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End of March 2006,

I am going back home...

This is it! Yep, the trip is over! I should have been to Brazil and visit some friends, see the famous Iguazu falls, relax on the beach, party in Rio and suddenly everything changed; I have decided to stop in Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina. I am not complaining as it is a hot place... very hot! The reason is simple, I have realized the challenge I gave to myself and from now on, the trip doesn't give me anything anymore. The extra to Brazil would have only been for pleasure but the critical financial situation and a potential contract coming in Europe have made me decide to stop here. As we say in French: "the shortest jokes are always the best jokes". Well, my joke went on for 10 months (and I originally had planned 6 only), it is therefore time to think of moving on. What would another month on the saddle bring me? Eating more scenery and kilometers? Hearing more snores in sketchy hostels? Being bitten by how many more moskitoes? Repeat again and again to unknown people how fast my bike goes, how much does it cost, why doing this trip... There is no more reason to do this trip because Alaska and Ushuaia are behind me and Bilou is such in a grumpy stage that she doesn't even have a decent value for others... So, don't be afraid of decisions, of having Craig and Lucy desappointed (if they are real friends they will understand). Go back home to fill up your tank again and leave to this trip the beauty it has built along the road.

But what is this beauty that I am talking about? First, I realized an old time dream: take the time in life to do alone a unique adventure. Then, I realized the challenge I gave to myself 3 years ago: going from the top north to the top south of the American continents on a motorbike in order to see authentic sceneries. Finally, I realized a rich human adventure in meeting so many different people along the road.

These people were all warmer and richer one after the other. Mentioning first my friends who supported, read, wrote, sponsored me during those long months of preparation and travel. Then the good moments during the trip with my travel companions, Brad, Melissa, Tim, Maya, but also others like learning how to change tyres with CJ, Canada Day with Ivan, going down Copper Canyon with the "Creel Chat Club", meeting my "cousins" in Mexico, spending time with the old friends in Belize, the comfy bed at Bernard and Rosemary's as I was almost dying of fever, teaching French cuisine to the fun group of Bogota, the wonderful weekend in Ambato riding between volcanos, the vacation with Jen to the Sun Temple, the fun dancing night with Peter and Klaus in Mendoza, the good moments with Roberto in Santiago, the two weeks in Ushuaia at Oscar and Sonia's... And these are only a sample. I can't forget the multitude of people met in the street, at gas stations, in the middle of nowhere, just to exchange a few words, a look, an expression.

The ones who impressed me the most were the women in Peru and Bolivia coming and touching me without talking, in order to see if I was real, if it was possible that a woman could go on her own on that motorbike around the world. The adventure that I liked the most was by far the trip to La Higuera in Bolivia where between two very challenging trails, I met people who lived with Che Guevara, this looser who became the international symbol of revolution. But, most of all, what gave me warmth to the heart where those children, those kids met here and there with who I shared so many coockies and who I laughed with so often about simple things. Kids are the real life and I often had a "heavy heart" to leave them behind me knowing that their chance of healthy and interesting future was so low. Those feelings of weakness regarding poverty had also helped me to leave. At those moments, I would remember a very classic phrase from Mother Theresa regarding her charity center in Calcuta: " it might be a rain drop, but if it wasn't there, it would be missing." I asked myself so often which rain drop I added to the world; I recieved so much during this trip... Well, one knows that in order to be able to give to someone, you need first to be a strong person, and this trip offered me the opportunity to build myself.

I am now in Buenos Aires with the little satisfaction of having realized, with as much love as possible, a very small rain drop for humanity. But I also have the big satisfaction of having realized, with as much fun as possible, an adventure of a life time. I am going back home confident and calm, and already thinking about the next trip, the next dream I am going to realize, a dream that I hope not to do alone, a dream that I hope to share and that will add a bigger rain drop to the world.

Come back soon...


To read the stories, click on the following links: San Francisco // Road to Alaska // Alaska // Midnight Sun Ride // Last Days in Alaska // Canada // USA // Mexico, The Touristy Way // Mexico, The Traveling Way // Central America // Colombia // Ecuador // Peru // ... in French ... // The End