Resilience

“It’s not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”
Sir Edmund Hillary

I was recently listening to a podcast on  artofmanliness.com discussing the topic of the resilience of the human mind. I will not directly comment on the podcast so if you want to know what they talk about you can listen to it by clicking on the link above.

The point is that it made me reflect on resilience in my life, and how resilience is developed and strengthened in many ways by a life on the road.

What can we gain out of  life on the road?

I think most of the time that people encounter some sort of adversity in their lives it is as a result of feeling thrown off balance, due to an unexpected change in their lives, work, or relationships; even smaller things such as being offended at someone because of an unexpected reaction or lack of reaction than the one expected are at the base of this adversity or problems in our daily lives.
The thing that marks the difference is how we react to these situations. It is our capacity to regain our balance quickly after the initial knock.

So what about the road?

The road can be a good teacher. It can instill in us certain qualities that are necessary to thrive in life. In any kind of life.
Most of us at one point or another have been comfortable in a certain routine which gives us a sense of security. It can be a house we’ve been living in, a city which we grew up in and can’t seem to move from, a good permanent job, a relationship, a group of friends, etc. It is our little emotional fort into which we retreat from the dangers of insecurity.

The road on the other hand provides none or very little of the above. Changing landscapes, meeting new people, finding a place to sleep, looking for subsistence for the day, the unknown fills the day on the road.

This daily unknown, this daily struggle to stay on your feet can translate itself back in a regular life to a strengthened ability to be resilient.

As in everything else, experience is what makes us grow. So naturally a person who has experienced lots of adversity will become more resilient overall.
Life on the road is a kind of adversity which can help us in developing resilience in other areas of our lives. When on the road, you embrace this adversity, you see it as a challenge to overcome. You accept the adversity. And this is difference. This is why people who travel can often feel that they grew as a person even though many times they cannot exactly identify how.

In my experience, the road has taught me many of these lessons. Growing up in so many different place, travelling from one place to the other, studying abroad, living on the road, hitch hiking, challenging myself physically, learning new languages, making new friends, saying goodby to friends and family, all this has instilled in me a certain calmness when it comes to unexpected events, a sort of mentality that accepts the facts as they happen, not struggling against the fact that they happened but simply looking for a way to triumph and become a better person in spite of and because of it.

But the fact is you don’t need to live on the road to increase your resilience.
Even simply moving from once city to another, marrying, changing careers, finishing a university degree, etc can build up this resilience. We all face challenges in our lives.
The difference is accepting the adversity.
Facing it.
Standing up to the challenge and becoming a stronger person because of it.

So whenever you are faced with an unexpected inbalance in your life, embrace it as a challenge, knowing that you will be stronger because of it. Don’t let it take you down.

If you are now on the road, take note of the challenges you face and how you confront them, and resolve that when you are not on the road you will face your challenges in the same manner.

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Resilience.

We often seem to think we have none. Our way of life has accustomed us to ease. Our social media shows us what we like to see. Our society has taught us that we must be offended if people disagree with us.

But the truth is that we are all much more resilient than we think we are. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said:

“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.”

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Three Day Challenge: Mt. Gosford

“May your dreams be larger than mountains
and may you have the courage to scale their summits.”
―Harley King

Huddled in our blankets, we stared outside the window as the sun was rising. The third mountain of our challenge lay somewhere over the trees, the tallest of the three at 1180m.

As soon as we could see enough we packed our sleeping gear and prepared a breakfast consisting of oats, a banana each plus a slice of bread with peanut butter. The hike to the top was approximately 7km , and with the days shortening we had to get there in time to return before nightfall. So we put our backpacks on and started walking towards the mountain.

Mt. Gosford

At first we followed a road that led toward the base of the mountain, and after 3km we started walking on a trail that slowly went up the side of the mountain.

The day was overcast again, althought it was not snowing. We could not see the top of the mountain as it was covered by a thick cloud.

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For the first couple of kilometers the trail seemed to be a creek, it was covered in pebbles and water. Sometimes the snow covered the trail and we would unxpectedly find our feet stuck in mud. It was slow progress and the trail sometimes went up and sometimes down.

The trail then takes a sharp turn upwards and starts going up the mountain in a snake like pattern but still quite steep. The air gets colder, but we do not feel it due to the effort of climbing.

