Updated: May 25, 2020
Here I am, a regular Finnish guy driving an old Colombian motorcycle through long, waving Chilean coastal roads. Every now and then elevating over the mountains and coming back down to the coast. I had been dreaming of traveling with a motorcycle and now the dream was unfolding. The sense of freedom was almost overwhelming. As long as I had gasoline, water and food I could go wherever I wanted, pause where I wanted and camp where I wanted. Wind singing in my ears and mind filled with beautiful landscapes of ocean views and desert mountains I was in a bubble of love on first sight.. which of course, soon would be blown away.
Me and my duct taped Colombian arrow just before taking off from Santiago, Chile, 2015
On the way I had learned how the locals avoid the road tolls and with my limited budget I decided to follow the lead. I'd rather invest my pennies in the small family owned restaurants and groceries than the corrupted government's toll system. After all, it was easy to exit the highway a kilometer before to a sandy path, drive around the whole fenced area and wave to the officers. They wouldn't care less. It was less trouble too. Being a gringo on a bike alone seemed to be very interesting to all the smurfs who where stationed around the tolls. Showing them papers and explaining my story took time that I wanted to use otherwise. The first day I drove for 14 hours. Exhausted I arrived to a gasoline station and had a rest on the parking lot.. I didn't bother to set up my tent but layed down on a tiny grass plot between the lots and used my backpack as a pillow. 5:30 AM I got up and felt okay to get on the road again. The wind in my face felt great and the day had gone by really nicely. Just in time for the sunset I was climbing up the road that was taking me to higher grounds. The view was incredibly beautiful. Soon I realised that the temperature might drop below zero on that altitude and I dropped speed. Around eleven o'clock the temperature was below zero. No one else on the road except of a passing truck every 20 minutes. Then, it suddenly got pitch black! The electricity of the bike went down with the lights. I had no choise than to set up a camp in the middle of the cold desert. Hoping that no one would pay attention to a tent laying some 50 meters from the highway, I fell asleep and woke up at sun rise to continue the journey.
Somewhere in Chilean desert, 2015 Not far from where I camped, I found a restaurant by the highway. When I told about my problem the owner told me to go to a group of mechanics and electricians working on some huge mining equipment by the road. I drove up to them and asked for a hand. It was amazing how they all dropped whatever they were doing and came down to me. Immediately starting to examine and tear down the whole bike and fix it while chatting and laying out questions of my travel. I offered them some fat Peruvian Mapachos (jungle tobacco) while telling funny stories of my travels. Really warm hearted people so I enjoyed talking with them and listening to their stories. When they were finished with the bike they even gave me food, drink and a bag of local herb to take away. I was so amazed and deeply expressed my gratitude for their kindness. I promised one of the guys, who particularly had interested in the bike, that if I couldn't make it over the border with the bike, I would hand it to him. We exchanged numbers and I went on my way. With grateful heart and fixed motorcycle I was on the road again and heading up to Antofagasta! Ps. If you would like to support my ongoing journey as an artist, please see the Store page and available Paintings or contact to order an artwork, Thank You! #uni #blog #motorcyclediary #helpfulhands #travel #art #chile #bolivia #santiago #atacama #streetart