A moment of silence in Peru

Last shot for this G11

Last shot for this G11

I had to stop. My camera slipped out of my hands at 40mph. Luckily, I was already slowing down, wanting to take a picture of the Andean mountain peaks. The clunk of my G11 echoes through my helmet as it crashes onto the asphalt. I turn my KLR around in time to watch a bus nearly miss it. I pick up the dented remains and parked my bike on the side of the road. I had wanted to stop, but being in a hurry to make the 280-mile day to Lima, I was trying to do to many things at once. I retrieve my other camera from a protected case and head out to the fields that so intrigued me. The morning had already been high with emotions, I walk out into the valley, with nothing around but silence. My knees gave way to touch the earth below, and there was nothing left to hold it back. I cried. Not a quiet cry, but a guttural sob, with tears like the clouds promised above. Today I hurt… not just the ache from riding so many days, but the way in which a heart weeps.

It had nothing to do with my camera. It had everything to do with the loved ones in my life. I am sorry for not being there during times of adversity. Over the past several years, I have found myself either working in distant places or riding a motorcycle in far off landscapes when my friends and family have encountered hardships. Most recently, I am not there for the passing of a dog, who was more like a member of the family than just a pet. But in the past, I have not been there to give comfort during difficulties of a miscarriage, support of recovery from breast cancer, lend a hand while healing from a car accident, offer assistance to those who have lost their employment, and soon to express the joy of a baby being born. I am not and have not been physically there.

As I pass these villages of multi-generational families living together and working together for the betterment of everyone around them, I am in awe and wonderment since that is so far from what I know. I learned to take care of myself at a young age. As a child, I was taught that your elders don’t always know or act the best. As a young adult, I was taught through a failed marriage that loved ones can hurt you. For many reasons and many years I have learned to survive alone. So, sometimes for lack of knowing what better to do with myself, I wander.

This is not an excuse for not being there for the friends and family I care so much about. It is just an explanation for why I have a hard time showing how much I do care. My connections with those I love are important, especially because it does not come often or easily. Unfortunately, I did not develop strong skills to walk beside them. For that I apologize. I am trying to learn otherwise.

This is part of my resolution to no longer be “lost.” To no longer wander alone even when I am surrounded by a world full of people.

So to my friends and family, accept my apologies for those times… Even though I am not there in person, know that my heart is.

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19 thoughts on “A moment of silence in Peru

  1. If you don’t get lost, there’s a chance you may never be found. Sounds like…mission accomplished? xo

  2. All I can say is WOW. The other night I was weeping because of the exact polar opposite. For the first time in three years since a failed 10 year marriage I met a woman who made me stop and think life isn’t over – not by a long shot. Cute as button, gorgeous green eyes, smart and easy to talk to. Suddenly I’m racing out at midnight to spend the early morning ours listening to a live band and DANCING?!

    But as I really thought it through (which you need to do when you’re a man of a ‘certain age’) I realized I’m living pay check to pay check just to hang on to an upside down house I couldn’t sell if I wanted to, because I have my mother, sister and niece living with me. Providing a haven for family is indeed a noble endeavor. But at the end of the day, I lay down alone in a house full of people. Not much privacy… can’t save a dime… and precious little disposable income. I’m finding out the hard way that is a real deal breaker for most decent, good women anything close to my age – and understandably so.

    So clearly there’s a balance here which both of us have fallen short of. But we can come back toward center. As for me, I am determined to change the things I do have complete control over. I’m going to loose the weight, get in shape and back off on the booze. I figure a slim, sexy, bald 52 year old beats a fat, bald, 52 year old. I also need to stop allowing my bible to collect dust from Monday morning to Saturday night and earnestly seek God’s will in my life. If I can stick to the program, I’ve got a feeling everything else will fall into place.

    This is all about my own resolution to no longer be LOST and DRIFTING.

    Alison, I love you with the love of the Lord. Stay safe and come back to us.

    DanO

    • I like to hear that you are out dancing and enjoying life Also, It is very admirable you are providing for your family as you are and any good woman should be able to see that. We all tend to make excuses as to why we do something (or more often, not) but you are right on by wanting to change the things we can. If 2013 continues with the same enthusiasm, it is going to be a good year for all of us. I wish the best for you DanO and will return with lots of stories to tell around the campfire. 🙂

  3. You are my hero. I’ve follow your journey when my hectic schedule allows and fascinated by your accomplishments. You Go Girl!! I hope to follow in your steps in the future. Sorry for your loss with the camera. When I was solo riding in Central America, I had my moments of sadness and sense of being alone. It is what we do, we ride the distance and will not have it any other way. Please be safe.

    Madeleine (aka – Missrider)

    • Thank you! I am glad to read other people have had similar journeys. It is what we do and those around just have to love it for what it is.

  4. I listened to your interview on Sidestand Up. I used to live in LB CA. I can understand the urge to flee LA. Life happens when you live it!
    I live in a quiet town in Central TX now and ride BMW’s. Your trip through Venezuela sounded rough. Keep writing, your thoughtfulness is evident.

  5. My shaman friend portrayed this tangible life as “a school.” You dropped to the ground and came to a realization, an awareness. You felt it.
    To adventurers, our journeys are more than miles. They are journeys into “our vast selves.”
    One size does not fit all as you noted in the contrast of you to the multigenerational families. And that is okay.
    Save travels.

    • Well said. Lessons are all around if we choose to acknowledge them. And yes, one size does not fit all. and “normal” does not fit me. I have come to terms with this and can finally find happiness within this space. I hope everyone is able to find thier space.

  6. Life is hard. Thats the first line of my favorite book “The Road Less Traveled.”. Im so proud for you to have the guts to do this journey. Come visit your perfectly imperfect family soon. Heather

  7. I’m so glad you opened up. Just know that near or far, we all suffered Wolfies loss. Near or far we anticipate the babys birth BUT near and far we miss our dear friend that’s traveling solo to Argentina. That one with the most beautiful eyes and a heart and soul of an angel that with just a smile, makes everyones day brighter, Your heart is so strong and loving that it releases this amazing pure energy and anybody that meets you can honestly say…”we met a true Angel”. Continue spreading your wings because you are now the teacher that will teach us how to fly. Love you MUCH!!!!
    Your Crazy Guatemalan Family!!! MMUUAAA

    • He was amazing and I feel another brighter soul is about to enter their life. They are lucky to have such wonderful people around them. I miss you and your family… a truly fantastic bunch! xo

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