Why? I ask myself that one a lot. So far, it hasn’t gotten me anywhere to speak of in the way of results. As the question relates to the existence of this blog though, I can at least tell the story fairly easily.
Back in 2007 I hit a bit of a speed-bump in life, the kind you don’t see coming until it is really already too late to slow down or avoid it, and as a result end up with yourself, your vehicle, and your passengers suddenly airborne at seventy miles per hour, and without wings. Suffice it to say, this moment ended up being a good one in which to stop and re-assess some things.
So I did what seemed natural at the time, which was to sell my home, my car, and most of my possessions apart from a few that fit into a backpack, and then fly with said backpack to the southernmost city in the world. I guess what I should have said is, it seemed natural to me at the time. Everybody else thought I was nuts. And I wondered about it some myself, as the plane touched down in Ushuaia to the live soundtrack of an Argentine cheerleader’s squad practicing in their seats by screaming “Va-ma-nos! Va-ma-nos!”….What the hell am I doing here?
That question worked itself out though, in its own time, over the six months that followed. I got off the plane and hit a grocery store there in town, then cinched up my straps and started walking north. This general direction assumed a momentum that carried me throughout the rest of the trip. When I hit water, I fished. When I hit obstacles I couldn’t climb, I turned. And along the way I met a lot of very interesting people in a lot of very out of the way places, and shared a lot of good food, and stories, and wines with them. In between I caught a lot of fish. In some stretches I went for a week or two without seeing another living soul, and sometimes then I screamed – at the wind. I worked on farms, rode border patrols with the military, and helped to build a bridge over a canal for the only hops producing brewery in Chile. Once I even ended up performing in a circus. It was, in short, a trip. And throughout all of it when I would come across a little village or a town that possessed an internet connection, I would send home a few photos and a little bit of text to tell the family I was alive and well.
My good friend Dave Teffeteller got copied on those emails, and he published most of them online in the earlier history of this blog (see Older Posts). When I got back to the states I was surprised to find the thing had quite a following, and so I’ve kept it up over the years, which has been made easier by my moving down to Argentina to make it my home, and running the business I started here, Patagonia Unlimited. People still seem interested, so anyway here it is; hope you enjoy.
~Justin C. Witt