The Road Trip of Passage goes 4,973.9 miles in a new direction

July 7th, 2011

The mountains of Glacier are in the rearview. Er, sideview.

If you can’t tell from recent writing, I have been looking for something. I felt the energy of the Road Trip of Passage was waning. I was spending most of my driving time stewing, was tired virtually all day, and wondered honestly whether even California could bust my blues. I realize now this was likely mild altitude sickness from spending three days at 6,000 to 8,000 feet.

As it turns out, I’ll never know. The zen Buddhist teacher I remarked on last article remembered this to me:

“Let life happen.”

I did not think I could so such a thing. I have always tried to fix what is broken, retain what I have, and build on it. Not in terms of possessions, but in terms of relationships.

Then life happened. After leaving the Glacier wilderness, and even during my time in the wild, the aforementioned blues hit. I was looking for a change. I wanted to get away somewhere, and apparently the Glacier wild was not far enough. I wanted to get out of my head for a while, and start using my hands. That change came in a way I could not resist, and sends my summer, trip, and blog into a whirlwind two days preparing for…

Machu Pichu, in southern Peru, photo thanks to


Yes, Peru. It was an offer I could not resist. A $3,500 trip six week trip to Peru, completely free. Lima, Trujillo and the Andes mountains. The car stays in Seattle Washington, and I fly to Peru to build wind turbines for Andean communities.

It seemed almost too perfect. Just as my driving arm starts getting tired, an opportunity to travel to Peru falls into my lap, free of charge. Not only will I be continuing writing, working on my Spanish, gaining valuable engineering skills and cultural experience, but I’ll be doing it all for free, and all because somebody canceled a trip last minute and I responded to an email.

Let life happen.

Called "The donkey's underbelly" by locals, because during the colder months Lima is constantly covered by a far-reaching sea of grey clouds.

Any job, internship, or summer course would have made this trip impossible. Only by embarking on this road trip could it have even been conceivable, especially on two days notice.

The advice of my friend Peter:  “If the road trip has led you to this crazy Peru opportunity, I’d say go with it.” So I’m going for it. I packed a backpack and a small duffel bag for six weeks in Peru. I’ll use many of the skills I have developed these past months, and I likely won’t even know how useful the months have been until I am thrown into an entirely different situation.

Strangely, as I drove from Montana to Spokane, Washington, I started writing in my mind the article that would close the road trip of passage. In my mind, it was already over. I was performing the autopsy. So I’ll never know what incredible experiences I might have had if in Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona and beyond, but when you are offered a free trip to Peru, as my friend Lynn said: “How is this even a question?”

One Soles, or about 1/3 of a US Dollar, got a performance from a pair of aging street performers.

So someday soon I’ll think about my road trip, and perform the autopsy I was preparing for, but not today. Today I am too busy living to write about living. The road trip portion is as left in the dust as the dust left on my car, but the Road Trip of Passage has led to Peru, and will continue through as planned to the middle of August. So please keep reading as I travel Peru, learn about sustainable energy, and build a wind turbine.

Let life happen. That is pretty hard to do, but something I would guess we could all work on. I wouldn’t advocate giving up on trying to make things happen for yourself, but I set out to find out what would happen if I had nothing to do. If I simply lived, bouncing from place to place as seemed right, doing whatever seemed worth doing.

It led me to cheat death, discover my western wild side, feel the music, embrace the land, grow closer to America’s past, seen incredible animals, camped with the devil, and now, after 45 days of sleeping in a car, camping in a tent, driving 8950 miles, cooking for myself, and visiting 28 states, never knowing where I’ll sleep or what I’ll do, life has led to Lima, Peru.

Clouds and construction seemed to define my first day in Lima, which is beautiful is its own sad sort of way.


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