Sometimes it’s not about my traveling, it’s about the people who cross my path….I met two young men who are riding their bicycles from Canada to Argentina , what a story….
One beautiful day on my way camping, I stopped in Coronado, Panama to do some grocery shopping. I had to set my google maps and knew McDonald’s had wifi in the restaurant. Oh, I could not resist apple pie and coffee before the trip. Looking around the place, I noticed a couple of guys who looked like backpackers, so I went over to chat with them. They were totally open and interesting travellers. I offered them a ride in the direction I was going, but they declined. They were on their way to Panama City, the city I was leaving from. They were riding their bicycles there, to me a fairly lengthy ride. I was very curious, so I asked where they were from? To my amazement and excitement, Jaryd said they were from Calgary. Jaryd rode his bike from all the way from my city, and Kyle joined him in Nicaragua. I was in awe, wow! I kept yelling“ good for you guys”, unbelievable strength and endurance! They agreed to meet up in Panama City in a couple of days. I can’t wait to get their fascinating story! Their long range goal is Argentina, after they meet up with another friend Abraham from California who has joined them in Panama City.
I may have drove my campervan from Calgary to Panama but the story below a guy from Calgary rode his bicycle and still heading south to Argentina.
Kyle- After missing my original start date of October 2014 with Jaryd from Calgary, my adventure would start in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua October 2015. I had tied up any loose ends and was finally ready to travel for an unknown period of time. All I knew was that Argentina was the final goal. I was excited to see Jaryd again and take a time out from the North American life style. Overall the trip for me is to grow my skills in photography, spread a positive mind set and go on a fun bike ride. So far the trip has provided all of these things. So far my favourite area on the trip has been Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. It was a super relaxed, welcoming and safe feeling area. I would recommend it to anyone looking to visit Costa Rica. Heading south I look forward to Peru. I feel it will be a magic place and can’t wait to explore all it has to offer. Always remember the fear in your head is something you can concur, if you choose to live in it though you will miss many beautiful opportunities in life.
Jaryd- So it all started with a dream of snowboarding in Chile. One of the only things I didn’t sell before I left was a globe that I looked at and decided that riding a bicycle would be my way of obtaining this goal. I was flat broke after a winter in Revelstoke, where I was riding my bicycle to the hill and around the town all winter. I met a couple people who had done some long distance cycling trips and I was inspired to do one myself. I gave myself 4 months to get everything together and leave before the snow started to fall again. I asked Kyle to join and he was in the same financial position, he was a little less confident in just leaving and making things work. I was on the grind everyday; working Monday to Thursday gardening, Thursday- Saturday nights on the bike taxi and working at the bike shop and selling art on the weekends to pay off my freedom machine and all the necessary things to get me however many kms south.
I told everybody of my dream and they never really took it seriously. October 1 was approaching quick and Kyle had just told me he didn’t have enough funds to make it happen. He suggested we leave in March to give ourselves more time to make money. I was stubborn in leaving on the date I set as I had sold everything I owned minus two bikes, my snowboard and skateboard. I had never gone on an overnight bike trip before leaving. When he told me this I was stumped for a couple days as to if I could actually make this happen alone. My friends thought I was insane; my family was even more worried about my intentions with such a huge journey. It almost wasn’t an option to not make it happen. I had a calling of adventure and self discovery that I needed to fulfill.
The night before I left was one of the most difficult and emotional days ever. My father who was always supportive of my endeavors was now crying and really lost as to why I would want to enter Mexico and all these countries alone. He wasn’t in a financial position to fund my journey and neither was I. I had just under $2000.00. I arranged a final coffee meeting with friends and family at my favorite coffee shop the morning I left. I loaded up my bike for the first time that morning and wondered how in the world I was going to ride this thing that weighed as much as a dirt bike up hills and across 15 countries. My friends couldn’t believe I was going through with this. I enjoyed the last moments with all these people who supported me and walked with my mom as she cried and probably wondered when I would be back for another Sunday family dinner. That’s all it ever was, no maps just south.
Holy shit, I was doing this! I rode a good 65 km fueled by excitement and what the unknown would bring. When I got to a popular beef jerky shop and bunch of friends came to meet me and camp out for the first night. This whole day I rode in shorts with no shirt. As we got comfortable for the night mother nature threw us a curve ball. It snowed a good 2 feet overnight and left me wondering if I was doing the right thing. I contemplated going home but saw the birds flying south through the blizzard and knew that was my direction.
