After cycling for 146,000 km, upon my arrival to Maceio I stopped to rest and to do some time traveling. In this article, I share with you my first years in Brazil and how the idea of touring the World by bike was born. I’ll also tell you about the magic of returning to the Nova Vrajadhama farm in Pernambuco, a community of monks whose teachings and protection I take to make my dream come true.
I must admit that before arriving in Cuba, I was a guy who ignored tons about this country. Influenced by tourists’ comments and the press, almost always sensationalist, I thought that I would find an extremely poor country, of people interested, full of prostitures and against the government. but what a surprise I had travel by bicycle inside Cuba allowed me to take a completely different view.
When I came into Haiti, it was market day in Dajabon, the border city in Dominican Republic. There were thousands of Haitians crammed darted to his neighboring country hoping to achieve some sales. It was the first time in 13 years of travel around the world that I visit a country wearing escort by choice. Haiti was the first country in Latin America to achieve Independence and paradoxically, according to the UN, it is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Marc, a Haitian who studied Business Administration gave me his opinion.
For two weeks Fernando and I rode much of the country. We pedaled from Santo Domingo to Punta Cana, the tourist center of excellence for its endless white beaches and its optimal hotel infrastructure. But inland we visited populations that showed us a harsh reality.
During my stay in Puerto Rico I arrived in Vieques, where I met Carlos Prieto Ventura, leader of the fishermen and key player in the struggle against the US Navy on the island. Sat on the patio of my house he told me the dark history about Vieques and Puerto Rico.
The first thing that came into my mind when I thought of these islands was paradise: crystal clear sea, endless beaches of white sand and also inclined palm trees.I imagined its people, mostly African descendants, friendly and curious, living mainly of fishing and agriculture; and sometimes even unrelated to tourism. I believed being on a bicycle could let me get into the best places, that I could camp and enjoy fabulous sunsets, getting along with people, and make some friends. I thought that visiting these islands would be easy and wonderful.
In Bogota and Medellin I was welcomed by Camilo Rey and Carlos Carvajal, two references in the cycling of Colombia, a country characterized by its processes around the use and promotion of cycling. There, they organized a talk where I made a presentation of my trip. The Colombians are friendly, hospitable and generous people.
Beyond the tourist attractions in Venezuela, I chose to travel this place to know the reality of the Venezuelans and its country. Most of them complaint while others looking at me as a foreigner shouted me viva la revolution!
During my tour at the Colombian Caribbean I visited the Arhuaco indians who are known to possess great wisdom and mystical understanding. There I witnessed an important meeting of chiefs. Find out here which is its problematic...
Whoever hears stories about traveling the world by bike, may feel tempted to embark in such a marvellous experience, but something is always missing in these dreams. In this article I tell you my experience, together with two great travelers: Fran Camara and Pablo Garcia.