22 04 2010

Happy Earth Day, Earth creatures.

Earth Day is a holiday that gives us the opportunity to pledge our support for the environment.

So, what will you do today (or all this year) to make the Earth a healthier place?

Click “comment” below and tell us!

(note: I glanced at some simlilar forums online and noticed a lot of people saying they plan to drive less. That’s okay, but I think we can do better. Driving less doesn’t help the Earth directly, it just hurts it less. Pledging to drive less on Earth Day is like pledging to flick fewer cigarette butts at your grandmother on Grandmother’s Day.)


The Domino Effect

21 04 2010


The Three Bikers of Baños

A fellow traveller, once a bus-traveller, writes: “A Change of Plans. On March 26, 2010 I left Buenos Aires, Argentina. I am heading back to Southern California. I am, however, traveling by bicycle.” Fantastic!

Then I found this on his blog

Argentina, where I was attacked by killer bees: “On, March 27, my second day of riding, I rode through a large swarm of bees. I didn´t even see it coming. I just felt one hit my arm, looked up and…while I wish I could say that everything slowed down and like Keanu in the Matrix, I dodged them all like a CGI acrobat, I don´t want to brag. Actually, I don´t even think I remembered to close my mouth. Hopefully that doesn´t happen again…” 

And the domino effect:

(Flashback to December of last year): “Later that night in the rooftop, self-serve honor-system bar, I started talking to this guy… As it turns out, Sam has been working with the Peace Corps in Paraguay for the past two years and is headed home now, on his bicycle. He is riding his bike to raise money to save the rainforest where he lived in Paraguay ( He shouldn´t even have been in Baños but he had a problem with a tire and no where in town even carried the proper size replacement. So, he had been waiting for a few days for a replacement to come in from Colombia. For some, unknown reason I became curious. We talked for a while, he answered a bunch of questions and we ended up heading out for the night in a big group.

I still don´t know what it was about our chat, but something planted in my mind, “Hey, you should do that!” And I was seriously thinking about it. So, the next day, I woke up after sleeping for four hours, rented a bike and took off on a 35 mile trail down river to the east. I had done the same trail on the previous trip, but on an ATV. I figured, let´s have this be a little mini-test to see if I am capable of this kind of thing. About twenty miles into the trip, the back wheel began shaking from side to side. “No problem”, I thought, “I can handle a little shaking, let´s see if it gets any worse…”. Well, after the next patch of gravel, the rear wheel began shaking rather violently. I had to stop. I quickly realized that I don´t know the first thing about bicycle maintenance. “Hmm, that may be something worth looking into if I decide to go through with this”, I thought to myself. So, I hitch-hiked back into town, feeling really excited about the ride I had just had, but with a creeping sense of doubt as to my ineptitude as an emergency bicycle repairman.

The next day Sam´s new tires had arrived and he was heading north to continue his trip back home. I decided to give it another try and joined him for the ride from Baños to Ambato some 25 miles away. At some point I asked him, “OK, I know that if I end up doing this it will be an adventure etc., but, given what you know about me, do you think I would be putting myself in unnecessary risk given my total lack of knowledge of the bicycle?”. He gave me an unequivocal, “No, it would not be taking a stupid risk, you can do this.

We ended up riding together for six hours, 90% of it uphill. As I turned back towards Baños and Sam continued on to Ambato, I felt uplifted by his endorsement, but in the back of my head that same sense of doubt was creeping, but now it was directed toward my physical capabilities.

Despite this doubt, the moment he told me I would not be making a rash decision, I knew I had to do this.”

The biggest risk is the naysayage, the dominoes that kill dreams, spouted from the mouths of people who call dreams impossible.

Hope you’re enjoying the ride, Matt!

And for any students out there who have been inspired and want to do something about it, check out to ride across the U.S. with 20 other students while supporting affordable housing.

Update from Puerto Escondido, Mexico

18 04 2010

photo courtesy of

For those of you wondering where Waldo is, I send you saludos from “Hidden Port,” Mexico in the Department of Oaxaca.

After riding across the Guatemala/Mexico border with slight knee pain I decided to cheat a bit by bus hopping through the mountains and down to the coast in order to make it to Northern Mexico in time to ride a couple of weeks with my father and then make it to my sister’s wedding on time (congratulations Chelsea!) (…and I promise I’ll make up skipped mileage in Arizona everybody!)

It is ridiculously hot here but I’m cruising steadily up the coast. As I mentioned during my days in Argentina’s scalding Chaco, 110 degree days are managable due to the slight breeze you get while cycling. The difficulty lies in the 90 degree nights, stuck inside a tent with no breeze, sweating puddles and then riding another day on a few hours of fidgety sleep. I can’t complain too much though; as the other volunteers and I discussed in Paraguay, we know this is temporary and we will soon be going back to air-conditioned homes.

I feel like I’m racing the sun. I’m moving northward as quickly as possible and I know it’s moving that way too, bringing summer from the southern hemisphere to the northern.

A huge part of me feels like the tour is already ending, but I still have a lot of work ahead of me. I’ll keep racing the sun and I hope you all will continue to support me, spreading the word on your blogs and facebook, and considering donating by clicking that FirstGiving link over there to your right.

Thanks so much everybody!

Aurora’s Climate Cycle

18 04 2010

Hey everybody (and especially Peace Corps Paraguay folks),

I got an email from a Peace Corps friend, Aurora, announcing that she’ll be participating in an environmental bicycle ride to support green education in Chicago! It’s called Climate Cycle, and here’s what she has to say about it:

“On May 15th I’ll be riding a 20-mile loop on Lake Michigan (well, not ON Lake Michigan —  next to it) to raise money for solar panels and green education  in Chicago Public Schools.

If you are wondering if this is worth your donation, I can tell you that I have met one of the students this program has benefitted and her enthusiasm inspired me to participate.”

The organization’s website is and Aurora’s personal donation page can be found at

Terehoporaiteke pe kavajupiruari Aurora!

Give me a break, give me a break, break me off a piece of that Orangutan Finger

18 04 2010

GreenPeace’s newest feature, reminding us with bloody humor that we are paying the corporations to do what they do… which in this case is rainforest destruction.

Update from MEXICO, or… Florida?

16 04 2010

You boys like Méjicoooo?! Yeeehaw!

Greetings from, er… North America?

Wikipedia says:

1) WHAT IS NORTH AMERICA?: “North America is often divided into subregions but no universally accepted divisions exist.”

2) US AND CANADA: North America may be used to refer to the United States and Canada together.

3) “MEXICO TOO?: “Usage often includes Mexico (as with North American Free Trade Agreement) and other entities.”

4) FLORIDA WHAT?: “The Spanish called North America Florida.

5) OR VIRGINIA!: “The English called their portion of North America Virginia.

6) NORTH-ERN- AMERICA: “Northern America is used to refer to the northern countries and territories of North America: Canada, the United States, Greenland, Bermuda, and St. Pierre and Miquelon. They are often considered distinct from the southern portion of the Americas, which largely comprise Latin America.”


So, it seems safe to say I am in North America (at least geo-politically) but I am not in Northern America.


Or perhaps I hit North America months ago when good ol’ Captain Jean and I sailed into the Kuna Yala islands off the coast of Panama,

7) CENTRAL AMERICA: “Central America comprises the southern region of (North America).”

Sweet Recycled Products

15 04 2010

Resourcefulness is certainly a virtue. Buying stuff you don’t need is not. Put the two together and what do you get? A camera made of beer cans!

Car Tire Sandals

Cookie Wrapper Purse

Beer Can Camera