The silence in the mountains was broken only by our occasional chatter, but even then we walked mostly in silence, absorbing the beauty of the scenery. As we progressed upwards, the trees become slimmer, the snow and ice stick to all surfaces forming eerie figures in our way.

Pretty soon the trees not only got slimmer, but smaller as well, they looked like clusters of ice crumpled on the side of the mountain fully covered in their icy prison until spring. We could feel that we were close to the top but couldn’t see anything due to the clouds. We started seeing a great quantity of rabbit tracks near the top. At one point the snow was so deep we kind of lost track of the trail so we followed the rabbits which led us on the right way. Suddenly the small trees cleared and we saw the rocky summit of Mt. Gosford!

Only frozen rocks separated us from the few steps till the summit. Once again, we could only imagine the valley below because all we saw was white all around.

We took a couple of pictures and started to make our way back. We decided to return through another trail which we hoped would be less steep and would not imply walking on a creek, the only downside is that this one was 9km long. The descent was less steep although we did cross a few creeks, but generally this trail was much easier than the other. We stopped at a lean-to refuge to eat and rest a bit before continuing down.

My feet were starting to hurt more, ever since yesterday I had some bllisters forming on my big toes and now they were really bothering me. On the way up there is not much pressure on the toes, but now each step was additional pressure on the blisters. After a few kilometers we reached the bottom of the mountain and joined a road that led to the entrance of the ZEC about 4 or 5km away.

We reached the car around 3pm with approximately 1 hour of daylight to spare. We loaded up the car and headed back to civilization. That evening we drove back to Montreal, tired and dirty but happy.

The mountains may take alot of  energy to climb but what they take in sweat and effort they give back in happiness and satisfaction, and I may venture to say that they also give another type of energy, one that you can take back to the city with you…

In colnclusion I would like to encourage anybody who reads this to go out to nature, take a challenge, make the effort, invest the energy. You will come out refreshed, you will build your confidence, you will discover your abilities both mental and physical, and step by step you will grow and be able to tackle bigger challenges next time.

And never forget to wear proper clothing for the activity you choose! It is the difference between a cold and miserable trip that can end badly and a challenging but enjoyable adventure.

Until next time!

Three Day Challenge: Mt. Megantic

“Bad weather always looks worse through a window”
-Unknown

Waking up in a sleeping bag curled up in the back of your car can mean two things: you are either homeless or you are up to some awseome adventure, or both…

Last night after climbing down Mt. Orford we had a warm soup and then we curled into our sleeping bags for some well earned rest. This morning as the sun rose up we drove about an hour further east towards Mount Megantic National Park.

Mt. Megantic houses one of the most important astronomical observatories in North America, and the surrounding area has even been designated as the first international Dark-sky Reserve.

Upon arrival we had breakfast at the reception building and then proceeded to walk up the trail. It had snowed all night and there was still a light snowfall, so the trail was covered in a thick layer of fresh powdery snow.

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We saw many Moose tracks crossing the trail and sometimes following the trail for a while. We walked quietly hoping to catch a glimpse of this iconic animal. We also saw a few deer tracks. It was good to see so much animal activity.

A little further up the trail two Gray Jays flew over us, looking at us intently, their heads tilted to the side. We offered them some of our trail mix, and soon a dozen Jays were flying in and scooping up the grains off our hands. We had a snack with them as well and then kept going up.

As we progressed up the mountain, we seemed to be walking up into a cloud, and a light snow seemed to continuously cover us in a thin layer of white powder. The trees also no longer had snow accumulate on top of them, but actually sticking to the sides as well. We started to enter an otherwordly scenery.

The cold intensified as the wind crept in between the trees. Soon we reached the top, on which stands the astronomical observatory. The visibility was terrible, with strong winds racing across the summit blowing up the fine snow off the ground.

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We didn’t stay long before starting to make our way down the road to find a refuge. After unsuccesfully trying an adjacent building we soon found a refuge close to the top.

Here we lit the firestove, dried some clothes and ate a warm soup and dried fruits to refill our bodies in warmth and energy. While the outside was a blanket of white, inside we were warm and cozy. It would make a nice place to spend the night…
Regardless, we had to get back out again and start our way back. I had some blisters starting to form, so my feet hurt slightly but we made good progress and arrived back to the car before nightfall.