It took me another 10 days or so of amazing hospitality from strangers and friends before I made it over some mountains and to my first border crossing. Here I was at the border and the guard asked where I was headed. I said Argentina. He looked at me like I had 6 arms and two heads and said “on your bicycle?” He was completely blown away. He gave me the go ahead and along I went. I ended up in Santa Cruz, CA in 2 months. I now had about $100.00 to my name. Luckily I had an amazing host who housed me for a month and allowed me time to figure out how I was going to make this happen. I lauched a pizza fund which was a way for people to help me out on this adventure. I was blown away with how much support I had. I also sold art on the streets and ended up leaving there with nearly $1000 dollars. I then sold a condo developer in Calgary some art when I was nearing Mexico 2 months later.
Entering Tijuana was one of the most intimidating moments of my life. Everybody I met was blown away that I was going there by myself. Several people told me I was going to die, get robbed, all of the worst things possible. I survived, made my way south and met up with a couple other guys headed to Mexico City. We rode together, shared unforgettable views and moments over the next 1500 kms together. Mexico blew my mind every single day. I knew nothing about it, so when we went through colonial cities and mountains (Mexico has mountains?!) I was like a newborn baby seeing everything for the first time. All of these thing plus learning a new language were motivating to keep me going. We made it to the Capital City and I was again so stimulated, one day in a voodoo/black magic market was the first time I had ever experienced what people would call “culture shock”. Those boys left to go back home and I was alone in this city that has more people then all of Canada.
I was again flat broke and wondering how I was going to make things work. I started some social media ideas that were well received and sold one of my bicycles at home. This was where my passion for art and creativity really started to pave the way. People believed and supported my talent and I began painting some of the biggest projects yet. This really started the snowball of how I was going to make my way south. A couple months later I was 2 countries south In El Salvador and selling postcards to tourists and started a postcard club, another way for people to help me keep truckin’. I had unbelievable support again from not only family and friends but complete strangers. The entire way I have been gifted meals, snacks, and even cold hard cash by people who just loved what I was doing. Being alone I think really gave people sympathy towards my mission. Everybody knows what It feels like to be alone, but in a foreign country with no money is a whole other ball game. Almost a year later I was in Nicaragua, I had made it to a popular beach town called San Juan Del Sur. I had no plans of staying more then a couple days. I stayed almost 4 months and painted a dozen murals in town. The postcards were selling faster then I could make them and I met a super talented young lady who helped my make a video for a project I had been planning for the past couple months. This really changed the whole trip once again as she made a video that was fueled with passion and emotion. It really showed what this trip had turned into for me. MAGIC. In a month I raised over $8000 Canadian dollars to help fund a book about my journey. Focusing on all the talented artists/ photographers I had met along the way and their views on what paradise means.
Kyle messaged me and told me he was going to fly in and join the mission. I would believe it when I saw him on his bike a month later. In this time I had recruited a young whipper snapper named Abraham Ramirez. A photographer on a 2 week vacation before going back to school in his home state of California. He was super motivated to join me on the trip. He went and bought a $100 dollar bike that was all anodized blue. This thing was meant for a simple A-B if that. We went on a couple “training rides” and he quickly realized this unit was not going to cut it. He wasn’t taking no for an answer and once Kyle arrived they went to the capital city and got him the best they could find. This bike would last until the end of Costa Rica. It was amazing the teamwork and friendship building that happened along the way. Crossing rivers, riding up hills that cars could barely figure out and just having such a blast sharing how amazing travelling by bicycle could be with these 2 amazing humans. All of us are so different but share a passion for adventure, fun and creativity. Abe was still very determined to make this happen so he took a bus south to Panama City and got himself a bike that will make the journey. We are here now In Panama City together and ready to cross over to the unknown again which is South America. Stay tuned as we are just getting started. If you would like to contribute to this journey through the pizza fund or our respective postcard clubs you can email me firstname.lastname@example.org or through paypal.me/jaryd. Thanks to everybody who has helped out along the way! There is way too many people to list but you know who you are. Follow your dreams, and just go, the universe has got your back!
Jaryd’s riding my bike from Canada to Argentina article.
Abe Ramirez- I quit my job and never showed up for the first day back to school. Riding a bike across Central and south America is a opportunity that fell into my lap and I just couldn't say no. I decided to pursue photography full time. With no previous biking experience, I think anyone is capable of doing extraordinary things regardless of your background, age, or gender.
