Cycling South America
Countries, South America

How cycling through South America changed my life

{GUESTPOST} Written by Freddy Gomes – In December of 2016 I started the journey of a lifetime. After spending a few months in Rio de Janeiro I was ready to cross the South American continent, all the way to Quito in Ecuador. I’d bought a bicyclefor $ 80, and knew it was going to be an enormous challenge because I was traveling without money.

$80 bicycle, 75 days, cycling 3200KM through 5 countries in South America. 

The route would lead me through the states of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Mato Grosso do Sol in Brazil (after touching the border with Paraguay). From here I traveled through Bolivia, Peru and would end my journey after almost 3 months in Quito.

This incredible journey changed my life, and here’s why:


Cycling Brazil Paraguay

I had to face my fears
The idea of going on an adventure with so many uncertainties scared me. It was going to be unlike anything I had ever done, and although I knew that totally stepping out my comfort-zone would be a very valuable experience, I had my doubts.
One of the things that scared me the most, was having to spend my nights outside. Where would I sleep? How would I keep myself safe?

Until the morning of my trip I was’t sure if I would have the courage to jump on that bicycle. But because I did, it made me stronger. With every day that passed, and every setback I had to endure, I became more confident and aware of how certain emotions trick us into believing that there are goals we can’t achieve.

“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t really you so you can be who you were ment to be in the first place…”
– Unknown

Cycling Brazil Paraguay

I took a good look in the mirror
There was nothing as difficult as setting up to spent a night sleeping outside, especially in the beginning of my adventure. These were moments I was all alone with my thoughts, and I would spend hours thinking about different things in my life. Those first times I told myself that sleeping outside was all about the adventure, that this was not my reality.

I quickly realised that it actually was my reality. I had spent years focussing too much on my adventures, and too little on how to create a steady income for myself. Maybe I felt some kind of comfort in having little money to spend. But it was time to make a change. Not because I suddenly thought money was important, but mainly because I wasn’t working to reach my full potential.

It taught me about patience
After a very hard first day of biking towards the ‘Green Coast’ between the cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo I came to the conclusion that I only did 37,5 miles. I asked myself how I was ever going to make it to Quito or even Bogota.

The thing is, with every mile I was a step closer to my end goal. There were days when I would push the bike up a mountain for hours and I would feel ready to give up.
I started to really understand that any type of progress, no matter how small was an important part of this journey and of life in general. It’s all about consistency.

“If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try…”
– Seth Godin


Cycling South America


Freddy Gomes (35) loves to write about his adventures, and for his website He is the founder of the Sonvela Foundation, mostly active in Cape Verde

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