Almost exactly one year after that memorable first trip from South Florida to Alaska, in which I rode 19,000 miles and stayed 10 weeks on the road, I’m about to start another long summer road trip. Tomorrow morning, after a nice Father’s Day breakfast with Nicole, Duda, Nanda and Gui, I’ll be once again embarking on a much anticipated journey, headed to… Alaska, of all places!
This may not come as a surprise for many of my friends, since a couple of months ago I decided that I had to go back this year as well. It is certainly a surprise for me, though, for if by the end of last year’s trip someone would have told me that I would be riding the beautiful roads on the Northwest so soon, I’d have laughed, and laughed hard. It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime after all, the cliche feeling quite appropriate, despite being so overused in these days and times of social media. What can I say? It was an unique experience, and there’s simply no way I can replicate it, no matter how hard I may try. The experience of being out there for the very first time was truly unique, and one I will cherish forever.
Then again, I’m not looking to relive that first trip at all. I guess I can say I know better than that… There are plenty of reasons to be on the road again this summer, and many more to make Alaska the destination for 2014. This is not the right time to discuss them, and this first trip post is supposed to be a quick one, since there’s still a lot left to be done today before I can declare myself ready to go. What I can say right now is that this year’s destination doesn’t mean I’m somehow lacking in imagination (so many places to ride to, and you’re going back?). The truth is quite the contrary: it is exactly because sometimes I tend to suffer from too much imagination, that I’m headed back to some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever known in my whole life.
Trying to keep the post short, let’s just say that it became clear to me that last year’s was an exploratory journey, a long road trip to places I’ve never been to and that were long on my list of destinations. I prepared a lot for that first trip, but I wasn’t prepared for what I ended up seeing, and for how good and right life on the road felt. The places I’ve visited, the friends I’ve made, all came together to make that trip way more than the sum of its parts. After 10 weeks of such a wonderful experience, it became clear that it was going to represent a turning point in my life, although I didn’t know back then in how many different ways.
A few months after I came back, when the dust was finally settling down, I was able to start reflecting on my days on the road and their impact in changing my life. Everything finally made sense somehow, and I set myself to go after quite a few different projects and ideas, all of them related to the trip, in one way or another. One of these projects is to further explore Alaska as a photographer, detached from the obvious “first-time-tourist” inevitable limitations. There’s much to see and register up there, and saying that I got it right by riding for the first time through all that vastness for two or three weeks wouldn’t be, well… right! The plan is to take my time this year, looking for what I know I’ve missed in 2013, and for what I haven’t seen at all as well. As a photographer, I can honestly say that few other places on Earth offer so much in a “single package”, and a second trip to Alaska won’t be enough. Then again, the 20th visit also wouldn’t be enough, so there’s no harm in going back and trying to do the best I can.
Other reasons for hitting the road up North are also very solid and justifiable, but they will be known when the time is right. What I can say now is that I’m very much excited for a great project, an idea which I started developing a few days before I got back home last year, while I was riding somewhere between Amarillo and Texarkana on a very hot and cloudless mid-August afternoon. I remember the very moment when the idea hit me, and how crazy and far-fetched it seemed back then, but I knew right away that it was something worth pursuing. Enough said for now, but I’m hoping I will be able to further discuss the project here on this travel blog in the next few weeks on the road. Stay tuned!
Roger and over for now, time to finish the preparations and get ready once again. I’m feeling every bit as excited as I was feeling last year, and I’ll try my best to post a few updates from the trip every now and then. I just don’t imagine I will be able to do it as frequently as I did last year, for there will a lot of work to do once I get to Alaska, but you can count on a line or two whenever I get the chance to stop and process a few images.
As the saying goes, a rolling stone gathers no moss, and I plan to keep on rollin’…