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We decided to head out to Mt. Gosford that evening in order to start the climb early the next morning. The road was slippery and dark, and after looking around we finally arrived to the Mt. Gosford ZEC, which is at the end of a long back road, which at night seems to lead to nowhere. Here we parked our car under some trees, lighted up our coleman stove and had another soup before going to sleep…

Tomorrow we climb the tallest of the three mountains Mt. Gosford.

Three Day Challenge: Mt. Orford

“You never climb a mountain on accident, it has to be intentional”
-Mark Udall

The fall is coming to its end here in Canada, winter approaching ever surely. The changing season means a different way to interact with nature, it changes the rules of the game.  With the cold, you cannot be careless because it is less forgiving than warm weather.

I had a few days off, and once again my wife and I decided to go out on a short adventure. This time we decided to go out trekking. We decided on three different mountains. Mount Orford, Mount Megantic and Mount Gosford; 850m, 1 102m, and 1 193m of elevation respectively. Mt. Gosford being the highest in southern Quebec.

It was supposed to be another fall adventure, but as things turned out the weekend prior to our little escapade, winter made its appearance in Canada. We prepared our clothing accordingly and we set out on a snowy monday morning out of Montreal. Our first destination was Mount Orford National Park in the Eastern Townships region of Quebec.

After parking at the entrance of the Park, we walked 2km towards the base of the ski resort where a trail to the summit started. The wind was blowing and a light snow was falling. As we were walking we suddenly noticed a deer, right beside us on the side of the road, quietly eating and looking at us curiously. It even took the time to take a selfie with us before we parted ways.

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Arriving at the base of the mountain we started up a road to the top. Being on the road we were more exposed to the wind and snow, but as we slowly went up the mountain our bodies start producing more heat and soon the cold is hardly an obstacle.

As we climbed the scenery changed, the wind was stronger and the snow seemed to cling to all the vegetation. The rocks were covered in icicles, and the trees were covered in a thick crust of snow and ice giving it all an otherwordly appearance.

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Soon we reached the summit. The snowstorm was now blowing in full force with the wind gusting between 15 and 20kts. We had reached the summit, but there was no view to greet us, only more snow.

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We didn’t stay long at the summit before starting our way down on one of the ski slopes, even more exposed to the wind. We were now starting to look like the trees, covered in a layer of frozen snow. I have always loved being outside on a snowstorm, it is awe inspiring; you are surrounded by white all around and feel like in a bubble, and although the wind howls there seems to be a silence prevalent in the air, all is silent when the wind speaks.

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We then diverted into a trail in the wood, the “summit trail”, where we continued our exploration. The trail was covered in a fresh layer of snow making it difficult to identify the rocks and roots on the trail. We climbed up a ridge and then descended into a small valley following a stream bed almost completely covered in snow. After about an hour we turned back in order to arrive back to our car before nightfall. The disadvantage of November is that the sun sets around 4:30 pm so the days are short.

We returned to the ski slope and continued down the mountain, as we descended we gradually got out of the cloud that was covering the mountain, we emerged looking like we were from the set of the Revenant, ice hanging onto our clothing and faces. But we were happy, it was a nice day and we enjoyed the first serious snowstorm of this winter.

We continued 2km till we reached the car and after brushing off all the snow we headed off to find a good place to spend the night car camping. Tomorrow we have our second challenge: Mount Megantic.

To be continued…

On the Road: Biking

“When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments. Here was a machine of precision and balance for the convenience of man. And (unlike subsequent inventions for man’s convenience) the more he used it, the fitter his body became. Here, for once, was a product of man’s brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it, and of no harm or irritation to others. Progress should have stopped when man invented the bicycle.
~Elizabeth West, Hovel in the Hills

 

On a cloudy, drizzly October morning, we strapped our bags onto the bikes.

