A 6 month journey to ‘the end of the world’

Greetings from Ushuaia: ‘fin del mundo’ – the end of the world!

The next land mass from here is Antarctica, and we don’t fancy going there (not yet at least). After 9,000 kilometres travelled, three countries, ten border crossings and over 103,000 metres ascended through the Andes Mountains on bikes — now seems like as good a time as any to stop.

Where in the blazes do I begin with the summing up of a six month journey? I’m going to start where you should always start when feeling a little overwhelmed— where it is the most marvellous.

MY FRIEND FAYE, AND I 

Faye and I were putting up our tents for the final time last night when she paused, mid construction, a tent peg in one hand and her ground sheet in the other:

‘Anna…’ she said.

‘Yes mate?’ I stopped wrestling with my own pop-up-palace, and looked across at her.

‘I think we’ve done really well, you know. I don’t mean the cycling, I mean… well… us.’

I smiled. ’Well?! I think ‘well’ is an understatement Faye-bomb! It’s not normal, living the way we have. It’s enough to drive you bananas. And we still very much like bananas.’

There was a moment of silence.

‘I think it’s been the best thing, you know. Us two.’ Faye continued quietly.

‘Me too mate, me too.’ I replied. We smiled at one another, and then went back to putting up our tents, just as we have done almost every night for the past half a year. Continue reading

The real secret to lighting a fire (it’s not what Ray Mears would say)

‘It’s going to go out, it’s going to go out, it’s going to… Oh bugger It’s gone out.’ I slouch backwards and sigh.

Faye and I are sat outside our tents around our MSR Whisperlite stove willing it not to die on us. Our green soup cups are half-filled with dried mashed potato flakes, cold cut up sausages lay dormant on the upturned soup cup lids, and a slab of cheese has been delicately carved into chunks – patiently waiting to be plunged into a steaming pile of mashed potato.

Alas, there sits the water in the pan, cold still, over a flame that simply will not stay lit. We unscrew the red petrol canister and peer inside. There seems to be rather a lot of ‘black stuff’ and so we conclude that the fuel will filled up with in Coyhaique must been of a less than ideal quality. Continue reading