Get_lost_with_someone_that_you_love_when_you get the chance. Saddle up and ride someplace unfamiliar. This place does not have to be a world away. A different part of town could suffice, maybe one state over. Keep in mind that this is not some New Age quest for self-knowledge. It is about getting to know one another better, loosed from the constraints of familiarity and the status quo. There’s the saying about character being who you are when nobody is looking. I’d add that brotherhood is about who you are when you are all hopelessly lost in the dirt-and-rock mountain roads of Guerrero.
A typical conversation from our Guerrero odyssey was as follows:
“Isaiah, where are we?”
“I don’t know, heading towards the sun?”
“How do we know we’re going the right way?”
“We don’t. I can’t even read much less pronounce the road signs. Tequesquipan? Huitzoltepec? Xochihuehuetlan? Ahuehuetitla?”
“Isaiah, go ask that guy for directions.”
“He said we are a long way from Taxco, much too far to ever ride by bicycle, and he couldn’t place us on a map. He suggested turning left?”
We’ve been through a lot together as brothers, both before and during Bound South. Wrong turns were a surprising first for us in the Mexican state of Guerrero. Moving south of Valle de Bravo we had finally shaken off our serious bouts of illness. We meant business. When mountain climbs can take upwards of three or four hours to complete, these mistakes can prove very costly. On more than one occasion we found ourselves backtracking or getting navigationally creative in order to reach Taxco. As the Bound South maxim goes, “When in doubt, choose adventure.” What they don’t tell you about adventure is that the real deal is awfully stressful. You quickly learn how important it is to guard yourself against your own anxieties and frustrations and exhaustion lest they spill over and affect your comrades. It’s easy to take family for granted, especially when they are stuck with you on bicycles for a year. Sorry, bro, no escape.
We got lost but we found a little more about ourselves and each other in the end. We made it to Taxco, the hidden silver city of Guerrero. The Spanish came here for the silver centuries ago, and now that the mines have long since shuttered, the city thrives on tourism and the unparalleled artisan jewelers that have plied their trade here for decades. We managed to meet a couple in a market; the husband a contractor and the woman a jewelry dealer. Before we knew it we were camping in the shell of their unfinished garage on a hillside overlooking the city, and staying up way past our bedtime with a giant Mexican family and singing mariachi songs over a campfire. Get lost and some magic might find you as well.