TWV Trip(s) you participated in: Badlands to Banff 2013, Argentina Youth Trip 2014 – Concerning trip specific questions, I will answer about my latest one (Argentina.)
Favourite memory from my trip: Picking a single memory is, as I am sure you can believe, a daunting task. Reflecting on all the quality time I spent in Argentina with wonderful people, I cannot help remembering the mountains first. Not only seeing them from the seat of a bike, but running, hiking, camping, and simply enjoying the natural beauty and awe-inspiring vistas of Northern Argentinas wilderness is something I can get excited about. To avoid writing a book about the whole thing (I could type for hours!) I will simply say that the memories I have from the mountain areas, and all the other brilliant landscapes for that matter, are of the highest quality in my life, and when I think of what life would be like had I not experienced these remarkable things, I know for certain that I did make the right choice. The people, the language, the food, the nature, the everyday to-dos of bicycle touring life – these are the things I love.
Another thought —> At a rest day at the house in Tafi del Valle, I realized how much I really loved the place and the people I was with. Not only was the 20km decline into the valley a breathtaking view and a well deserved break from pedalling, the gem of a town located at the end of the road surpassed my highest expectations – absolutely brilliant – we ate some magnificent food, sang some songs, laughed, and talked late into the night. I will definitely never forget that house and that night in Tafi del Valle.
Greatest thing I learned about myself on my trip: The greatest thing that I learned about myself on the trip is my potential to be involved internationally, and that I have everything I need to take control of my own life. Many have told me I got the “travel bug” or have a case of “wanderlust” as a result of my trip, and although I see why they would think that, I learned and received so much more. Travel for me has jumped up my priority ladder, and I not only want to see this world for my own eyes, but I want my involvement in every corner of the globe to be my lifestyle. I learned during this trip that travel is not for the elite or rich. I learned that if there is something I want or need to do, there may be obstacles, but nothing in my way is immovable. WIth the right mindset, and some (or plenty) dedication, I can do whatever it is I want, and that is a wonderful thing to realize.
Favourite trip meal: In Tafi del Valle – We made some homemade pizza! I still remember how full our dinner table was that night – a feast for royalty!
It also may be appropriate to mention here that possibly, the best food I have ever tasted in my life, was at a lovely restaurant in Buenas Aires, on the way home to Canada. At this restaurant I had a Pumpkin Chicken Pie. How was it you ask? Imagine heaven was an ingredient. Now, imagine how good food would taste if you had not eaten anything but soda crackers for ten years. Now imagine that Beethovens 9th Symphony was an ingredient. Now picture a big Italian mother in a kitchen, where it rains angel tears, as she flows elegantly from area to area in a conglomerate performance of culinary engineering with a long and fluidic apron of handwoven llama wool. Now she dextrously mixes heaven and the music of the deaf composer into a pie, topping it with nothing other than nutella and dulce de leche. Now she cuts you a slice, and after one long decade of nutritional deficiencies, you sink your teeth into possibly the most gratifying, titillating, and savoury bit of food that has been known to this world. Then multiply that by like ten, and that is pretty much how the pumpkin chicken pie tasted. (And I am a vegetarian!)
Next place I’d like to travel to: Well due to the fact that I have made so many good friends through my latest trip, I would not be against returning to Argentina! Although I know there are also many other countries in this world that deserve to be seen, and I may give them a shot as well. I have spent the last few days doing some research into my next adventure and am really drawn to the Himalayas, Europe, or any Spanish speaking country to practice my new language. If my next trip is half as fun as my last, I will be a happy man.
Since the trip I’ve…. began studying the spanish language. Before the trip, I have always been in the business of self-improvement, and being the best (and smartest) version of myself that I can be. I was well aware of how knowing a second (or a few) languages would increase my quality as a person greatly, I was just so intimidated. Since going to Argentina however, I have been motivated to take up the romantic language of español, and I love it! It is really easy for me to learn because I enjoy it so much, and I feel like it is a very important life skill to have. Knowing that I can now communicate with my Argentine friends better, and am now able to participate in the spanish speaking world is a great opportunity. The trip was just the spark I needed to get going, and now, I plan on learning many languages in the future!
Favourite thing about TWV: My favourite thing about TWV is that it is not a big commercialized, paper chasing, consumerism driven company. Some say I am strange in my ways, but I think that money gets too much attention in todays society, so it is nice to see an organization such as TWV, who care about the important stuff. TWV focusses on and teaches important life skills and values such as teamwork, responsibility, leadership, and the joys of travel. That is what counts with me.
When I’m not taking a trip with TWV, I can often be found…in Drumheller, where my day to day life takes place. I am a grade 11 student and plan on taking medical studies to ultimately have my dream career of a travelling aid doctor. Between studying though, I like to run in the badlands, swim, and of course bike. I can also be found trying to improve my spanish with anyone in town who has some background, playing my piano, reading, or simply seeing what there is to do in the valley.
Best Bike Tip: My best tip concerns packing the panniers. It is always a good idea to take and pack what you need and nothing more. I would also suggest making a somewhat conscious effort to remember in which bag and pouch you have packed items, and to do this same packing scheme every time. It is always a nice thing to be able to find what you are looking for without ripping apart your entire bike.
Who is your role model? As some of my bicycle trip companions know, my role model is Dr. Patrick Swanson. He is my alter ego, and is basically the best version of myself – if all of my potential were achieved. Dr. Sw
anson however, shares many characteristics and values with many happy and successful people in real life. It is like the eclectic approach of choosing a role model. I have simply taken the best qualities from my real life role models, and combined them into one really awesome person.
Best advice you would give to someone considering a TWV Trip: Just do it (sorry Nike) because it may be a one time opportunity. Every day we seize and decline opportunities, however a TWV trip is truly life changing and is definitely a smart move for anybody’s future. On top of that, TWV trips are extremely fun. I really feel alive, and in the present moment when on a bicycle trip, and that is something that just cannot be achieved in the day to day doings of an average life.
TWV should plan a bike trip to…The Himalayas! Huge mountains – Mt. Everest – Buddhist Monks and Temples – a culture very different than our own – adventure at its best!
Favourite Quote: “Stay hungry, stay foolish.”