The temperature was cool, around 8°C, with intermittent rain. I had a few days off work and we had decided to go on an adventure. We wanted to try out cyclotourism, that is biking around and camping wherever night fell. Rain seemed to be prevasive all across the province of Quebec for the whole week, nonetheless, and hoping for better weather, we put on our raincoats and started pedaling under the rain…

Hallam Murray describes bicycle transport as:
Weight for weight the cyclist uses less energy to cover a given distance than even the superbly constructed salmon or dolphin, not to mention birds, the great cats, the motor car, or any form of jet or rocket engine. The bicycle is simply the most versatile vehicle known to humans…It can be ridden, carried by almost every other form of transport from an aeroplane to a canoe, and can even be lifted across one’s shoulders over short distances.”

Add to that the fact that the only fuel needed is you own food, it turns out to be a quite inexpensive method of travelling.

So we decided to go to the Portneuf region northwest of the Quebec city region and set out on our bikes. After a few kilometers down the road we arrived to the town of Ste-Catherine de la Jacques Cartier where a biking trail passes. We crossed the imposing river and found the trail and followed it towards the north. The autumn was in full swing, showing off its majestic scenery full of colours and shades.

After a while the rain started to pour down on us as we kept pedaling. We passed by the beautiful Lac Sergeant without stopping. Soon our feet were drenched and our bodies started to cool in spite of the physical exhertion.

Arriving to St-Raymond

Arriving to St-Raymond

Around 10:30am we arrived to the town of St-Raymond, a very scenic village in the county of Portneuf. It is the doorway to the Vallée Bras du Nord (Arm of the North Valley) which was one of our destinaitons. We stopped at the local Tim Horton’s to drink some coffee and dry up a bit while the rain passed. While social media has been reponsible for the rise in popularity with outdoor sports and travelling, it is often portrayed as all smiles, exciting, glamorous, hip, inspirational. And in reality it often lacks a lot of those elements, in fact often it is quite the opposite. Today was such a day. Cold and wet.

Around 1pm the rain stopped and the cloud ceiling seemed to rise a little bit. We decided to keep going towards the north, to reach Riviere a Pierre about 53km from there.
Without the rain everything soon becomes so vibrant and you can truly appreciate all the colours of the autumn. There are red leaves, yellow leaves, and even orange leaves, and all the colours in between. We crossed rivers, rolled past beautiful pastures and admired the overlooking mountains.

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When we arrived to St-Leonard de Portneuf the forest opened up into wide and large, rolling fields where cows were grazing, the colourful mountains and hills in the distance keeping watch over the peaceful valley.

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After passing the pastures and the farms the trail goes back into the forest, slowly making progress up the sides of the mountains. It is as if the leaves surround the trail on all sides, even covering the ground, their crunching sound breaking the silence as our bikes rolled over them. The air was fresh, but our bodies kept warm by the exhertion.

We stopped by the Chutes de l’Ours (Bear falls) amid a picturesque scenery of Canada’s finest.

Further up the road we found a peculiar rock. It was aptly named the ‘Rock bridge’ as it arched over a small stream, forming a perfectly natural rock bridge.

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We kept pressing forward, wanting to reach Riviere a Pierre before nightfall; we had covered around 50km but were still about 20km short of reaching the small town famed for its granite rock. We passed an amazing spot to camp overnight, with a beautiful view over a small lake; it was perfect. But we wanted to reach our objective so we kept going forward. We finally reached the town around 5pm with about 30-40min of daylight to spare. We reached the end of the biking trail and found the only camping spot protected from the rain was basically besides a street facing into a couple of houses. We decided to try and reach the camping spot we had seen earlier about 15km back before any rain reached us. We managed to bike about 1 or 2km before a few raindrops started to fall. We wisely decided to go back again into the town rather than spend a wet night.

We put our tent up under the roof of the little refuge (there are small roofed refuges about every 10km along the bike trail) just as the rain started to pour down stronger than ever. It would continue like that all through the first half of the night. We heated up our noodle soup, giving us some much given warmth back to our bodies. Soon afterwards we fell soundly asleep.

Early in the morning we prepared our oats for breakfast, packed up our gear and quickly went our way back unto the trail, heading back towards St-Raymond. The day was warmer and ocasionally sunny so we were able to better enjoy the views we had seen the day before, making stops along a lake, and along a farm to feed a friendly horse that came to see us.

