Burn the Ships

December 15, 2020. Chiapas Mexico

Probably every motivational speaker knows the story of Cortez in the Early 16th century. When he landed in Central America, he intentionally set fire to his ships. Thereby making it clear to his men that there was no going back home to Spain.

I did something like this. I checked out of my one bedroom rent controlled apartment in San Francisco where I have been living for more than a decade. In that decade, I have hosted many touring cyclists, proudly showed off my city, and made friends world wide.

My former bedroom, now ready for the next tenant.

As documented in this blog, in the last year and a half, I have been touring a bit. I have visited some of these friends. I also got a good education in cycle touring from Les Cyclomigrateurs in Asia this spring. Then as we all experienced, the pandemic caused it all to be put on hold.

It was a fine example of American leadership that led the world out of the nightmarish pandemic episode and on to better times. Or maybe not so much. Ugh!

So, while I was waiting for things to resolve, I got my hip replaced. This went amazingly well. Many thanks to my surgeon in San Francisco, Neil Bharucha, and my companion Lucy Rojas. I was on my feet and walking just hours after surgery. Now six months later, I am leading an active life with no issues.

Neil Bharucha M.D.
Lucy Rojas of Santiago Chile
Currently in Chiapas, the daily rate of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 is 0.3. This is approximately 100 fold less than San Francisco, which is itself lower than the US average.

Eager to get on with the retirement project, I started looking for places in the world which are relatively Covid-19 free. Asia and Australia have many excellent examples. Unfortunately they are not available to American tourists.

The island of Bermuda is quite good, and also available. Unfortunately it is too small for any meaningful bike touring.

Given that I was interested in furthering my Spanish language skills, I looked closely at Latin America. It turns out in southern most Mexico, there is Chiapas. If you believe the New York Times, this is extremely quiet with respect to the pandemic.

After donating or selling almost everything I owned, I boxed up my HP Velotechnik Streetmachine and flew to Chiapas.

Having effectively burned the ship, I am ready to start the next chapter in true nomadic style. However, before I go off exploring, I ought to wait out the pandemic a bit.

Chiapas is thus a temporary nesting spot for me. Mexican Immigration has granted me a half year. Hopefully this is enough time. I will use it to form a good team, improve my Spanish language skills, and learn the culture. Then, I will have to burn the ship again. Hopefully I will not have accumulated so much junk.

2 thoughts on “Burn the Ships

  1. Super nice to read that you burned your ship and you are back on your bike with a brand new hip and ready for a lot of new amazing experiences!!
    I also hope COVID-19 will get soon away so that you can bike further and further…
    Have a very trip.
    Delphine and Charles-Henri


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