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“Yes, often, I am reminded of her, and in one of my vast array of pockets, I have kept her story to retell. It is one of the small legion I carry, each one extraordinary in its own right. Each one an attempt— an immense leap of an attempt— to prove to me that you, and your human existence, are worth it. Here it is. One of a handful. If you feel like it, come with me. I will tell you a story. I’ll show you something.” —Markus Zusak I ran out of gas yesterday in the desert, a stretch of highway so vast, distant oncoming vehicles looked like mirages in the afternoon heat, their headlights shimmering and flickering like flames. So many of the small towns along the way in Peru weren’t marked on my map, so I assumed this 3 hour stretch would be the same. Over an hour and a half from the nearest town in either direction, my gas light came on, and there was nothing but desert. I estimated I had about 30 kilometers to go before stalling out, and scanned the horizon hoping for something. Sparse trees and pale yellow sand stretched in every direction so far it almost looked like I was nearing the sea, the sand blurring to a pale blue as it met the sky in the distance— just another mirage. 20 kilometers to go. 10. All of a sudden, a tiny house came into view, almost hidden in the dusty sand. I quickly slowed and pulled onto the flat space in front where a group of five men were just sitting down to lunch. Just a second, they told me in Spanish, yes we have gasoline. I did a little dance while a woman came out of the house with a large funnel and huge plastic jug of yellow gas.
“So many … risk so little, they spend their lives avoiding danger. I’d risk everything to get what I want.” —Game of Thrones For all the women who’ve had to endure ‘go back to the kitchen and make me a sandwich’ jokes. For all the women who’ve ever had a man crawl into their bed in the middle of the night in a hostel dormitory. For all the women riding motorcycles who’ve had to endure monologues from men with less experience who’ve decided to place themselves in the role of instructor. For all of the women who’ve been told it’s not safe to sleep outside alone— for all the women who’ve been told ‘it’s not safe’ by people who continue to prop up misogynist cultural norms and men that continue to make it so. For all the women who have been followed home, trolled online, and shouted at walking down the street. For all the women who’ve been told ‘he’s harmless’ to invalidate their experiences. For all the girls who have been told to stay silent, and haven’t been protected by older women. For all the women with male family members and male friends who couldn’t be bothered with the Women’s March, or the Kavanaugh hearings, because it doesn’t directly affect them. For all the women— I stand with you. #KavanuaghHearings #YesAllWomen #BelieveWomen #MeToo #TimesUp
“Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like rain.” ―Markus Zusak No matter what’s going on in my life, I know I can always pack a bag the same way with the same things and head out to the woods to sleep under the stars for the wild perspective no matter how big things feel, they’re nothing— and I’m nothing— to the infinite sky. I can lie there and feel small, the kind of small that feels hidden instead of invisible, the darkness like an old sweater.
“It is the same woman, I know, for she is always creeping, and most women do not creep by daylight.” ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman Is it really as backpacking trip if you aren’t carrying a campfire on your back miles through the wilderness? Photo by @_mallorybenedict Words by @lonerucksack
You must learn one thing. The world was made to be free in. Give up all the other worlds except the one to which you belong. Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you. —David Whyte Weeks ago, I was riding from northern Colombia to Medellin— a grueling ten hours on the bike. Five hours in, thunderclouds darkened the sky above on a remote section of the two-lane road. The wind picked up and started to blow my bike around the road, and soon raindrops were pelting my helmet making it hard to see. I quickly turned down a tiny gravel road to my left, and pulled the bike under an enormous tree and ran for what looked like an abandoned hotel with an awning. In a far corner there was a man sitting in a white plastic chair watching a TV mounted on the wall. He casually waved me over, like I wasn’t a gringa who just showed up out of nowhere soaking wet. We sat there together for an hour silently watching TV, and when the rain let up, we nodded to each other, and I continued down the road.
“Won’t change what I am to find out who you are. Can't stay in these lines when I'm bursting at the seams. My body might collapse if I carry one more dream. I could be anything.” —The Glitch Mob ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ I waited an entire year to see my motorcycle loaded up onto a boat, and sail around the Darien Gap. On July 14th, one year after my accident, I spent the day on a small island- my motorcycle in the distance on the sailboat— snorkeling, eating lobster, and watching the sun set behind the swaying palm trees as the light faded to the clearest stars I’ve ever seen.
“In the light, we read the inventions of others; in the darkness we invent our own stories.” ―Alberto Manguel ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I thought about every adventure story I had ever read about the sea— about deserted islands and storms and the sound of creaking ropes in the darkness. I thought about portholes and sharks and coconuts and what it would feel like to glide through the water towards the islands. I thought about my motorcycle strapped to the deck of the ship and what it would feel like to arrive in Colombia, but mostly I watched as the early morning light colored the island.