The Big Trip III : American Hustle

2 years, 9 months. That’s a long time to have itchy feet and do nothing about them. 33 months of working in Aberdeen, playing rugby, drinking lots of good beer, maximising weekends in Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, taking root in Cineworld with my magic red card and getting hairy. But despite all the laughs and the sunny pints on the Marine Harbour wall, the feet kept itching. A scratch wouldn’t do, a healthy dose of verruca-busting liquid nitrogen wouldn’t even do, no – the only prescription to placate my pediatric predicament was to do something drastic. So I bought a one-way ticket to Alaska.

And so did G! So come September, we’ll be winging our way to Anchorage, which will act like Edinburgh in 2008 and Shanghai in 2011 as our official starting block for a grand adventure. This one, I believe, will be the longest yet, taking us overland through the Canadian tundra, the American West, the Mexican…crime scenes?, the Panama Canal, the Columbian foothills, the Peruvian big hills, the Chilean mountains and finally the very southern-most teet of Argentina, Tierra Del Fuego. The same rules will apply from our previous endeavours – no planes allowed…well that’s the only rule actually. The same aim will also apply, which is some foggy quasi-hippy posturing for broadened horizons and inner peace, which translates to making friends and saying yes a lot.

I’m very happy that G is joining me on this quest as we haven’t seen a lot of each other in the intervening years since India. This means we won’t be sick of each other by the time we disembark the plane in Alaska, in fact we should have rather a lot to catch up on. G’s farming endeavours mean that (weather permitting) he’ll have a good potato harvests worth of dosh under his straw hat, making me the pauper this time around. Last time I was granted a very generous bonus by my school in Shanghai – in cash – and became something like his personal bank on legs. I look forward to him returning the favour!

The whole trip should take 7 months in all, tip to toe. It’s all pretty vague logistically, which is how we like it, but G has given some misty nod to motorbiking down Chile, while I’ve drawn a big red circle round the Galapagos Islands (on a map I’d like to add). I’ve also got some friends in California who I’m really looking forward to seeing, while G no doubt is eyeing up the cheaper climbs of South America like the thrifty stinge-merchant he truly is.

So just 3 months and a bit to save the pennies, get the jabs, learn fluent Spanish and practice my motor biking skills. First thing’s first though – it’s beautiful outside, time to enjoy the Scottish summer!


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