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THE MISSION
Although I've long pondered the idea of first traversing the Americas on my way to see the world, it was only while recently standing at the foot of my own driveway that I was struck with an epiphany:
The humble county road in front of my house is in one way or another connected to every other road in the hemisphere, save the islands. Indeed, it's possible to roll out of my garage and either turn north to Alaska or south to Argentina.
With the clarity of hindsight this seems an obvious fact, but dreams get buried beneath the clutter of our day-to-day lives. We instinctively cite the multitude of reasons why we cannot do something instead of the single reason why we should.

Without hesitation, I commenced planning my departure.
The Mission
Jeremiah St. Ours, author of journeysofar.com, embarked on a solo journey around the world in June 2005. This is his story. Contact
THE METHOD
Like riding horseback in years gone by, traveling by motorcycle is a great way to expose yourself to the elements. Unlike being locked within an enclosed, climate-controlled, soundproof automobile with tinted glass, sitting on a bike bathes you in the sights, sounds, smells, weather and people along the way.

Many wonder why I've chosen to travel alone. The simple answer is that I want to maintain complete independence, traveling which way the wind blows without concern for anyone else's agenda. Too, I believe that riding solo makes one less intimidating and more approachable--key when you're interested in getting to know the locals. Though I'm sure to link up with other riders along the way, I want the freedom to roam where ever and whenever I choose. Serendipity is what this journey is all about.
Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand li begins with a single step. --Lao Tzu
THE MACHINE 
El Viento, which means The Wind, in Spanish, is what I've come to call my motorcycle. It's a 650cc, single-cylinder dual-sport motorbike that's supremely adapted to both on- and off-road travel. Its efficient four-stroke, dual-spark engine can achieve 72 miles per gallon. I've modified it to better endure the rigors of long-distance riding and accommodate the transport of gear. Reliability is key, as the route is long and fraught with environmental extremes--from arctic cold to equatorial heat, from parched deserts to wind-ravaged peaks--faith in my iron horse is a must.

OHV is the US federal government's acronym for Off Highway Vehicles. Dual sport motorcycles like El Viento are street-legal, but crossover into this category. Many nature-lovers and outdoor enthusiasts cringe when they hear these initials, since they can conjure up visions of careless riders marauding the countryside. Sometimes this fear and loathing is justified, but in my case, at least, I'm an
environmentalist first--and a responsible OHV motorcyclist second.
The Machine
World Map
THE ROUTE
The world is rapidly becoming more and more homogenized as pop-culture infects the most far-flung locales. I hope to see a bit of what remains before fast-food eateries and increasingly familiar corporate logos dominate every single street corner.

The initial plan is to span the Americas, traversing 18 countries while traveling 70,000 miles (130,000 km) over a several-year period. Next up: Asia, Australia and Africa.

But numbers alone belie the trip's real purpose--
geographic and cultural immersion. To that end, my odyssey is about the mountains and bayous, the children and villages, the sunrises and wildlife, the smiles and cervezas, and the improvisation and perseverance required to see them all--not the distance covered.


THE RISK
As a group, Americans are the least well traveled of any industrialized nation and it shows. Rumors and myths grow into urban legends. Paranoia abounds. In fact, nearly everyone I talk to questions the safety of my venture and seems certain that I'm destined to be mugged or worse.
The Risk
But traveling here and abroad has led me to believe that most crime is born of opportunity, so employing a modicum of common sense and staying alert can neutralize much of the potential. Further, like here in the U.S., the greatest probability of calamity occurs on the road. Far more people die in highway accidents than in shoot-outs with deranged gunmen, yet how many people opt not to drive?

In short, the media fosters a culture of what I call
death du jour. Witness the local evening news' steady diet of diabolical terrorists, faulty toys, super-predators, and deadly side-effects lurking in our milk, all supposedly about to do us in. Yet, amazingly enough, every morning the sun manages to rise again.
Do one thing every day that scares you. --Eleanor Roosevelt
THE REWARD
Perspective is best achieved from afar--from the outside looking in. Getting there is half the fun; reflecting back the other.


Buckle up.
tred

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