Soon we reached St-Raymond once again. We stopped to eat and then went our way towards the Vallée Bras-du-Nord. This time there were no bike trails, just the road. We had to climb a few hills and go down others on the way to the valley. And soon we arrived to the majestiv valley through which meanders the Bras du Nord river. We went to the Cantin entrance and went on the opposite side of the river towards the base of the escarpment.

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Bras du Nord Valley

We found an abandoned silo where we left our bikes to go hike up the mountain. We climbed up amid the yellow trees up a winding and escarped trail. We wanted to reach the top and climb back down before nightfall. After an hour and a half of climbing we reached a small vantage point from where we could see the valley below.

After climbing back down we walked by the river with its calm waters and cristaline look which seemed to be playing tricks with our vision. We then prepared to go to sleep in the abandonned silo, using pine pranches as our mattress we made ourselves comfortable in our little cave and enjoyed our supper supplemented by our homemade energy bars.
A soup after a long day out in the cold is thoroughly enjoyable.

After the soup we peeked outside and we were astounded at the beauty of the sky. Out here in the valley there are no lights to obstruct the view of the starry sky. Looking through the branches it seemed as if thousands of lights were shining among the trees, as we moved to a nearby field we saw the sky in all its splendor. Stars innumerable, so bright we could not distinguish the constellations, the Milky Way stretching across the night sky…

Standing under such greatness will definitely make you feel small.

In the morning, after a quick and nutritious breakfast we packed our bags and headed out in the morning mist into the valley.

Morning mist

Morning mist

The view, combined with the crisp cold morning air, combined to make the most wonderful scenery: Horses grazing on a hill, mist hazily floating above a farm, the mountains standing guard on both sides of the valley…this qualifies as a piece of paradise.

The weather forecast was announcing a full three days of nonstop rain and possibly snow so we decided to cut our trip short. Today we would cycle back to Ste-Catherine de la Jacques Cartier. We followed the St-Anne River till we arrived back in St-Raymond and then we continued on the bike trail through the autumn colours back to Ste-Catherine.

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We arrived in the early afternoon, sorted our equipment and dried the tent, took a well deserved shower and ate some delicious fish tacos.

It was a great trip, even though in the end it was shorter than planned, but we definitely enjoyed it. Biking is a great way to travel light, cover a lot of ground and actually see things. As Edward Abbey said: “You can’t see anything from a car, you’ve got to get out of the goddamn contraption…”

I encourage all to go out, try biking, try camping, hiking, canoeing, whatever you would like that maybe you haven’t tried yet. Do it. You have two days off? Go out. If you have a dream trip that you would like to do, start by going out whenever you can, and as explorer Bernard Voyer once told me: “stop talking about your trip and do it.”

Happy on the road

Happy on the road

 

“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.”
-J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

The praise of silence

“Silence is praise to You” – Psalm 65:2

The next morning we set out again to the road. We decided not to prolong our stay in Oaxaca and to continue towards the coast.

Heading out towards the mountains

Heading out towards the mountains

Having before us two options to the coast, we opted for the less direct route but one which is easier on the engine, the option with less ups and downs. Nonetheless if you are travelling on Mexico’s West Coast there is no escaping the mountains.

So we headed south-west towards the coastal city of Salina Cruz.

But first we had planned a stop in a small spot along the way. A place called Hierve el Agua (Water boils) located among the mountains of Oaxaca. Here mineral waters come out of the rock and form natural pools. The pools the overflow down a precipice and mineral sediment forms along the walls of the precipice.

Annapurna on the road

Annapurna on the road

We went off the highway and up a small winding road that eventually led us to a small rural village. There we picked up 4 tourists that were on their way to Hierve el Agua. We payed the 25 pesos fee (about 2 dollars US) and soon we were admiring the wonderful scenery that was displayed in front of us.

Hierve el Agua

Hierve el Agua

The wind was lowing and the air was cool. When the water comes out of the spring it comes out warm, but then as is flows on the rocks towards the pool, the cool air of the sierra cools the water, so the water is cold, but it is definitely worth bathing there and enjoying the magnificent view.

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After enjoying for a couple of hours the water pools and the view we went back to the kombi and prepared supper. Afterwards we went walking on the trails in the sierra to observe the sun setting on the valley below. We sat on a rock while the last rays of the sun spread their golden beams across the valley. As we sat there I understood the psalmist when he said “Silence is Praise to You”.

