen in the fact that I can go to an Irish pub, eat with only foreigners, and never engage with Guatemalans all day long here if I wish.

When I first thought about how much money I have left I was saddened, "4 months?! Shit, I want more than that...I need more than that to really experience and get a 'feel' for these places." Now though, I see this as much more of an opportunity than as a limiting factor. It's an opportunity to experience more of what I really want. I'm excited about this next leg of the trip, so we'll see how it goes.

Before I leave Antigua the one thing I have left to do is climb Acatenango. Acatenango is a volcano here that sits next to another active volcano called Fuego (fire), the views are supposed to be amazing if you have a clear day/night. Acatenango is 13,044ft and is one of the more beautiful and unique piles of rock and dirt around here.


View Larger Map

It's rare to have something above 13k ft that you can climb without alpine gear, but because the weather in central america is just so god damn splendid, you can march right up to the top more or less. Yes it's cold, yes it's windy, and yes it can be a bit of a huffer, but more or less it's a walk in the park compared to other piles of rock that high in other parts of the world. The company that I've been working for specializes in extreme trips and one of their trips is an overnight hike up Acatenango. Here's there vid promoting the trip:



I want to do it solo though and on my own, as this seems like it would be much more of an experience, and would also save me money . See, the money saving necessity is already having a positive influence on what I do! I don't think I've ever been on a real volcano, and to have the opportunity to camp on one is something I just can't pass up. The other trips camp in the saddle below the summit, but Victor (my current boss and owner of the company) says that if you are spry enough you can camp right in the crater at the summit. This is what I'm gonna shoot for, ooohhhh buddy am I excited.


View Larger Map

Hoping to get up there in the next few days, and if so, maybe leave Antigua this weekend. I met a guy the day before yesterday traveling from Manitoba on his 1980 Yamaha xj650. Rad bike with tons of character. His name's James and we have similar ideas about what we want to do next, which involves camping as much as possible through to Panama. I'm planning on moving relatively quickly through the rest of central america, it's not desirable, but I'm more focused on SA right now and due to the budget I want to be able to spend my money there. I'm hoping to be loitering around a dock in Panama looking for a cheap sailboat to jump on headed for Colombia by early March. Jame's has similar plans so we'll see how it goes.

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Old 02-05-2014, 10:20 AM   #197
jfman
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Loving this report! (only on page 4 right now)


But could not help to notice that....





Looks like...

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Old 02-05-2014, 12:31 PM   #198
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Quote:
Originally Posted by When I first thought about how much money I have left I was saddened, "4 months?! Shit, I want more than that...I [I
need[/I] more than that to really experience and get a 'feel' for these places." Now though, I see this as much more of an opportunity than as a limiting factor. It's an opportunity to experience more of what I really want. I'm excited about this next leg of the trip, so we'll see how it goes.
Say - you should post somewhere to "paypal" you and buy you a drink or a night's stay.

You are traveling right - and enjoying the heck out of your report. I love that you are going off the beaten path.

I cant contribute much, but amongst the ADV family, I would think it can provide a little more than you have,

So... once you get to Ecuador - let me know. I have an extensive network of family there - and they are loco locals - just how you want them to be.
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Old 02-05-2014, 02:39 PM   #199
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See if you can peddle some of those beautiful pictures!
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Old 02-05-2014, 07:49 PM   #200
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Amazing report. Subscribed for more!
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Old 02-06-2014, 04:55 AM   #201
SeanPNW OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfman View Post
Loving this report! (only on page 4 right now)


But could not help to notice that....





Looks like...

You are not alone my friend, I thought the same, but didn't think anyone else would get the reference.

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"In life sometimes you just need to value adventure above security and comfort."
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Old 02-06-2014, 05:10 AM   #202
SeanPNW OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mopulga View Post
Say - you should post somewhere to "paypal" you and buy you a drink or a night's stay.

You are traveling right - and enjoying the heck out of your report. I love that you are going off the beaten path.

I cant contribute much, but amongst the ADV family, I would think it can provide a little more than you have,

So... once you get to Ecuador - let me know. I have an extensive network of family there - and they are loco locals - just how you want them to be.
I think I remember reading somewhere that we aren't suppose to solicit donations on here, at least I think I did ? I'll hit you up for that loco-local family hookup when I make it to Ecuador though .

Quote:
Originally Posted by upweekis View Post
See if you can peddle some of those beautiful pictures!
I have a hard enough time shooting the camera right side up, maybe I can do finger paintings of people in the street and sell those...ya know, start small in the art world and work my way up.
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Old 02-06-2014, 10:36 AM   #203
MrGoldfish
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this is awesome!
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Old 02-06-2014, 01:26 PM   #204
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Water sickness issue question

Maybe I missed it somewhere, but what have you done to keep from getting sick from the water. I know there is a lot of people out there that are scared of the water when you go south of the border, but with you living down there for so long, what have you done to stay healthy?
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Old 02-06-2014, 04:55 PM   #205
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Getting anxious!

