What Am I Doing Here?

There were previously big projects. A journey to Ushuaia. Then a journey over the Paso Los Libertadores. Now there is the emptiness that follows their completion. I sit in a dirty hostel in Mendoza listening to Europeans strum guitars, drink beer, make plans for dinners and clubs and talk of coming bus rides to other cities where they will do it all over again. I belong to the mountains and long roads, the camping in the high hills, the quiet nights looking up at the foreign constellations from my tent window, the wind quieted, and I am never alone. But here in a city with no project for my body, I am alone. I am not ready to begin the sitting and writing I plan to do. The tent, the stove, the gear is all useless. It is desolation.

At least in Ushuaia I could camp, and I camped with others who had traveled very far to where the road had ended. There was nothing filthy about them. They were only honorable, because men who go long distances on the road have honor. We could communicate where we had been and what we had learned and we were comrades. But here, with these pleasure-seekers and vacationers it is emptiness and we share nothing. They come quickly to a country and see its cities in a few weeks time and return to jobs and girlfriends and boyfriends and security. It makes me miserable to share their air, to sit near them, to hear their conversations. It is a mistake to have gotten off the bike. I have stopped riding too early. I must discover a new project. There is somewhere to go, somewhere far away and difficult to ride to and I will go there. I will be happily alone again. Only riding alone can take it out of me.

1 comment:

  1. Ruta 40 from Mendoza to Calafate. Then Ruta 68 to Salta. That is what will be done. Ripio and river crossings carrying the bicycle on my back. Abandoned indian ruins you can camp within. Ascents up into the foothills of the Andes. The zonda blowing down upon me.


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