Six Months On The Road
The Road Chose Me Volume 2 OUT NOW!!
The Road Chose Me Volume 2: Three years and 54,000 miles around Africa
Today marks six months on the road for me and the odometer on the Jeep shows I’ve done 24,000 km, making this the halfway point of the trip in both time and distance. This feels like a good time for some reflection. First of all, I can’t believe I’ve been on the road for six months – it’s not until I click back through this website and read my stories and see photos from the whole trip that it actually feels real. I also can’t believe the trip is half over – in so many ways I’m really just warming up and not at all ready to think of the trip as winding down.
On a couple of occasions over the last few weeks I’ve seriously thought about whether I can handle this trip and make it all the way. More than once I caught my reflection in the mirror and actually stood and had a conversation with myself. Granted, those times were when I was tired, sick and seriously struggling with Spanish, but it’s still very daunting even at the best of times. Traveling through Mexico is a lot different than the previous four months and it’s going to take some getting used to. At this point my Spanish is good enough that I can get around – I can buy food, gas and a room for the night without too much trouble, but I want so much more. I really want to be able to sit down with local people and find out about their country, their opinions on everything & also the places I really should be visiting along the way.
Learning Spanish will have a big impact on the rest of my trip. So far, I have not put in the time.
I also genuinely have no idea if I am safe or not, something I think about constantly. Nothing has happened to indicate I’m not, but I just can’t shake the endless warnings I was given. Every time I step out of the Jeep I am nervous and hesitant to really move about people and explore, and I constantly have that strange feeling in the pit of my stomach. This is not a feeling I like, and something I need to work on. It’s getting better as my Spanish improves and will hopefully continue in that manner.
Money is not something I’ve been stressing about, although I’ll admit that it comes into my thoughts more often than I would like. I went massively over budget in Canada and the US, and managed to bring it in some while Duke was paying for half the gas. Paying for hotels is not going to help, although I can’t see another option right now. Hopefully I have a good tax return and some money I lent out coming my way soon, which will really help out there.
At my current pace I will be around the bottom of South America right in the middle of winter, not really an option when living in a tent & driving on cheap all-season tires. So far I’ve come up with two possible options; slow down a little so I don’t get too far south until Spring or keep moving at my current pace and try to work a season at a ski resort somewhere in Argentina or Chile, then continue south in spring.
Going with my usual plan of not really planning at all, I’m just going to keep going with the flow and I’ll figure that one out when the time comes.
For now the road continues to chose me, and visa versa
And that’s a fantastic plan of it’s own!
It’s the only one I’ve got, so I’m sticking with it!
I only traveled around N. America when I was in my early 20s and I had fears about my car being broke into when I was in big cities. I’m sure the fear of that and other fears is compounded greatly in Mexico. I’ve thought that if I ever did that again I would go on foot and use trains and busses. This, of course, limits your flexibility. One or the other I guess.
Getting a job doesn’t sound too bad. It may extend your trip and give you more time to “absorb” the culture and people. Your English may be an asset in a tourist ski spot. You might even be able to start making connections now. Find a few ski lodges online and send them and email with a link to your blog. If I were a hiring manager I’d see you as an asset and and interesting person to have on staff for a few months.
Just a few thoughts. Thanks for sharing. There’s a bunch of us out here that are thinking of you and are really excited about what you’re doing.
Thanks for the encouragement Scott, it really helps
Keep it up Dan!
Hi, it’s been awhile since i checked in with you. I’m in the states, on my way back home to Canada after spending a month in Nepal. I understand about the undercurrent of nerves or a twinge in the pit of your stomach. I think it passes as familiarity sets in. Constantly moving through new areas/countries/customs etc. would delay this however. I think it’s why I’ve always opted to find a place and dig in for awhile. I find it makes it easier to actually meet people and make what (for me) are deeper connections.
The unrest in Nepal threw me at first, making me nervous to venture too far afield, but the friendships I made helped to alleviate some of my worries. I was sad to leave, but will be glad to get home. Too bad there is still so much traveling before I’ll be in Telegraph!
So, follow your gut instincts, stay safe, and keep writing!
Thanks so much Leaf, I saw some of your pics on facebook. WOW. I will go there one day for sure.
Just today I was thinking the exact same thoughts – constantly moving through means I never let myself get into my comfort zone and am always on edge. I am getting the hang of Mexico now my Spanish is improving and I meet more people, and it occurs to me I will be in Belize in not much time, then again always on the move.
I must be crazy or something.
