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Affirmation

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We_know_why we ride.  You know how you help.  Yet it wasn’t until a few days ago that we truly understood why we share.  More specifically, I didn’t fully grasp the value in parking our bicycles in an unfamiliar city and stumbling through countless streets and Spanish conversations in search of an elusive internet connection, known in these parts as WiFi (pronounced wee-fee).  To be certain, we love the opportunity to sit in the comforts of a café or restaurant and connect with the world.  Yet from the very beginning of this journey I had a tinge of uncertainty about Bound South as it exists on the web, sharing all of the minutiae of a Pan-American bicycle expedition.

WiFi with a view in Taxco

This uncertainty was a part of my broader discomfort with social media and internet culture as it currently stands.  We live in a world that is increasingly about copying rather than innovating, and  sharing rather than doing.  I was afraid of how the act of posting our photography, writing, and experiences would color how we lived each and every day of this journey.  Would we act differently, write differently, or change the nature of our journey for our audience?  Would our connectivity isolate us from the people and places we encounter?  As I sit in a café and write this post, I see countless people streaming past the window in front of me, each offering their own story or portrait of the world they inhabit.  How much richness will I miss between Alaska and Argentina while fumbling through my memories and sensations?  The thoughts and conversations of one day spent riding with my brothers through these strange lands are enough to bury my feeble attempts to log them.  I gave up journaling before I even started (David’s religious consistency with nightly journaling continues to amaze me).

Climbing through a valley in the western highlands of Mexico

I gave Bound South a chance.  I reasoned that the social pressure to assure family of our survival and to share our experiences with the world would ensure a rigorous schedule of reflection.  I was willing to bear the costs to our “authenticity” whatever they may be.  Five months later, I know we made the right decision.  Our connections with the outside world are limited to a couple of times every week when we stumble upon an internet café.  This is simply not enough time to distract us from our experience (or to assure our family of our daily safety).  Our time spent writing in comfort has been a necessary respite from long mountain climbs, navigational uncertainty, exhaustion, and the nitty gritty of our adventure.  Our website is also our vehicle for collecting donations and advancing our cause.  A few days ago, WordPress decided to feature us as among the best of the 700,000+ posts that are shared on the web every single day.  Comments and traffic and messages have poured in, and we are overwhelmed with a sense of humility and gratitude.

In the end this isn’t about us.  This is about our journey and our cause.  Yet Bound South will always be bound up in who we are as brothers; David in his youthful boldness, Nathan in his calm mentorship, and myself in my sharp wit and incredible good looks.  What we are doing is compelling, dangerous, and uncommon.  We can’t deliver you stylized and idealized travel guides, or depictions of heavenly Latin American cuisine.  We can only promise you our world, a world that is raw, mortal, and perilous; but it is shot through with love, courage, and the laughter that only brothers can enjoy on a long road to Argentina.

Thank you for sharing that world with us.  We take so much joy in this journey and the privilege of sharing it with you.  Your donations, messages, and comments sustain us whenever we have the chance to see them.

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Don Myrvik #

    Your comments in today’s reflection are powerful for me! I wrestle daily with the awareness of the difference between the kingdom of this world and the kingdom of God, and you described this difference — in your experiences — in a very meaningful and interesting way. I play mental games sometimes, like imagining which cars beside me on the street belong to “only this world” or to someone paying attention to the kingdom of God.
    God is with you!

    January 18, 2012
  2. krista #

    Always nice to hear from you guys, so the WiFi searches are appreciated. Are you going to start more posts similar to the Highway One Diaries?

    Your self-description made me laugh.

    January 18, 2012
  3. Bill #

    WE pray that this journey will continue to be rich and full and safe and a blessing. We know it has already been life changing. Continue to hold you in prayer. Bill and Carolyn

    January 18, 2012
  4. Jim and Elizabeth Berg #

    Boys,
    Thank you for posting a picture of your faces and not your backsides! And all three of you together too! For the record, you’re ALL incredibly good looking.

    We are thankful that your health is restored and that you’re logging miles again. Thank you for pursuing those out-of-the-way WiFi oases so that we can stay connected with your minds and hearts.

    Many people ask about you and are praying for you. Stay in touch.

    love you to the ends of the earth,
    Mom

    January 18, 2012
  5. I look forward to this blog and your continued awesome experiences, on at least a weekly basis. Stay on the groove path and enjoy your “wee-fee” stops, along with the ups and downs of Sierra Madre Occidental.

    January 19, 2012
  6. Amazing blog guys, having lots of fun reading through your adventures. Central America is a great place to get to know what’s important in your life! As my name suggests – I’m a particular fan of tiny Panama.

    January 21, 2012
  7. 1) Sweet glasses.
    2) The second image is fantastic. I’m going to say this: technically, it’s not the best. But in every other way, it conjures up memories of the road. Of sitting in an airy hostel, completely consumed by welcoming foreignness. New smells, new sounds, new people. Content and relaxed. Enjoying the comforts of wifi that are so uncertain on the road – a great, unique aspect of travel and adventure, and that photo communicates it all to me. Amazing.
    3) Reading your mom’s comment – you have a cool mom!! Y’all are very lucky!!!
    4) Mexican food = me gusta.

    January 23, 2012

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