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Posts Tagged ‘Peter Brother’

“On January 1st I hit a significant milestone on this journey – 10,000 kilometers of bike riding. I have travelled about 20,000 so far, half on the bike and the rest by bus, boat and 1 plane ride from Panama City to Bogota.”

That was Peter Brother’s first blog entry for 2013. Pretty impressive! His cycling journey began in August 2011 in the Yukon, Canada and has taken him along the western coast of Canada, the United States, through Mexico, Central America and into South America.

His bike was stolen while he was in Peru, and he spent a couple of weeks trying to decide what to do next. It was too expensive to get another bike shipped from Canada, and he couldn’t find what he wanted in Peru. Initially, he decided to continue the trip by bus and hiking, but eventually his longing for wheels led him to a bike shop in Iquique, Chile.

So he’s back on the road again, about to start exploring the Lake District in Argentina. After that, his plan is to head to Chile and either ride or take a boat down the inland passage through lakes and glaciers to the southern tip of South America.

Oh, did I mention he recently turned 70?

Kinda raises the bar for the rest of us, doesn’t it?

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In my last post, I wrote about the dilemma faced by Peter Brother after his bike was stolen in Peru. Suddenly his dream of cycling from the Yukon in northern Canada to the southern tip of Argentina came crashing down around him. He had managed to complete two-thirds of his journey, and now had no bike to finish what he had started.

It’s a good example of what can happen as we pursue a dream. Sometimes life gets in the way. Circumstances beyond our control pull the rug out from under out feet, and we’re left dazed and confused, asking why. And wondering what to do next.

At first, Peter was shocked. He spent a few days trying to come to terms with this change in his plans. Then he decided to see if he could get a bike built to meet his needs in Peru. He also explored the possibility of having a new bike, identical to the specialized one he had bought for his trip, shipped to him from Canada.

Neither option worked out.

At that point, he could have give up. So close to achieving his dream, and yet so far.

Instead, he decided to revamp the dream. He realized that he still wanted to go to Chile and Argentina. He wanted to continue the journey. However, now he would do it by bus. He felt it would give him plenty of opportunity to meet people, and to do some hiking.

So, for the past few weeks, he has been hiking in the mountains and the desert, exploring caves and glacial lakes. He will also be trekking to the world’s largest canyon in Peru, the Lake district in Argentina, Patagonia in Chile and a number of other locations.

His dream continues to evolve. In a recent post, he wrote,

“While in Hauraz, I had a couple of significant dreams, that seemed to me to indicate I want to continue cycling for part of the journey through Chile and Argentina. I am now rethinking about biking.  I will go by bus to Nazca and Arequipa in Peru and then bus it to Santiago.  Then I may pick up a “new” bike there.  Then go to Mendoza, down to the Lake District and cross back and forth between Argentina & Chile, biking and hiking.”

It’s important to be flexible and open while following your dream, yet keep in mind your focus, the main reason you started on the journey in the first place. In this way, you’ll stay open to possibilities and … those possibilities are endless!

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Over the past year, I’ve been giving periodic updates on the adventures of Peter Brother, the Canadian cyclist travelling from the Yukon to the southern tip of Argentina by bike. Since my last post, he’s journeyed through all of Central America and is now in South America. In Peru, to be exact.

He’s had some incredible experiences, met lots of interesting people, and continues to post updates and photos on his blog.

He recently celebrated his 70th birthday, and has no intention of slowing down. In his words,

“I’ve already done a lot in my life and could sit back and be satisfied. But in a sense I feel like I am a caterpillar about to burst out of the cocoon. I hope that my journey inspires people of all ages, to not assume any limitations, to discover what our true limitations are, our weaknesses and our strengths. It takes courage to do what you want to do, because there will be pain, disappointment, but there will also be more joy and happiness. The journey of life is to rediscover the heart, moving toward our heart’s unfolding.”

Peter recently had a first-hand experience of the pain and disappointment he mentions in this quote. He had spent the day exploring the sacred site of Machu Picchu with a group. When he returned to his hotel, he discovered that his bike was missing. He checked to see if it had been moved to the garage behind the building, but it wasn’t there. It had been stolen.

