Friday, March 5, 2010

Don't Believe a Word of it.

In my many years of life experience, i've learned several things.
1. Lists seem to grab people's attention because it breaks the information into smaller chunks, making it easier to process.
2. Any band that sings its name in any of their songs shouldn't be taken seriously.
3. Everything you read on the internet is true.

Ok. One of these things is a lie. I'm not going to spoil it, but it's the 3rd one. So, i guess i did spoil it. Sorry.

Before i traveled to Nepal back in 2004, i was told to read the travel advisories from the state department's website. I can't remember who told me, probably my dad, but i remember reading that it was not safe for tourists to be there. My mom read this and tried to convince me not to go. I went anyway and found that it was as far from the truth as possible. Yes, a couple bombs went off in Kathmandu when i was there, and Maoists were holding up backpackers at gunpoint, but I wasn't personally affected by it. That doesn't mean people didn't get hurt, nor does it mean that the incidents didn't happen, but in general, it was safer than most big cities in the U.S.

Since then, i've traveled to a few more places, and have been told the exact same things. "it's not safe", "it's sketchy", and other forms of "don't go there, you'll die". Again, i found a people that were very hospitable and caring. They'd go out of there way to help you out (a university student in china walked with me for 15 minutes because he wanted me to get on the right bus). I'm planning a trip down to South America and i'm being told the same things. I watch the news and a drug war is going on in Mexico (i do actually plan on driving as far inside mexico as i can on one tank of gas, without stopping.), people are dying all over the place. beheadings, executions, etc.... Another issue is that through my readings, a specific area of land called the Darien Gap (in between Panama and Columbia) is impassable. People tell me there is no road through it and that it is a dangerous area. None of what i've heard has been first hand (mostly) and i have a hard time believing it.

How much do i believe, and how much is media hype?

I understand that the world is a dangerous place, but i'm not willing to sit in a cubicle all my life, waiting for the sky to fall in on me. This is my plan:

1. Drive down to the border of Panama and Columbia.
2. Find out for myself if what people say is true.
3. Put my car on a boat and ship it to columbia, or make the journey through the gap
4. Continue on the adventure of a lifetime
5. Get sick of people and climb a big mountain in Patagonia by myself.
6. Stand on the southern tip of South America.
7. Drive home.

I'm really excited for this trip, and i hope that those who have also stated their enthusiasm aren't going to bail because this is a life changing experience. I plan on documenting the whole experience with video and photos and maybe put together some webisodes each week. I really want to inspire people to get out and see the world. I think it would do a lot of good if people saw how blessed they were.

The world is a good place, with good people. You just have to see it.

3 comments:

MindySue said...

Matt, is it possible that the reason you've received no firsthand accounts of life in the Darien Gap is because everyone who has attempted to traverse it is DEAD?

Have you HEARD of FARC? Do you REAAAAAALLY want to spit in their faces? Because I guarantee you that a dirty little white boy out for a drive is going to look SOOOOO good to a bunch of lonely guerrillas.

merk said...

dear mindy, such is the exact reason we are mounting a machine gun turret on the back half of matt's pathfinder..

Aricka said...

Careful, my in-laws good friend was kidnapped by drug lords and with my dad sorta being one, they aren't messing around. There is no running, there is only a sudden attack. You shouldn't go!!!!!