Autopista Ended (Alex)

This is me in La Paz Mexico on one of the most frustrating days of the entire 7 1/2 month 15,500 mile journey. At this point I don't know if I had just finished crying or was about to start. Photo: Nathaniel Chaney

This is me in La Paz Mexico on one of the most frustrating days of the entire 7 1/2 month 15,500 mile journey. At this point I don’t know if I had just finished crying or was about to start. Photo: Nathaniel Chaney

I chose this picture for my “Autopista Ended” post because I am a huge fan of irony. I think the fact that my only frustration cry of the Autopista End trip happening after only a week on the road and in Mexico (where I used to live) is hugely ironic. Later in the trip, Nathaniel was often frustrated by how not-frustrated I would get when shit started going south.

If you followed us from the beginning you will probably remember that Nathaniel and I got stuck at the bottom of the Baja Peninsula for nearly a week. We didn’t import our bikes properly, we didn’t have the paperwork to take them to the mainland and the whole fiasco had us repeatedly going back to the La Paz immigration office, which has very short daily operating hours. It was the definition of mañana. I believe I originally described the experience as Kafkaesque.

Thankfully, our initial roadblocks on the trip were not indicative of how the rest of it went. We had intended to do a trip breakdown and describe how we shipped our bikes home once they returned to the USA but our bikes are still not back… For all I know they are floating in a shipping container somewhere off the coast of Colombia so the ‘how we got our bikes home’ post is going to have to wait.

We’ve been home for 11 weeks, Nathaniel has been back at his job for 6 and we’ve been in our new apartment for about 3. It’s almost disturbing how you can go on an epic adventure and then integrate back into your old life so seamlessly. I think that is the strangest part about being home.

As long as you have a good support system and some money in the bank the first world welcomes you back like a drug addiction. The comfortable lives we lead are designed to keep us anchored to a place, to things. Having everything the American Dream tells you that you should want and still being unhappy is the ultimate first world problem. I know a lot of college educated 20-somethings that are now quitting their jobs for the same reasons we did (more or less).

My personal goal now that I’ve returned from Autopista End Part I (yeah that’s right – we are already talking part II!) is to remind myself daily what I really want to be doing with my money, my time and my life. I don’t need to use shopping as a form of entertainment. I don’t need to eat out so much. I don’t need so much stuff.

The biggest thing this trip did for me was help me prioritize my life goals in a new way – they aren’t priorities I just repeat anymore, they are truths I feel inside of myself and for that I will always be thankful.

8 Comments on “Autopista Ended (Alex)

  1. Tom (from Santa Cruz) I have enjoyed reading about your travels, from the very beginning and have been waiting for the rest of your story, looking forward to the end part 2…

    • Hey Tom! Did you know Nathaniel was born and raised in Santa Cruz? He should be posting his “closing thoughts” pretty soon… At the moment we are talking about going to Canada next year with people we met on the trip! Thanks for reading, we love hearing from people! Do you ride? -alex

      • Alex, I first heard about your trip…before you left Ca, reading an article about your adventure in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, and noted that Nathaniel was a Santa Cruz native….Yes I ride just about every day from Scotts Valley to my office ‘over the hill’ I am riding a 2013 BMW 1200r GS…with now over 26,000 miles…a few trips…but nothing that compares with yours….If you ever want to meet up for coffee or drinks…give me a shout out….

  2. It was wonderful taking this journey with you two through your excellent posts! Please Autopista End Part II. Can’t wait, Hope your bikes arrive soon. Be patient, long distance shipping by water can take a long time. Partial containers are not moved until they are full and often wait in port for just the right amount of cargo to fill the container to it’s maximum capacity. When we moved from CA to Hawaii we booked a partial space on a container and it took 2.5 months for our belongings to arrive. Again thanks for sharing this great adventure!

  3. Wow I love it. Looking forward to sharing my insights with you guys as well 🙂

  4. Than you for allowing us to travel with you on your most exciting trip! We are ken’s Aunt & Uncle and have appreciated you blog. We are currently traveling in Alaska, but in a Class B Motor home – not nearly as adventurous as you! Take care and continue to live life to the fullest! Mary Ann & Pete Date: Thu, 3 Jul 2014 20:58:54 +0000 To:

  5. Hi Alex
    I’ve been following your blog from the start while we were preparing our own adventure. I’ve been waiting for your final thoughts too, hoping everything went well.
    We are at a different stage in life and decided to quit the comfortable life as long as we can get our legs over our bikes. If you like you can check us out on We are currently in bolivia, want to go to ushuaia in summer and then up to alaska – if everything works out.
    Would love to hear from you because I feel I know you due to your blog. Keep going, guys!

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