Thursday, January 21, 2016

Fern Forest meets Tierra del Fuego

        If someone invited me to hop on a bike and spend a year pedaling to the southern tip of Argentina, I’d have to be madly in love to say yes. Apparently Cupid’s arrow has pierced the hearts of Treehouse guests Christine and Nico because that’s exactly their plan.
            The couple came to Fern Forest for an overnight respite after spending three days hiking and two frigid nights sleeping in shelters on the Long Trail. But bundled in cold weather gear, they certainly know how to dress for winter. Once they figured out how to zip their sleeping bags together, they weathered the snowy nights well.
            Nico, from Dresden in Germany, is a handsome fellow with a neat cinnamon beard and hair that curls over his shirt collar. While he was working as a software engineer, he got the idea of going on a long cycling trip. 
Enter Christine. She is a three-season gardener with a fit body and an adventurous spirit.
If I have the opportunity and the freedom that so many others do not in this world, especially women, then I should take this chance to do something that makes me happy and gives so much to me, despite the fact that there may be some risks along the way," she said.
Both in their thirties, Christine and Nico met when they were biking in southern California. Christine wanted to explore Mexico, but she didn’t want to cross the border alone. Nico offered to join her. They cycled down the Baja Peninsula and at La Paz found a sailboat captain looking for crew to sail across to the Mexican mainland. Neither Nico nor Christine knew much about sailing, but they agreed to load food aboard and do the cooking for the two-day trip if the captain would take them along with their bikes. He agreed and got them to Mazatlรกn. They biked south a ways and then crossed the country to the Caribbean Coast, and pedaled through Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and into Costa Rica, where they decided to take a break from their journey.  
Now it's time to finish what they began. And finish big.
The plan is to pack up their bikes in March, fly back to Costa Rica, and point their handlebars southward toward Panama, and down into South America, eventually ending in Tierra del Fuego.
“Where will you stay?” I asked. “How will you live?”
“We’ll figure it out as we go along,” Christine answered. It doesn’t cost much to pedal a bike, and they’ve both saved money for food and whatever else they might need.
         I was reminded of my youth when in the early ‘70s I hitchhiked across the country with a girlfriend. We trusted the universe to take care of us, and it did. Christine and Nico have an abiding trust in the goodness of people and their willingness to reach out to help them if they need it. That sort of faith has eroded in the last few decades, but maybe it’s coming back. I want to believe that we get what we expect, and if we expect kindness and generosity, that will come to us. With all my heart, I hope that’s what comes to these two lovely people when they begin their long journey together.