You were my first love on the trip through the Americas, but like any true love, you hurt me so much. Right from the beginning, your fierce Patagonian winds tested my commitment to the long paths. But I know that you wanted to strengthen me. Those roads of ups and downs, those endless fields of Pampas grasslands waving in the wind, those gushing rivers, lofty peaks and pristine glaciers, they were all there to teach me life lessons.
It was on your land where I took my first pedal to the north and where I first tasted the spirit of adventure. For years, while I pedalled through mountains, deserts, and forests, sleeping in abandoned places and encountering ghosts along the way, it was you who told me I was on the right track when my destination remained out of sight all the time. During the first days of fears and uncertainty, when I did not dare to disclose my goal to anyone, you whispered something into my ears that kept me going. I still remember the poise of Patagonian Gauchos on their spirited horses, the smile of a toothless person who welcomed strangers to his place, and the earthly flavour of hot Máte drink that we sipped from the same gourd. As the cup went in a circle among host and guests in a counter-clockwise direction, the time stopped for us.
Dear Argentina, whatever treasures I discovered on the long road to Alaska, their quest started from you. Whatever I have become in the end, you laid the foundation of it.
When I yearned for the divine, you made me look inside. I wanted to behold the finest work of nature, and you turned me into eyes. I longed to know what was inside me, and you set my heart on fire.
I was a bird in the cage when I landed in Ushuaia. You opened the cage and set me free.
For that and everything else, my dear Argentina, I will always love you!
Happy Independence Day!