I finally felt myself lifted definitively away on the winds of adventure towards worlds I envisaged would be stranger than they were, into situations I imaged would be much more normal than they turned out to be.
One final gasp of this San Francisco cafe, a mainstay of the last few months while preparing for my hopefully fruitful adventure. Travel books often describe fantastic exploits, but the above quote resonates for its pragmatism – whatever I think this trip will be, it won’t. After writing that line, Che Guevara charismatically led an entire people to, at least in his mind, freedom. Revolution doesn’t seem a likely outcome for me, but I won’t mind a cigar or two. I’ve been asked about any fear of the unknown, but all unknown requires is rolling with the punches – and I can’t help but find that a strangely relaxing premise. Maybe it’s just happy ignorance. But hey, it’s happy!
Tomorrow the road trip begins. Plenty of wild Americana to explore. I’ve never seen a desert, eaten a Pueblo chile, or heard New Orleans jazz. And here I go, setting expectations, as El Che warned against. But still, there has to be at least one rack of mouth-watering ribs in Austin, right?
Expectations are hard to avoid when chasing ambitions. Though not nearly as alien as my Asian excursion, this road trip signifies more than a deathly hot drive through the Confederacy. It’s my first step on a tight-rope across a massive canyon – the start of my career alone, no safety net – a metaphor and microcosm of the future. Yes, America, I’m ready. I’ll drive your steaming blacktop and get to my dreams.
Or at least to a delicious plate of gumbo.
Quote from Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara
Image by William Warby