The last of the sun's rays

The last of the sun’s rays

Many thousands of years ago, a Hebrew poet probably sat on a hill overlooking a valley and uttered these words. Words which sometimes in our fast paced lives we cannot grasp until we sit and admire the marvels of the world. To understand the poet, one must be in a similar position, and then the message shines cristal clear. Here we sat and praised the Creator in silence.

The best praise is silence

The best praise is silence

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Soon darkness covered the valley and before long we were witnesses of another spectacle of nature: the starry sky. The vast and black expanse of space above covered by luminous stars too many to count. One is then overwhelmed by a feeling of smallness.

We then retired to our kombi where we huddled under the blankets and kept admiring the shinning stars until our eyelids betrayed us and we soon fell into a deep and repairing sleep.

The next morning we got up before the sunrise and went out again to admire the valley as the sun rose and shone its rays on the valley again. This spectacle was as marvellous as the sunset, and soon we felt the sun’s rays warm our cheeks and chase the cold morning air away.

Sunrise on the valley

Sunrise on the valley

We then had breakfast and prepared ourselves for another day on the road. A new day for us, new challenges, new discoveries, new life renewed every morning.

A new day

A new day

“And if these mountains had eyes, they would wake to find two strangers in their fences, standing in admiration as a breathing red pours its tinge upon earth’s shore. These mountains, which have seen untold sunrises, long to thunder praise but stand reverent, silent so that man’s weak praise should be given God’s attention.”
-Donald Miller

Back to the Open Road

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – Lao Tzu

On a sunny Sunday morning, we got up to pack our VW Kombi. We put the heavy stuff up on the rack, covered it up with a tarp and tied it down.

The feeling in the air was full of emotion. We felt the onset of a new adventure, we were at the doorstep ready to step out into the open road. The family felt the emotion of a departure, of a farewell.

Ready to hit the road

Ready to hit the road

We went on to have breakfast with the whole family before leaving. With high emotion my wife’s family bid her farewell and then we got onto our Kombi, ignited the engine and off we went into the city’s traffic.

Our dreamed route is to leave Mexico city and head south towards the Pacific Coast and then head north along the coastline. Our mode of transportation is Annapurna our 1979 Volkswagen Kombi. We named her after the 10th highest mountain in the world and the first of the 14 eight-thousander to be summited. Thus we named our Kombi after her, because she is to be our first dream to be reached, yet she is not the highest.

Thus we hit the road: open, unmarked and free.

Thus we hit the road: open, unmarked and free.

Thus we hit the road: open, unmarked and free.

We left the city heading towards Puebla. We got stuck in long traffic lines until we reached the hills, then we started up and down winding roads leading towards Puebla. Annapurna’s small 1600cc engine roared up the hills, slowly taking her load forward.

After sundown we reached Puebla where we were kindly hosted by our friends Isaí and Pao.

At Puebla's Ferrywheel

At Puebla’s Ferrywheel

The next morning we headed out to the highway again, this time towards the city of Oaxaca, capital of the state by the same name.

Soon we entered a mountainous region, with lots of hills and winding roads. The mountains were covered with large cactuses resembling trees. We stopped frequently to rest the tired engine.

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Sometime in the afternoon we saw two bikes on the side of the road, two travellers were resting. We pulled over the side of the road and greeted them. They were the Philtrons, a couple that is travelling the continent on their bikes. They left Alaska 7 months ago and are headed south towards Argentina.

With the Philtrons

With the Philtrons

We spent a few minutes chatting and sharing travel stories and then we wished each other luck and parted ways. The traveller is often misunderstood by people, people who are perplexed by that desire to go out and endure difficulties and forgo of the comforts of a home to experience the road. Yet it happens in the travellers path that sometimes he meets others as himself, with their own stories, their own origins and dreams, their own roads. And it is always a pleasure to hear about another traveller’s road stories.

That night we reached Oaxaca. We were unable to make contact with a Couchsurfer so we headed to a supermarket were we parked Annapurna and prepared supper. After which we soon went to sleep, tired with the tiredness of the road. It is a blessed tiredness.

