Our good friends Jim and Jenny had helped us prepare for returning to normal life by sharing their own experiences after they returned from a similar trip across the Americas. We were prepared to feel a little bit lost, uncomfortable even. Luckily for us both we have arrived home full of excitement, motivation and ambition for what our future may hold. This is thanks to an amazing new project that we would like to introduce you to.
We would like you to meet Charlie the Adventure Bear. Inspired by the Original Charlie, Charlie the Adventure Bear will be the star of a Children’s book series aimed to entertain and educate children aged between 4-6 years old.
The idea was borne from a chat with our good friend Brett whilst we were relaxing in Santiago, Chile. He had said that ‘Charlie is the real adventurer in all of this!’
By this time Lorna had already created over 15 fact files for the children back at her school and Charlie had been through all of the ups and downs of such a huge trip with us. So, an idea turned into a project that we are now committed to prove a success.
We began to spend our days creating characters for the books, problems that Charlie may have to solve, the wonderful places that he will visit and people that he could meet. We soon realised that Charlie will be reliving our very own experiences but through the eyes of children- something that will hopefully inspire the next generation of budding adventurers!
We decided to make Charlie’s motorbike a magical motorbike and after talking to John, our illustrator, we added a sidecar for his friends to join him in. We decided that Charlie will live in England with his best friend Max and ride off into the World Map on Max’s bedroom wall to faraway places. He will meet friends but also some unfriendly characters too. He will visit famous sites and have to overcome problems on his way. All this is whilst Max is fast asleep. Charlie will always be home in time for Max to wake up and find a souvenir from his adventure stuffed into his little rucksack.
Now, if you had said to either of us that this would be our chosen path once we returned to the UK then we would have smiled and thought wow, what an amazing idea! Of course we had no idea back then that we would find ourselves in this position with such an incredible opportunity to share our adventures with children around the world.
So, please keep an eye out next time you are in a book store- Charlie and his Magic Motorbike may be riding around the book shelves in the children’s section!
The law and order of an airport was a fresh experience for us both. The loud speaker announcing instructions in English and the orderly queues felt almost alien to us after the last 8 months of overland crossings in remote places. As we were politely herded onto a waiting bus and then onto a shiny looking plane to take us to Brazil, we were both experiencing mixed feelings about our final foray in South America.
Buenos Aires is often described as the Paris of South America, and for us it did certainly feel that little bit more European than the chaos of Lima or the humidity of Medellin. There was a soul to the city that we felt had been missing in Santiago and the inhabitants in our latest capital were as glamorous as some of the colonial buildings that lined its streets. However, as we explored a little deeper into the city it became clear to us that the gap between the rich and poor here was bigger than ever. We saw families rummaging through bins alongside the wealthy drinking fine wine in chic cafes. One third of the population of Argentina live in and around the suburbs of Buenos Aires, making it a busy and over populated place in relation to the vast emptiness of the rest of the country.
It was 4 degrees and the rain clouds were forming as we queued for the ferry from Punta Arenas in Chile to the island of Tierra Del Fuego. We had opted for the longer ferry crossing into a small town called Porvenir as we were excited to catch a glimpse of the resident penguin colony further down the coast. We were loaded onto the ferry and onto the rough sea exactly on schedule (something that has rarely happened on this continent). The ferry runs once a day to Tierra Del Fuego and it was packed full of tourists, truckers and overlanders. Once we were into Porvenir, the passengers all went onwards in various directions, leaving us to be last off the boat. Tom had hoped that by some miracle the wind would be less of an issue here but his hopes were short lived as we rode off the wet and slippy ramp and into a passing hail storm.
Rewind to the planning stages of our trip and we were often asked, ‘which bit are you most looking forward to?’ For Tom the answer was easy. It was Patagonia. The scale of the region, the geography and the remoteness of it all was so inviting to Tom and it was his idea of the perfect adventure. For Lorna, the cold, the wind and the lack of beautiful beaches left this place lower down on her list.
Bolivia left us both high on adventure and discovery. Entering Chile, we were both amazed to find that this feeling continued-thanks mainly to the challenging roads and breath- taking scenery. We had previously written about the feeling of being overwhelmed by it all, and this still feels like the best description. Continue reading
16,500 miles in and we are sat at a lonely border crossing looking to enter country number 14. We have ridden on dirt, sand, rocky trails and beautiful tarmac. We have fallen off countless times and had to pay off officials in a couple of countries too.. Yet, Bolivia was going to take things up a notch. The roads are notorious, petrol is rarely sold to foreigners and the police are known to give travellers a hard time. Add in over 16,000ft in altitude and we were staring at our biggest challenge of the trip so far- Or so we thought anyway. Continue reading
How could we top Colombia? We were both left pondering this as we crossed a busy but straightforward border crossing from Colombia into Ecuador. Exiting beautiful Colombia took less than 10 minutes, whist entering Ecuador took two hours not that it was complicated, it was just extremely busy and understaffed. Of course, Continue reading
Entering into Colombia from the water rather than the road was a stress free and painless experience, thanks to our captain arranging for the customs to meet us at the boat, rather than at the local port, saving us hours of waiting around. Continue reading