Another lunch time and another bus stop. We sit slicing stale bread rolls and seperating sliced cheese between mouthfuls of water to stop us choking on the crumbs. A man, about 30, pushes his stroller towards the bus stop.
‘How odd’ I think as there aren’t really any houses nearby and the stoller is a european model. We make room for him out of the wind and he greats us in English. Opening his stroller reveals no child but a host of backpacking kit and food – not what we expected if we are honest.
Oliver is walking from Ushuia to Alaska, he expects it to take 3 years. He was an unassuming guy who was just going for a walk – a really long walk. This was not his first rodeo either; twice he has walked across his home country of Slovenia and he has crossed the USA on foot too. We chatted for about half an hour and really enjoyed the brief time we spent together and it reminded me of something we were told by another traveling family, ‘There is always someone doing it crazier than you’. My hope is he remembers the encounter with the same fondness and that maybe, with our two kids and huge panniers, he saw us in the same light.
Later that day we met Sprout. Sprout is a terrier who is touring Sourh America with her owners in tow. On long hills she gets out to walk alongside them but for the most part rides up front in a basket. Lou and Robin, Sprout’s owners, are from Lincoln and like us wanted to take some time out. We met them in a bus stop just outside Villa ********** (another Chilean village with a closed supermarket) and talked about the road ahead until both Sprout and our kids became restless and we bid our goodbyes.
These are two examples of meeting strangers who were on similar journeys to us (both literal and metaphorical) and they show how following three rules when touring can reap rewards. The rules have been adapted from our close friend Mad Court’s ‘Three rules of D of E’. Both Charly and I have huge respect for Mad and she is a beautiful person. Her rules are:
1. Be good
2. Talk to strangers
3. Don’t die
Rule number two has given us some amazing experienced this trip and a couple of times has helped us immensely. For example being offered a roof for the night on a wet windy day in Sweeden, having our panniers carried over a tough section if gravel in Chile, managing to get our bikes on a bus to Ancud from Puerto Montt. I could go on but without the kindness of strangers our trip would be more difficult and certainly less enjoyable.
Thank you does not quite cover our gratitude to all of our new friends but your help was important to us and showed our children that the eorld can be a kind place.
If you are reading this blog then you are interested in what we are doing; we have been helped by strangers ask you, should you see someone like us, have a chat and see if you can help them – it makes the world a nicer place.
If you like what I have written about our trip then consider clicking the following link to ‘buy me a coffee’ – essentially this means more cake for the kids……