Hedbanger

Torreón, Coahuila is a city that has conquered the desert, it is a city founded by enteprising people. It still is a city full of entepreneurs. One such group of entrepreneurs is the desing studio We Saw Satan whose designers are always working on different projects, one of whom is their personal Project and recently opened barber shop/ whiskey bar Hedbanger. In my last visit to Torreón, I had the pleasure of visiting this amazing shop. Hedbanger is more than a barber shop, it prides itself in being like a second home, the place of choice to hang out among men. Here you can enjoy a beer or a glass of whiskey while reading a novel by Ian Fleming, or exchange stories with the bartender, order a pizza or generally do what you feel like doing, and obviously you can also have a great haircut or a shave as well as buy Uppercut barber products. Situated in a central part of the city, close to a shopping mall, a sports centre and many great restaurants. More than just a barber shop, Hedbanger is a meeting place. The place is well situated and well lit, upon entering, the wooden walls and simple yet rustic design makes one feel a little nostalgic of years when time passed at a slower pace. The bar, the chatter, and even the reading materials help one to forget the outer realities and stress and enter into a slower paced mood, ready for the ritual of shaving or of the haircut. DSC_0330-Editar While waiting for your turn, you can enjoy a beer or a whiskey, read a magazine or a book or talk with whoever is hanging out there or waiting for a haircut. Once your turn arrives you can expect to experience the real barber shop experience that is so unknown in a regular hair salon. I let the barber do his thing while we chatted about my travels and future projects. DSC_0379-Editar I must say everything here is of the best quality. The barbers themselves are very skilled, the whole place resonates with quality, the service is exceptional, the products used and the mood of the place is just wonderful. After my haircut I had my beard trimmed. I must confess I had never been to a barber for a beard trim or shave, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Afterwards I stayed a while longer just chatting about my next trip and about future projects of We Saw Satan. If you ever go through Torreón, Coahuila, I definitely recommend you come by this place. Wether you need a haircut and a shave or not, you must come by. You will not only find great service but also if you are new to the city this is a great place to make new friends and find out about other great spots in town. I also recommend visiting the We Saw Satan website for all of your desing needs, they are a great group of entrepreneurs and desingers with projects all over the country. Here are  a few more pictures of my Hedbanger experience. Stay tuned for more and don’t forget to like the Hedbanger page on Facebook and check out their weekly newsletter.

Searching for our VW kombi

“Travel brings power and love back into your life.” ― Rumi

After 4 days of greyhound bus travel from Montreal to Mexico I finally started the logistics for my next trip. For the last week and a half I have been riding my bycicle all around the city and stopping every VW panel van I see and ask if it is for sale.
After much days of worry, of disapointments and negociations I have finally obtained our Kombi for our winter trip along the pacific.
Next on the calendar are some modifications to make it ready and then its official inauguration. Keep tuned in to the blog for what’s coming up next!

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New Adventures in the plans

For those of you waiting to read more travel musings, your patience is about to pay off! This summer has been spent working and planning a trip for this coming November!

The plan consists in travelling by VW Kombi with my newly wed wife from the southern Mexican border along the pacific coast, going north until we reach the American border, then keep following a course due north visiting the California coast and Rockies, notably Yosemite, then entering Canada either through Oregon or Montana (if we decide to go to Yellowstone) then crossing Canada to the east coast. The next few months will involve heavy preparation of the vehicle and final trip details. I should be posting more regularly soon.

I plan on visiting the small and unknown pieces of paradise that are spread all over the Coast as well as visit some well known natural works of art. Stay tuned for the adventures!

For those of you who love travelling but find my regular mode of travel leaning towards the extreme, I will also be including posts on how to travel for cheap with a vehicle and a little more budget than my regular hitch hiking trips!

If you feel like helping out and are interested in supporting us in this next great adventure you can either contact me through here or go visit my Trevolta page here (http://www.trevolta.com/travels/Pacific-VW-Kombi-Adventure-26465) and chip in for the trip. If you know people in the travel magazine business be sure to mention us, maybe they would like to support us and have us write some travel articles for them.

If you happen to live somewhere on the West Coast and would love to say hi, we would love to do so as well! Just send me a message and we will arrange!

Cheers and happy trails!

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