What a Journey
Sweaty and miserable in the Vietnamese low country, I fantasize about cold places - and hit on Cape Horn, the southernmost civilian outpost on the planet: only soldiers, sailors, and scientists beyond. Gotta go feel the cold: fantasy becomes a plan.
Back in the States, I meet Ev, a magnetic French woman with a British passport and a US green card. This changes things significantly. The plan evolves from a four-by-four to motorcycles to hitching/backpacking. It's San Francisco, 1967-68; Ev and I are changing, too.
Everything is writ large: the mountains are higher; the deserts are drier; the jungles outperform our swamps. Very different risks and dangers. We spend much time in the boonies, seeing village life only anthropologists know well. Food, crime, medicine, politics - nothing is familiar.
The stresses fray our nerves. Typhus, amoebic dysentery, lost weight: maybe my free-spirited companion and I have bitten off more than we can chew.
Some border crossings are adventures: marijuana, a forged visa, Black-marketing dollars,: we're crossing boundaries as well as borders.
The stress is unrelenting. I continue doggedly - almost delusionally - south through desolate Patagonia, where altered states of consciousness come naturally.
I reach my goal - and find or lose much along the way.
65 photos, 2 endpapers, and 23 maps illustrate the odyssey.