Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A New Beginning

Despite the massive losses and the interruption of the trip of a lifetime, my return from the fangs of Death has given me the chance for a fresh start in life. With a hyperactive mind continuously tracing viable plans after the end of the expedition and the modus operandi in case of a millionaire barn find or a catastrophic interruption, it may seem as if I had been waiting for a disgrace to happen, as if this accident had been a convenient excuse to execute my next trick, as unharmed as a circus enchanter. The speed with which I have returned to a normal life may have given that particular impression to many of our readers, but let us remember you are dealing with someone who has been blessed with formidable luck but still never leaves anything to chance.

Right now I am still recovering from all the combined pains in my torso, and have opened an automotive trading company named Oliden Group, whose website you can check [here].

How do you survive this? With a mix of good fortune, German engineering and good health.

The course of events really felt like a supernatural force trying to skew my life in a predetermined direction. Certainly, I stepped into the Southern continent with a mixed sensation of frustrated tiredness –bordering on anger– and overwhelming longing for finding a home in my actions. Despite being in tip top physical shape, taking much better care of my body than I had in my days as a mechanic, I missed many things about home –in Spain and the US–: the comforting feeling of safety, as opposed to an eternal –and tiresome– state of alert, the idea of human life being worth more than that of an animal,  the notion of the common good instead of the wearing opportunism, and the Western notions of order and reason governing life and politics. It is a longing hard to put into words, into more than a suffocated grunt when one sees children ride the back of a speeding pickup truck. It is a feeling of combined everyday struggle to keep in one piece, and the powerlessness before a system so big and so wrong. One individual cannot change a stubborn culture, one that has bases so corrupt that make change impossible for the common man.

A few days after the accident I started to feel a strong claustrophobia that went beyond my aching ribcage. I had seen my bank account and had to make a decision: to continue in a new car, or to return home and start my business. Despite browsing the local classifieds for days, soon it became evident that it would be a reckless decision to continue. I had grown tired of pinching pennies along the route, of the monstrous disappointments every time an irreplaceable valuable got stolen, and the loss of something so mundane, yet so loved as Livingstone, nonetheless. These two continents, with their share of thugs, poisonous insects and reckless drivers, had taken too much from my health, my pocket, my select belongings and my sanity to keep adventuring into its dark heart without the safety of a substantial backup and rest. A week after the crash, I booked a flight home, and with the invaluable help of a junkyard man, picked up a few scattered, wet items from amongst the piles of shattered glass and bent steel.

I had forgotten the golden, dusty haze of Madrid mornings!
I sat on a wheelchair and was told to wait. My body was so weak I could not even carry my backpack without the strident knife of pain in my back. Nine hours later I found myself walking like an old man towards a water fountain, arched and hurting, but a lot wiser. Explaining everything I have learned in these last months in a single post would be silly –but something I'm sure is that as well as understanding mankind a little better, perhaps the biggest change was in my views about home. I no longer abhorred Spain. I was happy to be there, despite all the wrong, all the chaos.

The AVE (Spanish High Speed Train), the equivalent of the French TGV.
A fresh hot churro twirled in a cup of chocolate as I awaited the train. It had been years since I had ridden one. And it felt refreshing to see the flat landscapes, very much like the ones in Kansas, pass quietly by my window. Everything in that train was impregnated with a reverent quietness. I breathed, and breathed calm. The train stops and I stumble out with my luggage. My father, lanky and dressed in black as always, waits on the platform.

Returning to my birthplace to live there again is truly humbling, despite having all reasons not to be.


  1. To me, your story began as vicarious novelty. A Wichita resident striking out across the globe in a simple car, doing that which I - having escaped Wichita some ten years earlier - hadn't even considered as being possible, was met with all manner of fanfare.

    You stayed the course, and pressed on, sharing your journey with the rest of us. We saw places we may never visit. Met people we may never know. And we shared your despair at Livingstone's gallant, if not frustrating sacrifice.

    And so the next chapter begins. The story has taken on a prodigal tone. You have learned much about the world, about yourself. I hope you find that magical place existing within the arc of life's pendulum and look forward to your future adventures.

    Never give up.
    The best is yet to come.

    PS: Now might be a good time to write back to all those who wished you well by mail at the start of your trip. Temper your regrets with gratitude. You never know what might come of a personal thank you letter and brief, end-of-trip report. ;)

    1. I have never been more glad, more thankful to be alive than now. I shall treat this new chapter with the preciousness of a gift –which it is!

  2. Glad to hear this Miguel ;

    I was worried the entire time you were South , having lived there my own self .

    I'm sure you'll do well in whatever endevour you try , just remember as life goes on : you're right , greed and avarice take a terrible toll on one's Soul , don't let it happen to you ~! .

    I think one person *can* make a difference as long as they decide to live this way , for the common good of all .

    Hail Fellow Well met ! keep us posted please .


  3. I am very vigilant on not basing my life on money, but I still realize it is a substantial need to make great things happen. Something I can definitely tell you is that I will never pile up money for the sake of it!