That bike had been his constant companion for over a year. It had taken him through city streets and mountain roads, along coastlines and across continents. It was a specialized bike, chosen because it was both lightweight and durable, able to carry him as well as his packs.

There he was, in Peru, three-quarters of the way through his dream cycling journey and … without a bike.

What would you do? Would you be able to dream bigger?

Later this week, I’ll let you know how Peter approached this. For now, I’m curious to hear what you’d do under those circumstances.

 

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Sometimes things don’t work out the way you plan. You put a lot of thought, preparation and effort into a venture and then it all falls apart. And you move on to Plan B.

And so it was many times during our recent trip to Costa Rica. The whole purpose of the trip was to meet up with our friend, Peter Brother, the intrepid cyclist who’s making his way from the Yukon in northern Canada to the southern tip of Argentina. We’d arranged our schedule to coincide with his arrival in Costa Rica. All that remained was to work out the details.

Or so we thought. A few days before our departure, Peter emailed to say he’d decided to stay in Nicaragua for a month. He had the opportunity to teach some yoga classes (he’s a yoga master) and was quite excited about it.

No problem, we thought.

Turns out, getting from one country to the other on short notice is not so simple, even though they border each other. After much discussion with our hotel reception, considering buses, reading and re-reading our travel guide, we decided to rent a car. Even that wasn’t going to be easy. We could book a car to get us to the border. We’d have to fill up the car in the last town before the border and then leave it with the car rental place at the border. Then we’d have to walk across the border to the other side where another car rental agency would meet us and provide us with another car. On the return, we’d have to repeat the process. And it would cost a small fortune.

Oh well, we thought. At least we’d get to see our friend.

So early one morning, we headed out. It was a beautiful drive and we were excited to be on an unexpected adventure. I’d been to the Costa Rica/Nicaragua border once before, ten years ago, so I knew it would be chaotic. Sure enough, there was a massive line of trucks waiting, not moving. We had to drive in the oncoming lane to get past them, a game of chicken that no one else seems to mind.

We couldn’t find the car rental place. The border road was under construction and the sides had been cut away leaving miniscule sloping paths down to small businesses. We dodged dump trucks and diggers, and finally stopped to ask a pedestrian where the car rental place was. We retraced our steps, heading down one of those narrow paths to an unsigned building that turned out to be the rental office.

We filled out some forms and went to the border office. The border official ran my passport through the machine and looked at me strangely. He asked in English, “Do you speak Spanish?”

“Yes,” I said, wondering what was coming.

Turns out you need a passport valid for 6 months in order to get into Nicaragua. Mine was only valid for two more months. So I was refused entry.

I argued, pleaded, used reason, did everything in my power (in fluent Spanish, of course), but to no avail.

Plan N(icaragua) was out.

We were on to … Plan X, or what you do when there is no plan.

Let the adventure begin!

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As we in the northern hemisphere move into winter, adding layers of clothing and hunkering down into hibernation mode, my friend Peter Brother is donning shorts and savouring the warm breezes of southern California and the Baja Peninsula. His cycling journey has now taken him over 5200 kilometres of rugged and beautiful terrain. He arrived in San Diego just before Christmas, a destination he had hoped to reach before the end of 2011.

In his blog, he writes of Imperial Beach where there are 60-foot swells and some of the best surfing in North America; Pismo Beach and 24,000 Monarch butterflies in the State Park and Refuge; cycling through groves of eucalyptus trees, inhaling the strong sinus-clearing aroma; and all the wonderful friends, cyclists and local residents he is meeting along the way.

As I write, Peter has now crossed into Latin America, leaving behind the familiar language and culture of North America. He admits to feeling both fear and excitement. He has new challenges ahead. In preparation, he’s spending a week in Ensenada, Mexico, living with a family and improving his Spanish.

In a recent article in his hometown newspaper, The Record, Peter mentioned one of the things he hopes to accomplish with his journey. “I’m inspiring people to follow their dreams, to do what you really want. The only obstacle is in my own mind.”

What’s your dream? What do you really want? If the only obstacle is in your mind, what can you do to move past it?