I hope you have a great winter in Telegraph, make sure you get some peace and quiet for me, I will always reemeber that amazing place you have. Dan
Andy Dickinson put me onto your blog. I’m riding south on a motorcycle. I’m in Veracruz today, headed for Mexico City for a couple of nights tomorrow, then down to that coast. Probably follow the Pan American for a while. Thinking I’ll stop in San Cristobal de las Casas for a while. You think our paths will cross? Be cool to meet a friend of a friend on the other side of the globe!
I’ve got a live map here which shows where I am, updated via satellite, up to the minute (well, 10 minutes!). It’s fed via spot satellite messenger, cool device if you haven’t heard of them.
You’re safe. I’ve been on the road 4 years, lived in South Africa for 3 months, Mexico ain’t shit! Keep your wits about you and you’ll be fine. It’s really pretty safe, most people in the world are mostly honest.
Warmly – Callum.
PS> Your WP version is out of date. You’re on 2.7.1, the latest is 2.8.4, I believe there are several known security issues in 2.7.1, probably only a matter of time before your site gets hacked. It happened to me once and I as a professional WordPress hacker!
Hey Callum – great to hear from you man. I was just checking out your blog. I’m in Tehuntepic now for a couple of weeks working at an English school, moving on to Pelenque around the 28th and have to be in Cancun on the 30th of Dec.
It would be awesome to see you down the road somewhere. Keep in touch.
I’m a little hesitant to upgrade wordpress on the road incase something goes wrong with the upgrade or my plugins or all the hacking I’ve done on my theme… I kinda want to just leave it alone.
Oh yeah forgot to mention: Thanks for all the Jeep pics! Keep on going with whatever plan you got. Everything will work out for you, it always does. If you happen to get arrested along the way, gimme a call.
Drive safe…and the take care of that Jeep and she will take care of you! Plus, I might be interested in buying it when you get back so take of it! LOL.
Brian – You interested in buying it down at the bottom of Chile?
It will be all ready for a nice big adventure back north….
The job idea is excellent. The things you’ll learn and the people you meet will only enrich your life, your adventure, this blog, and the future book we are all looking forward to. Just think about the lecture tour you can do to promote the book!!!
Haha, I think we are getting ahead of ourselves a little now. One day, one day.
Found your website on a comment you left on the Stampede Trail ‘pinpoint’ on Google Maps! Your journey sounds very exciting, and is very interesting to read about. I have been greatly inspired by Christopher McCandless, and hope to one day hike out to the Magic Bus. I see you have been fortunate enough to live this experience, and I would like to hear more about it as it goes along! By chance do you have a facebook account, and could leave me the link to it?
Hey Alex, I’m glad you found my website. Hiking out to the bus is something I highly recommend to people that have the know-how and wilderness experience. my facebook can be found at http://www.facebook.com/dangrec
MERRY CHRISTMAS DAN!!Can’t believe its been six months since you started your journey.You’ve done more in those six months than some people will do in a lifetime,you must have such a great sense of achievement.Jakes and I are still following your blog although I have taken to editing what I read to Jacob at times since you have been in Mexico,wasn’t really sure how I was supposed to explain police corruption and smoking of substances illegal or otherwise to a five year old lol,thought I would save that conversation for another day hopefully along time away.Any ideas where you will be on Christmas day?Jakes keeps going on about making you a christmas card so I said he could and I’ll take a photo of him holding it and e mail it to you.Anyways whatever you are doing over christmas be sure to know that theres a little boy here thinking off you.Even his teacher asked me the other day who “the man in the computer” was?Anyways here’s wishing you a very merry christmas,I’m sure this one will be an experience you will never forget whatever it is you are doing.Stay safe.Best wishesxxRhi and Jakes
Thank you so much Rhieanon and Jake! Merry Christmas to you.
I’m trying to keep everything here kid safe, sorry for walking the line a little too close.
I’ll be at an English school for xmas, where I’ve met some really really nice people who are introducing me around, taking me to lots of parties and festivals and feeding me 10 times a day
It’s great to be having a hot Christmas after so many years in the snow in Canada!
I hope you have a great holiday season, -Dan
Nice to see a Jeep out of the city and being put to its intended use.
Yep, no doubt this is what she was made for. She loves it as much as I do!
so i dont know if u read these posts way after the fact but some countries are uber cheap like peru and bolivia. plus once ur outta the US there are hostels. and if it gets too cold theres always coach surfing but im sure u know of all these already. just thought id throw it out there for good measure.
Hey Nicki – for sure those are all options as I keep moving south. I’m just reading that good accommodation in a hotel in Guatemala is around $3 US. NICE !