All of us who love travelling have at one time or another flirted with the notion of abandoning the hum-drum of our daily routines and embarking on that one voyage each of us safeguards within and considers “the perfect trip”. Even so, very few of us have taken a definitive step in that direction. Today, we’d like to share with you Iosu’s experience. Our hero is a twenty-nine-year-old adventurer who elected to leave his beloved Madrid behind in a north-to-south quest of the American continent. Ten months after setting off and just back from Ushuaya, Iosu reveals how he prepared for his perfect trip.
Q. Iosu, for those of us who’ve daily followed your blog, there hasn’t been a single day that we haven’t felt some kind of healthy envy. We imagine, however, that it was no picnic undertaking this enterprise.
A. Well, implementing a decision of this kind was a real headache. I had to sidestep fears, both internal and external; work endless hours to save up the money, and take a detour from everyday constructs which meant skirting whatever it is that our society calls “normal” — such as buying a house, having a mortgage, a car, starting a family… I decided to listen to the pulse of my heartbeat and assume whatever risks presented themselves. Would everything be the same when I got back from my trip? Would I return home or find somewhere else to set up camp? I was overwhelmed with queries and underwhelmed with answers.
Q. When you set out, did you have a clear notion of where you were headed or has improvisation been your second mate and made your destination decisions for you?
A. I began with the premise of crossing the continent from north to south, going against the usual migratory byways via the pan-American route from Prudhoe Bay (Alaska) to Bahía Lapataia (Argentina). Nowadays, it is a system of inter-connected roads that stretches over 30,000 kilometers, joining the whole continent from one end to the other. Ultimately, thanks to improvisation, I covered 45,000 kilometers of roads, from gravel to asphalted surfaces, aboard every kind of acquatic-terrestrial transport imaginable: busses, trains, bicycles, motorcycles, automobiles, canoes, boats, caravans, you name it. Planes were only permitted for crossing the Atlantic Ocean from Madrid to Alaska and, later, returning from Buenos Aires back to Spain.
Q. Usually, the main motivation for a trip of this kind is more about meeting people than seeing a lot of places. Am I right?
A. Absolutely. It’s all about the human landscape rather than tourist attractions. It centers on dialoguing with others, instead of being tourist-obsessed with accumulating snapshots. Observation takes primacy over furtive glances.
Q. What did you leave behind in Spain when you did this?
A. My job as a journalist. A girlfriend whom I loved, family and friends … To some, my idea sounded like the brainchild of a madman rather than something premeditated.
Now that Iosu’s back, he offers us evidence that there was not an inkling of madness to his decision. He’s made a documentary called “The seam of the Americas”. A trailer follows.