My Ground Truth

Psychologist | Mindfulness Trainer | Leadership Coach | Carsten J. Grimm

Filtering by Category: Travel writing

The Buenos Aires to Santiago Transition

Week two in Buenos Aires is not the same as week one in Buenos Aires. For one thing there’s the change in hostel, which while not being a change in neighbourhood is nevertheless a change in pace, allowing the nights to regain their natural duration and for me to refocus on learning Espanol. Cue in Matias my spanish tutor, a guy who was as funny as he was insightful into language acquisition. I learned that there are tutors who love it and tutors who do it, which led me to walk out on one guy 2/3 the way through the lesson when I still couldn't figure out what-the-fuck he was saying to me in his thick region-specific del Plata accent. 

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Chapter Two: The Chilean search

When you're going to expedition-motorcycle across an entire continent it's best to have a very good idea about bikes. Like what condition of servicing is your bike in, how to service it yourself, and how to carry out minor repairs for when you're lost and isolated and potentially hundreds of miles away from the nearest mechanical support. Things of that nature. Things, that at the start of this adventure, I knew nothing about.  

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Providence

Things you take for granted when you're not on the road #47: Your own room. And having the dorm-room to yourself for a night doesn’t even come close to scratching that itch. So when I check-in to Break Point Hostel in the wine-growing region of Mendoza with the two Canadian-kids from the overnight bus-ride and discover there is a tiny-but-solo-room off one of the dorms, do you think I snap it up? Do I what. Ah the simple luxury of being able to spread out your stuff in fearless-of-robbery-abandon.

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Looking Good on Paper

Getting out of town through a foreign city's incomprehensible one-way-grids can prove problematic when you haven't invested in a GPS and you're relying on your pre-departure map-study. Which is where I rediscover some of my old favourite lessons from being on the Royal New Zealand Air Force's pilot's course in my youth; Proper pre-sortie-planning-prevents-piss-poor-performance. Roger that! It takes me a while to get used to a bike as big as Aroha having only ridden 250s in the past. Add all the extra weight of my gear I'm just not used to it and it makes me nervous plus loaded up Aroha’s so top heavy that if while I’m stopped she leans over just a little bit too far I can’t stop both her and I from toppling over. Getting back upright again takes two or three people.

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Getting to Bolivia

With getting my paperwork sorted comes the itch to get going and to get north. Large days in the saddle push me through a string of towns on the northbound-gringo-Argentina-Bolivia-trail; Catamarca, Cafayate, and Salta. And with increasing northness comes increasing altitude and barrenness, rock desert landscapes with tenuous micro-climates and their tenuously irrigated vineyards. The going is made challenging by my too-top-heavy loading of Aroha, it’s an issue, and I’m really not happy to push into the unknown dirt-roads of Bolivia with this current set-up. I need to sort some panniers and get a rack welded-up for it all to sit lower on the bike and have a lower centre-of-gravity. I need to get myself prepared for what I know is coming. 

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