“Peace is always beautiful." – Walt Withman
We left the airport victorious. With his name on the TIP, Jason could drive La Chichona wherever he fancied. We went back to Lucio’s and waited for the money to travel to my account. In two days, Jason will officially be La Chichona's new owner.
Lucio's house welcomed travelers passing by. In the past two weeks, I met over twenty people from all walks of life. The most memorable were a South African couple with a tragic and beautiful family story, a Canadian girl dirtier than her dirt bike, three French students on their bycicles, and a veteran with his dog. Most of these folks traveled, and a few wandered.
The travelers have something or someone waiting for them, a reason to go back home. The wanderers have the road. "Wandering's the most addictive drug there is. Every hidden road leads on to a dozen more", said Stephen King. Jason and I agreed on that. The thrill is never gone.
Jason sold his business in Australia two years before, and had been backpacking since. After crossing half the world, he wanted more comfort, hence La Chichona. Jason planned to resume my trip where I left it, and drive South along the Pan-American highway (Pan-Am).
Lucio knew the Pan-Am better than all his guests combined. In his early twenties, he moved to the US to work. He broke his back for a decade in the construction industry, and returned to Costa Rica with a million dollars. Lucio enjoyed the luxury lifestyle for three months, then he got bored.
For the following six years, Lucio wandered on the Pan-Am. He sought gems in the US and sold them in Costa Rica for profit. Trucks in the Midwest states, collection cars, motorcycles etc. Lucio filled a truck with valuables and drove it back down. "Those were the best years of my life. Don't tell my wife haha", he confessed. He lived on the edge while funding his adventures, then he married.
Lucio and his wife are bikers, and they urged me to continue my Pan-Am trip by bike. “This is when you really feel the elements”, he said. He offered me to ride one of his bikes down to Ushuaia. Once there, he would fly in, pick it up, and ride it back home. I admired his lightness. Lucio was a hard worker, a successful businessman, and the most generous traveler. Thank you again Lucio. I will be back.
Two and a half years before, La Chichona entered my life. We were slow, not so steady, but we stuck together through her breakdowns and mines. I loved her much and hated her more. Yet, I was bitter to see her go. Every toxic relationship has its good times, and those make us forget the rest.
Thanks to La Chichona, I was praised wherever I went. I was the guy my friends bragged about, the guy strangers looked up to, the man with the van. La Chichona was not only my home but my source of pride, my seductive asset, my identity. With her came a certain romanticism that forgave a lot. A hippie with a van is going places. A hippie on foot is just a bum. Heidi was right about that.
Jason and I switched places. He took the key and I took the money. Light and hopeful, I headed for a new start. Three years. Three years to get my shit together. Three years to ignore the call of the road. Then . . . come back with style, follow Lucio's path. His bike is waiting.
Travelers or wanderers, young or old, rich or poor, we all look for an end to our pain. We all look for peace. Whether that is the kiss of a child, the comfort of a bed, or spiritual ascension, peace is the ultimate goal. It makes us bear the pain. It makes our suffering meaningful. In search of peace, we do what we do.
I want to thank you, my reader, for your influence goes far deeper than your imagination. One genuine word of encouragement can fuel a struggling artist for years, and sharing this experience with you lifted me when I fell. You helped me heal and made me dream. I bow to you and say thank you. Thank you for your attention. Thank you for your support. Thank you for your kind words. They fueled me then, and fuel me now.
Thus ends La Chichona Life. I'll see you again in three years, if God wills. Three years to get my shit together and be back on the road, for that is my peace. Until then, I wish you well.
May you find your peace.
May peace be upon you.