Story written by Jaryd Adair, Kyle Messier, Abe Ramirez and Pete Montgomery from TravelCheapWithPete.com
A couple months before I decided to drive to Panama City, I told my good friend ,Calgary icon Joe Forzani, that I was going to buy a campervan. I told him I planned to drive from Calgary to Panama this winter, and even put a $50.00 bet that I would be gone before November 15 2015. By mid October, Joe began to question me about my commitment to go! I told him not to worry, and, one day, the whole trip appeared in my mind. Joe did put a little pressure on me, and I changed the way I was looking for the right campervan. I put my 2005 Yukon up for trade [for a camper or campervan. Can you believe a couple of days later a person contacted me asking for a camper/truck trade. After checking out each other’s trucks, we made a deal, my Yukon SUV for his campervan. Joe assisted me with the trade and agreed with my new purchase. The campervan had only 92k and I knew right there this was my ticket to Panama. I just felt the magic was going to happen and there it was….The Universe took care of me again..
I used Google maps out of Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. I used Google maps frequently, and if I saw a bad road that was not used much, it looked more like a bike path. I simply asked the Universe, the Spirit, the man above [think it is a women anyway!]. I call them my Angels above and it felt good so I went ahead and drove it. When I did take a bad road, they were the size of bad bike paths in a jungle with no pavement. Steep hills, rock, gravel, mud and all nine kilometers would take about 45 minutes. Once, about 25 min into the trip, I ran into a big 4x4 truck coming the opposite direction. We had no choice but talk to each other and solve the problem getting around each other on the narrow road. We had to find a wider spot where one of us could drive around the other. While all that was going on, another truck pulled up behind mine. I told him to go ahead of me, as I didn’t know this road. Funny thing, all three of us had no idea how bad this road really was, the guy coming the opposite direction told us the road was really bad he did say we could make it but there was a bridge that was half washed away! At times I was looking up in the sky (my Angels) this feels good I’m going to make it, I don’t think a car can make it through this road and I was hard on (old faithful) my campervan. Again working with the Universe and Google maps got me through the jungle it just felt right to proceed and drive-through.
When I crossed the border at Panama, they only gave me a 30 day permit. I wanted to extend the permit. While there, I chatted with a person who had trouble getting his car from Cost Rica to Panama. I told him I had lots border problems, almost from the time I left Canada. Funny, he was originally from Lethbridge, Alberta but now resides in Seattle Washington with his wife and 5 children. They had to leave their car at the Costa Rica border, so I offered them a ride to a boat in Bocas del Toro. It was just over an hour drive, I learned a lot about them in that short time. They took their children out of school for a year to travel Costa Rica, then off to Europe this spring. I told all 5 kids wow! what an amazing education and experience they are getting from their traveling and home schooling from their parents. I hope they read this and send me the photo they took of us. A very adventurous family!
The meditation pose photo of me above, was fun to take. It started by me asking my 83 year old airbnb next room neighbor Bob, to take a picture on top of my campervan, in the city while in a meditation position. While driving to the location, Bob suggested that I will have a hard time finding a place to take the photo. I said not at all, I know where I want to take it. While driving through rush hour traffic, a perfect location stumbled upon us. We pulled over to the side of the busy road and I climbed to the top of the van. I got into a meditation pose and Bob started snapping pictures of me between two uniquely designed office towers. No one got mad; people were taking pictures and got many thumbs for my ordeal. Wow, sometimes a picture is worth a 1,000 words and this is one of them….
Check out my buddy John’s penthouse condo in Gorgona, Panama and I told him what a great deal for me a buck a night I still owe him two buck maybe next time I go there, sometimes the universe give me things for next to nothing. I received such a good response on facebook for this video so I have to post it on my website.
Where I got my education and knowing is from my loving family, traveling, friends, Landmark education, Centre for Spiritual Living, my friend ask KJ, Rose, my last job with 1111 the office staff and the hard working men and women in the field and of course all those courageous travelers I get to meet while traveling. I thank you all.
I have applied to Global Degree, I could see it now the campervan (old faithful) in Europe or for my traveling friends you can also apply yourself just make a 2 to 3 minute video of yourself of why you want to get your Global Degree and how you can contribute to the team. You will see 50 countries in Europe. You get free airfare, free accommodation and free insurance for 8 months of travel. You can also see my video on Global Degree and vote for me.