The next time you say to yourself, “No, I can’t because … “, I challenge you to pause for a moment. Consider the dream that Peter is following – cycling for nearly two years from the Yukon to Ushuaia, Argentina – and ask yourself instead, “What’s one step I could take today toward my dream?”

Then take that step!

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My yogi friend, Peter Brother, has now reached the northwestern coast of the United States on his two-year cycling journey. Along the way, he’s been meeting fascinating people from all over the world who are doing equally amazing things with their lives. In his blog, he mentioned a young man who had recently completed El Camino, the walking pilgrimage from the southeastern corner of France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. He met a woman who had walked around Spain and Portugal. And a couple from Edmonton, Alberta who are on a five-year cycling trip to the tip of Argentina (the same destination as Peter).

One couple from Switzerland have been cycling since July and have already completed 7,000 kilometers! One of Peter’s recent photos shows a close-up of the odometer on his bike – at exactly 3,000 kilometers. That’s up and down mountains, over rough terrain, and lately, through the majestic redwood forests. Pretty impressive!

He’s had some articles published about him in local newspapers and a friend is now looking for funding to do a documentary on his journey. Although he admits to being tired of camping at times, he seems to draw energy from the breathtaking beauty of the surroundings – rugged ocean shores, tall trees, brilliant sunrises and sunsets – and the new friends he is making.

Who knows how many people he is inspiring as he travels, through his conversations, his blog and his photos? Reading his stories and looking at the images makes me want to take to the road myself. That feeling of freedom that comes with travel, and no agenda, is perhaps best summed up by this quote Peter included in a recent blog post.

Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open? ~ Rumi

Why indeed?

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A month or so ago, I wrote about Peter Brother who is cycling (primarily solo) from Whitehorse in the Yukon, Canada along the western coast of North America, through Central America and South America to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. It’s a journey of 25,000 kilometers, some of it through major urban areas and some through rugged and remote terrain. Not a journey for the faint of heart.

As he goes, he’s sending out blog updates to involve friends and family in the experience. Some of his posts make me wish I was travelling along with him, while others remind me why he’s the one on the bike, not me!

In the first month from the Yukon through northern British Columbia, he faced frosty temperatures, days of endless rain, breathtaking mountains and valleys, and seven bears beside the road in one remote stretch. He has made new friends (cyclists who may join up with him later in the trip), and even met people who used to work in cycle shops in his home town of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. Here’s a few excerpts from his blog posts that give a sense of the contrasting experiences he’s having.

“September 6 – Awoke to clear skies and magnificent puffy clouds and sunshine. The ride to Dease Lake allowed all our wet things to get dried out by the strong (very strong) wind. It was one of the most terrifying rides I have ever had – on more than one occasion I was pushed 3 or 4 feet over. In place there was no shoulder and the drop off on either side of the road was steep and long. With the wind playing a major factor we had our slowest ride so far, averaging only 11.5 km an hour…One challenge lying ahead of us is that there have been several mud slides closing highway 37, which is the only way we can get to Terrace.”

“September 12 – with a tailwind and fairly easy hills we were cruising along at our fastest pace so far when we came to a road block. The highway has now been closed for a week and today they are allowing vehicles through in a single line one way with a pilot vehicle. We were advised that we could not ride our bicycles through the recovery area; so we got a 95 km ride in the pilot pickup truck.”

“Haida Gwaii – an Archipelago that rises up out of the Pacific Ocean on a shelf that extends to the mainland. The geography is very similar (so I’m told) to that found in southern Chile and Argentina in Patagonia…It is also the land of the Haida, an indigenous people with roots that go back several thousand years…Each family has a totem in front of their home that symbolizes the story of that family…Although I have only been able to be here for a few days, I am struck by the gentleness and beauty of these people. I have talked with a few people about their language and culture, walked on trails in the rain forest and watched the rain falling, lots of rain, but today beautiful sunshine sparkling and dancing on the waters on the bay…I am off on the bike to explore a little more and visit a sandy beach to walk along beside the salt water.”

Peter’s now on Vancouver Island visiting with family and friends before continuing south along the western coast of the United States. You can follow his journey here.

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