As this is my first blog post I’ll introduce my pseudonym, Vagamundo. It’s not actually a word but is a Spanish hybrid construction from these words- vaga (adj) lazy; vagabundo (n.) vagabond, wanderer; mundo (n) the world. So, this is the diary of a lazy wanderer roaming the globe……
Travels with Vagamundo
I embarked on my first overseas trip in 1982 and over the last 25 years I’ve travelled in over 70 countries. I’m drawn to those places which have rich indigenous cultures and wild and remote landscapes, particularly mountain environments. I usually travel rough and try to explore off the beaten track. In the 1980’s and 1990’s I spent almost 7 years on the road, backpacking on six continents and trekking in wild terrain. Since a climbing accident in 2001, I’ve rediscovered the joys of cycling and now all my expeditions are by bicycle - or ‘rough road touring’ as I like to call it.
Travel- the Incurable Disease
It’s often difficult to describe wanderlust and the incessant desire to travel to unknown territories. I think the Polish traveller/correspondent Ryszard Kapuscinski summed it up perfectly in Travels with Herodotus (2007) –
“A journey, after all, neither begins in the instant we set out, nor ends when we have reached our doorstep once again. It starts much earlier and is really never over, because the film of memory continues running on inside of us long after we have come to a physical standstill. Indeed, there exists something like a contagion of travel, and the disease is essentially incurable”.
Vagabonding down the Andes
This is the title of a book published in 1917 and written by an American traveller, Harry Franck. After a stint as a Panama Canal Zone policeman he walked from Bogota to Buenos Aires following the Andes. He was armed with a revolver and a Kodak camera (complete with a developing tank in his pack) and dressed in khaki and hob nailed mining boots. I’ll partly follow his footsteps 90 years later..except my journey will be by bicycle, and I’ll attempt to follow the spine of the Andean cordillera for its entire length, without touching any coastline. The bike ride will take about a year, covering over 10,000kms and spanning 66 degrees in latitude. I’ll set off in early Feb 2008 from the Caribbean coast of Colombia and reach my destination, Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego in early 2009. The journey will encompass six countries – Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina & Chile. My experiences in and observations of these places will be recorded here on this blog.
By the way, the subtitle Along the Andes by Blog is ripped off from an episode from the hilarious TV series Ripping Yarns when an intrepid traveler embarked on an amazing expedition, Across the Andes by Frog.