Pete Montgomery from TravelCheapWithPete.com
The drive from Calgary to Panama City Panama old faithful (the campervan) makes it without a scratch, (winter 2015/16) started in Canada
Then the United States, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and now in Panama
After my amazing Christmas in El Salvador, I spent New Year’s in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, to watch an amazing firework show…..
Dutch Peter and I left El Salvador after Christmas, with no real plans of our next adventure. We heard from other backpackers who suggested for us to check out Leon Nicaragua, so that is where we were headed. We drove through Honduras, on the worst roads in Central America. People often say it is part of the Pan America highway, and everyone who drives it pays for it?....Don’t know where that money is going?
We drove to Leon, a nice little Colonial city and stayed for a couple of days. We then drove off to another Colonial City, Granada. Motoring around the lake on the way to Granada, we experienced for the first time a Policia trying to take us for money. We got pulled over. Alarm set in!. They acused me of not wearing a seatbelt? As well, we were also charged for not having a front licence plate! The Policia took and held my license and told me to go to a bank in the next town and withdraw $200.00 US for him!. At the time, they were in the back of their van. I had some money, about $50.00 bucks, and tried to give it to him. He yelled “NO”, go back into your van and we will talk. The Policia do not like people pulling out cash in public where other people might see. We came up with another $75 dollars, made a deal and got my licence back! Wow, what an experience and we continued onward! Can you believe about half hour later, another Policia pulled us over. I explained to them strait out that another couple Policia a while back took all our money. I was upset, and said rather loudly ” we have no money left”. I felt I got robbed by someone who has authority (police)over me and it’s not a good feeling. When in Granada I just wanted to get out of the country. I told Peter that my wish was to go to a small beach and just chill out for a couple of days. So that is how we ended up in San Juan del Sur. It was a great place to just relax, chill, reenergize and it was only about an hour to the Costa Rica boarder. We saw totally amazing fireworks all over town, particularly after midnight. I did get a bit of the fireworks on video .Approaching the grand finale, they had a “burning man” displayed in the middle of the street full of fireworks and firecrackers. We watched him burn! Wow, just maybe this is the day where women can get back at their man…lol. Things are so different when you travel!
’It’s New Years day and I am on the road again, alone, this time to Playa del Coco, Costa Rica. I have visited there before with my nephew Shane and his cousin Josh. A few years ago, I took the two of them to a hostel for their first time. At the time, we were staying in a five star resort, but the contrast to a hostel was a great experience for them. The same hostel was not available when I arrived this time, so I found another one nearby. The usual routine when I enter a new hostel is to let them know I will sleep in my campervan. Usually this gets me a great deal! Upon entering this hostel, the room was large and had air conditioning that really worked. I ended up staying in the room for the night. Oh, did I sleep! Lounging around the hostel, I got acquainted to three fun guys: Joel from Costa Rica, Leon from Germany and Korbyn from California. I discussed the fact that I was off to San Jose the next day and asked if they wanted to join me on the trip in Old Faithful? Well, both Joel and Leon lived in San Jose, and accepted a ride there with gleam. Korbyn, we called him (Bruce) because that was on the back of his football shirt, and myself went to visit an old friend of mine from Calgary. He and his wife Olga were great hosts. We had dinner, a few drinks even breakfast the next morning. Thanks again Scott and Olga for your hospitality! The next morning after breakfast, Korbyn and I were back on the road to Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. We found a great place to stay at the Rocking J’s campsite/hostel. Wow, it was so big! I think they had about 100 tents to rent or bring your own tents, hammocks, dorms and private rooms. Here were the two of us in a campervan, sometimes a bit boring! I heard they had 600 people there the night before. After a few days, I told Korbyn it’s time for me to commence the final leg of my journey to Panama, a place where I have a few good friends. If truth be known, I am a bit worried about Korbyn because he is only 19 years of age with not much experience travelling and backpacking. He likes to drink and buy people drinks. He is a good kid, and I asked a mature Canadian traveller that I met that night, to keep an eye on him for me. After talking to Korbyn the next morning, he assured me that there is nothing to worry about. He said he will take good care of himself and thanked me for caring and being his friend. I will definitely call him upon his return to LA on Sunday.
On the road again with Old Faithful (the campervan)….
Pete Montgomery TravelCheapWithPete.com