Readers' Trips and Photos
Video: Hell + Back
Contributing Editor Kira Salak reports from the Amazon on ayahuasca, a shamanistic brew said to cure everything from depression to cancer.
Watch the video
Watch Will Gadd climbing a crumbling iceberg off Labrador's coast.
Watch the video
Your Story: Living the Dream
Gregg Bleakney, 32, cycling from Alaska to Argentina with friend Brooks Allen on their Ribbon of Road journey.
Text by Gregg Bleakney Photograph by Brooks Allen
||Reader Gregg Bleakney (right) and buddy Brooks Allen explore Guatemala's Tikal on their ride of a lifetime.
In our October cover story, What It Takes '06: Big Dreams, we profiled 11 everyday people who made their wildest adventure dreams come true. Now it's time for you to share your big feats and lessons learned in our new Your Story column.
First up: Seattle reader Gregg Bleakney and his friend Brooks Allen, who are pedaling the Americas from tip to tail to raise money for diabetes research, in a project they dubbed Ribbon of Road. Bleakney gave us a few pointers during a pit stop at Machu Picchu in Peru.
Gregg Bleakney's Lessons Learned
|Have you accomplished an adventure dream? |
Send us your own digital photographs and story. We're interested in the unexpected lessons you learned while working toward your big goal. Originality and humor will help your chances. One reader's story will be published in the magazine each month.
Email us >>
"In 100 Mile House, a former South Cariboo gold rush town in British Columbia, I camped with a 78-year-old Russian military captain. Over a few beers, he shared his most important safety rule for traveling in foreign lands: 'Always remember that nobody wants to fight, cheat, or rob a nice guy.' Sometimes it's tough to be nice when you've ridden 80 miles [129 kilometers] in 100 degree [38 degrees Celsius] heat through the Peruvian coastal desert and you're attempting to order dinner for the tenth time from a women who claims that your money is fake. But I've fully embraced this rule and it hasn't let me down so far."
Get Primal. "Smell things, stare at things, touch things, taste odd-looking food, and talk to strangers. At some point during my middle-class American upbringing, I lost touch with my animal instincts. When traveling on bicycle you are much more exposed to the elements than when traveling in a car or bus. Engage all of your five senses to better protect yourself and interpret the world around you."
Surround Yourself With People Who Support You and Your Dream. "While cycling on a jungle road in Chiapas, Mexico, I was assaulted and robbed by machete-toting banditos. As a result, I lost a substantial amount of gear, my cycling partner, and my self-confidence. My sponsors immediately sent replacement gear and my friends and family gave me the emotional support I needed to continue with my journey. Without their support, I would likely be nine to five-ing it right now, daydreaming about what could have been. Brooks rejoined the trip a few months later."
Simplify. "The less stuff you have, the less you have to worry about. My bike and gear tipped the scales at 135 pounds [61 kilograms] when I started this trip in Alaska. Through a large 'mail-home' package, misplacements, and mysterious disappearances, my kit now weighs in at under 100 pounds [45 kilograms]. I don´t miss anything, especially when climbing 16,000-foot [4,877-meter] passes in the Andes." (See Andes photos >>)
Surrender Yourself to Your Dream. "After about nine months of being on the road, I finally realized that this experience was not just a temporary departure from my real life, but that my dream had actually become my life. At that point, I became more flexible with my planning. I let my dream pull me forward, rather than me attempting to push it forward. Since this 'surrendering,' I've been much more relaxed, happy, and able to cope when things go awry."
Read more about Gregg and Brooks's trip at www.ribbonofroad.com.
Have you reached your adventure dream? Send us your own digital photographs and story. We're interested in the unexpected lessons you learned while working toward your big goal. Originality and humor will help your chances. One reader's story will be published in the magazine each month. Email us >>