I find no alternative than to abandon my belongings each day inside my tent, as I explore the trails of the Tierra del Fuego National Park. Hoping my world remains inside my tent on my return. This is Patagonia hen. Naw Glesga. And I needn’t worry.
It’s breakfast time and I’m sitting with Pierrette, another girl hiking the park. The foxes and birds had eaten all my breakfast a few days back so I’m delighted to find chocolate protein mix at the bottom of a pannier bag. Pierrette looks astonished as I pull out a carton of milk to prepare my feast of a shake. She whips out a packet of powder asking incredulously why I’m carrying milk. And there it is. After two years of cycling the world I learn about powdered milk. A moment of discovery quickly followed by memory after memory of washing spilt and sour milk from my pannier bags in various countries. Why am I so thick? Why?
After having my passport stamped at the ‘Last Post Office in the World’ I begin hiking the km’s back to my tent. Truly puzzled at how there can be a last post office in the world when the earth is round? Tired I chance my arm at thumbing a lift from a passing motorbiker. He stops and waves down a car behind. It’s the support vehicle for the twelve bikers who are riding the world in six months! Amazing what people are getting up to in the world every moment!
I arrive at the parks visitor centre and ask to fill my water bottles. The women behind the desk refuses and instructs me to pay for bottles of water from the overpriced restaurant. I look at her in disgust and walk away. I undertake a washing mission instead, retrieving my pants and socks from my bicycle to wash them in the sinks of the ladies toilets. Perhaps a raised eyebrow practice for some but normal every day life for a round the world cyclist. Much to my bad luck the same woman comes into the toilets and with a mixture of anger and shock tells me to stop. I don’t care I’m washing my pants and that’s all there is to it. The pant stand off continues until I’m finished and I cycle off with my underwear hanging from the back of my bicycle drying in the sun.
One of the worlds most famous long distance cycle routes is 17,848 km from Alaska to a point in the Tierra del Fuego National Park. It’s seems fitting that I begin my cycle trip across South America at this point. I stand at the point to have my photo taken. A passing tour guide makes fun of me and asks why my beginning is at the end. I hadn’t thought of this but notice how it fits in well with my life; which is all a bit on the odd side.
The beginning of my South America adventure is probably the fastest I’m going to go on my whole trip. Straight past the parks guards on my exit. My ticket allows me only two nights in the park. Not the three that I stayed.
And … the adventure across South America is on …
As always thanks for being a part of the journey. Life’s short. Follow your dreams. WBG xxx
Ishbel, creator of World Bike Girl, has spent her life on bicycles, from road racing, to velodrome sprinting to cycling the world. She has pedalled across 20 countries solo and promotes commuting by bicycle. Much to the dismay of her friends, she is an avid wearer of socks and sandals.