You can go back Sean, relax or you'll miss it!
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Old 02-06-2014, 05:07 PM   #206
SeanPNW OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upweekis View Post
See if you can peddle some of those beautiful pictures!
I have a hard enough time shooting my camera right side up. Maybe I can start by selling finger paintings of people in the street...ya know, start slow and work my way up in the art world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrGoldfish View Post
Maybe I missed it somewhere, but what have you done to keep from getting sick from the water. I know there is a lot of people out there that are scared of the water when you go south of the border, but with you living down there for so long, what have you done to stay healthy?
The neanderthal in me wanted to drink the water and say "fuck it, I'll get sick for a bit then be able to drink whatever I want the rest of the time." The reasonable man-child in me opted to instead just buy water from stores. I buy a gallon at a time and just fill up my CamelBak, drink from that whether I'm riding or not. Because the water is thought to be shite (no pun intended) down here there is plenty of purified water available. The locals seem to drink purified stuff as well most of the time. Real cheep too.

Since your question probably extends to getting sick in general, I am proud to say that I haven't had any sickness yet, and it's definitely not due to avoiding the questionable places. In fact I subscribe to the opposite philosophy, I like to keep my immune system and stomach on a rigorous 'exercise' schedule, so it is strong and prepared. I eat questionable things on the reg, eat in the streets, and am probably not the cleanest person by most peoples standards (showering is overrated on the road in the middle of nowhere). I believe you can prevent sickness in 2 ways, you can either run from it at every corner, only eat in the (seemingly) cleanliest of westernized places, antibacterial everything you encounter, and avoid human interaction like the plague....OR....you can be smart about it, prepare yourself, and face it head on. Before you go somewhere abroad, start taking your leftovers from the restaurant and leave them out on the counter rather than in the fridge, go ahead and eat them the next day, you'll be fine. Go eat in the international district, go hunt out amazing street food, don't worry about washing your hands every time you step off the public bus. Go play outdoors in the dirt and then eat a fat delicious man-sandwich which your grimy man-hands. When you go hiking, pack that cheese and salami, don't worry about bringing the ice-pack, and eat that glorious concoction the next day for your mid morning snack. Revel in the fact that your immune system is now a lean mean killing machine in top physical form, not an emaciated shell of it's real abilities.

It's dirty in developing countries, and it's harder to avoid the bad stuff. Do a bit to prepare yourself in advance and you'll be less limited and better able to enjoy it's world in the future.
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Old 02-06-2014, 05:09 PM   #207
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You can go back Sean, relax or you'll miss it!
Definitely good advice. Something I try to keep in mind. It'll only be bad if you make it bad by worrying or rushing.
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Old 02-06-2014, 05:15 PM   #208
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeanPNW View Post
I believe you can prevent sickness in 2 ways, you can either run from it at every corner, only eat in the (seemingly) cleanliest of places westernized places, antibacterial everything you encounter, and avoid human interaction like the plague....OR....you can be smart about it, prepare yourself, and face it head on. Before you go somewhere abroad, start taking your leftovers from the restaurant and leave them out on the counter rather than in the fridge, go ahead and eat them the next day, you'll be fine. Go eat in the international district, go hunt out amazing street food, don't worry about washing your hands every time you step off the public bus. Go play outdoors in the dirt and then eat a fat delicious man-sandwich which your grimy man-hands. When you go hiking, pack that cheese and salami, don't worry about bringing the ice-pack, and eat that glorious concoction the next day for your mid morning snack. Revel in the fact that your immune system is now a lean mean killing machine in top physical form, not an emaciated shell of it's real abilities.
I agree 100%
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Old 02-06-2014, 09:24 PM   #209
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Originally Posted by jfman View Post
I agree 100%

Yes. Well answered SeanPNW.
Orson Welles'. "War of the Worlds" outcome is based on this. Much to my wife's chagrin, it's a discipline I've always practiced.


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Old 02-07-2014, 07:45 AM   #210
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeanPNW View Post
The neanderthal in me wanted to drink the water and say "fuck it, I'll get sick for a bit then be able to drink whatever I want the rest of the time." The reasonable man-child in me opted to instead just buy water from stores. I buy a gallon at a time and just fill up my CamelBak, drink from that whether I'm riding or not. Because the water is thought to be shite (no pun intended) down here there is plenty of purified water available. The locals seem to drink purified stuff as well most of the time. Real cheep too.

Since your question probably extends to getting sick in general, I am proud to say that I haven't had any sickness yet, and it's definitely not due to avoiding the questionable places. In fact I subscribe to the opposite philosophy, I like to keep my immune system and stomach on a rigorous 'exercise' schedule, so it is strong and prepared. I eat questionable things on the reg, eat in the streets, and am probably not the cleanest person by most peoples standards (showering is overrated on the road in the middle of nowhere). I believe you can prevent sickness in 2 ways, you can either run from it at every corner, only eat in the (seemingly) cleanliest of westernized places, antibacterial everything you encounter, and avoid human interaction like the plague....OR....you can be smart about it, prepare yourself, and face it head on. Before you go somewhere abroad, start taking your leftovers from the restaurant and leave them out on the counter rather than in the fridge, go ahead and eat them the next day, you'll be fine. Go eat in the international district, go hunt out amazing street food, don't worry about washing your hands every time you step off the public bus. Go play outdoors in the dirt and then eat a fat delicious man-sandwich which your grimy man-hands. When you go hiking, pack that cheese and salami, don't worry about bringing the ice-pack, and eat that glorious concoction the next day for your mid morning snack. Revel in the fact that your immune system is now a lean mean killing machine in top physical form, not an emaciated shell of it's real abilities.

It's dirty in developing countries, and it's harder to avoid the bad stuff. Do a bit to prepare yourself in advance and you'll be less limited and better able to enjoy it's world in the future.
Good to know.

Ok, back to the show! You are on in 3............ 2........... 1............
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