Filling in Travelogue
WESTERN NEW YORK, USA- Five notebooks covering six years of travel sit piled before me on a kitchen table. I grab one off the time and begin ticking its contents into a laptop computer. I push the publish button, and words that I wrote nine years ago from a cold and wintry Patagonia appear in their proper location in the travelogue.
I am filling in this travelogue from the years 1999 to 2005 — a span of travel that is currently vacant in the Vagabond Journey story.
I walked a lot back in those days. I must admit that I still walk a lot now, but back in 2002 my pedestrian tendencies were nothing to joke about: I would walk between cities as easily as I now walk to a nearby park. I have vague memories of walking long distances during what could be called the “classical” phase of my travels, but I do not remember walking as much as I obviously did. My journals are marked through with sentences like, “I walked from Los Andes to San Esteban,” written as though the action was as simple in doing as was in writing.
Perhaps it was. I was of a different philosophical persuasion back then as terms of what traveling meant. When I thought of travel, I thought of tramping through the jungle, over mountains, sleeping outside, having no money, not only looking for but finding adventure. My idea of what travel meant was constructed in the daydreams of a farm boy staring out across the fields at a horizon without ends. I grew up at the edge of the information age, my view of the world outside came into me through books, not web pages. I thought the words “travel” and “adventure” to be synonymous, mutually inclusive: if you practiced the former you got the later. I had yet to learn about backpacking, Lonely Planet, independent tourism. It took a while for my ignorance to wear off.
[adsense]My publishing of past journal entries pick up when I went to the southern cone of South America in 2002. This was already my third trip to this continent, having traveled around the Andean north the two previous years. From revisiting this time through the old journal entries it became apparent to me just how different my travel methodology was then. Not only did I do a lot of tramping, but I was not directly traveling for for work — I was looking for adventure, new horizons, knowledge, excitement. I had no strategy in place then for setting up shop, for finding bases of operation. In the days of my youth travel was for the joy of movement, for seeing the world, it was typical travel — backpacking, if you will. Continuous movement was the mission then, it would still be some years before I knew of lifestyle travel. It was normal for me to stay in a town for one night just to walk on to another one the following day.
I would not really dream of traveling like this now.
Which brings me to the question: Why am I publishing the record of these old travels?
Certainly, most of these journals were not well written: they were diary entries, words meant for me only. So much of these diaries are irrelevant for anyone but myself, and much of it is irrelevant for even me. I wrote a lot of junk about girls. I wrote a lot of junk about politics. I do not claim to have publishes these older journal entries as they were written. There is no reason to, as these notebooks were never meant to have been published. I keep the basic story the same though in these reproductions, only editing out the irrelevant pieces and adding in additional content only where it is needed to provide a clear picture of what was written.
Writing is often perceived as being permanent. For some strange reason, writers are expected to always hold the same opinions now as they did in the past. People change in response to their experiences, and a person who holds the same opinions now as they did ten years ago must not have fully lived in the intervening years. Where I state bold opinions that I no longer stand by in these old journal entries I now add disclaimers explaining what caused my perspective to change. More often than not, the reason stated is simple maturity: I grew up and gratefully shed my childlike idealism.
I am publishing links to the older entries below in case long term readers may like to browse through them to see the path that I traveled from then into now.
I will publish the links to the older travelogue entries in batches, the first is below.
Travelogue Entries from Chile and Argentina, 2002 – Batch 1
Weather in Southern Chile in Winter
The Bright Side of Travel
Leaving Santiago Chile
Walking to Valparaiso from Vina del Mar
Bus from Valparaiso to Los Andes
Walk from Los Andes to San Esteban
La Serena Chile
Walk Through the Atacama Desert from Caldera Chile
San Pedro de Atacama Tourism
Hotel Caribe in Santiago
Mugged in Santiago Chile