list 3 – stuff that helped

Another semi-traditional list. Just some things that come to mind, everyone’s list is different and this is just our experience.

1) Where are your next tires coming from? Replace them early if you can afford to. Research tire shops well ahead of time.

2) The food is dull after Mexico. You might go crazy. Eat street food whenever possible.

3) All you need is a smile, all the time, no matter what is happening around you.  Wave at people. Let kids climb on your bike but stay close.

4) One of the advantages of riding solo is that it’s possible to run short of washing/drying opportunities or just be lazy and wear the same boxers days in a row without consequence.

5) Scale down your ambitions. A good days ride is 250 miles on pavement, 150 miles on dirt. Ride 2 days of 3 only. Just my opinion.

6) Don’t ask locals for directions. They often don’t know and will make stuff up.

7) Hide extra cash in $US and keep it topped up when you can, which won’t be often. You will need it: everyone has at least one cash epic and $US are accepted everywhere.

8) Buy what you’ll need when you first see it. It may not appear again for a long time. Don’t run to the end of your toothpaste.

9) Force yourself to not to be carrying something that can be bought or borrowed the once or twice it’ll be needed. This will cut your weight down by as much as half.

10) Nothing will go wrong. Until it does. So don’t worry about anything until then.

11) Be good with paperwork and make lots of copies in advance. Learn to enjoy difficult borders. Don’t ask Latina immigration officers out to dinner.

12) Don’t dress like a slob, specially if you’re solo and don’t have companions for group shelter. It’s just respect and good manners, both of which matter hugely in Latin America.

13) The Latinas will steal your heart. The Latinos will steal everything else.

14) Don’t pass a gas station in Peru, Bolivia, Chile or Argentina without topping up.

15) To quote Donald, there are countless known unknowns and unknown unknowns, which is at first unsettling. More so solo, where you don’t have any knowns. Here we’re indeed idiot gringos.

16) You’ll be very sorry to leave.

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