June 17, 2024

My book "Heartbeats Across Borders" is available now on! Be sure to get your copy! And sign up for my mailing list.

Image of the cover of the book of short stories titled


A Collection of Short Stories

image of cover of the book titled

Heartbeats Across Borders

Two hearts, two countries, one love


Finishing my journey in Arequipa, Perú


On October 30, 2022, I started a backpacking journey from Colombia south to Uruguay and then back north to Colombia. I wrote about it in several parts: part one was on March 25, 2023, part two was on April 24, 2023, part three was on July 26, and finally, on September 29 I summarized the journey. I then spent six months in Colombia before starting another backpacking journey south. But this second time I skipped over Ecuador. The problem was this: the government of Ecuador and the governments of several other countries including the US, Canada, England, and others, all discouraged foreigners from visiting Ecuador due to kidnappings, general crime, and so on. Ecuador's President Daniel Noboa announced a nationwide state of emergency and curfews due to the escaped Jose Adolfo Macias, alias Fito. He is the head of the powerful gang Los Choneros, and was in prison for organized crime, drug trafficking, and murder since 2011. He had been serving a 34-year sentence. So, things are not good in Ecuador these days. When I arrived at Tumbes, at the northern Ecuador/Colombia border, I got on a bus and headed directly to the southern border town of Huaquillas, and went directly into Perú. That was on March 9, 2024. I've been on the road for about two months now and have decided I will stop and look for a place to live here in Arequipa, Perú.

My original plan for this journey was to go to Paraguay and settle in Encarnación, but along the way I got to thinking about how global warming will affect the climate in the coming years. I found a website that has a ton of technical climate data and extends that into the future, and it appears we can expect an increase of two to three degrees in the coming 10 years or so, at the current rate of global warming. Encarnación is much warmer than Arequipa. The average daily high temp of Encarnación is 27° C (80° F) compared to Arequipa at 21° C (71° F). That's right now. With global warming add two or three degrees to those and you can see which will be the more comfortable area to live, regarding the climate. That's just the basic bit, I also considered humidity, rain, and average low temps, and in the end, I decided to make my new home in Arequipa, Perú. There is one other point that I considered - population. My original plan was to keep the size of the city/town for my new home to under a quarter of a million people. But, due to the global warming info just shared, I decided to forego that and accept Arequipa. Arequipa itself has a population of around 60,000 so one might think No problem, it's small. But no, the metropolitan area has a population of about 1.2 million. One thing about Arequipa is this: the city center and the historic center are very walking friendly. And the historic district is an incredible place to visit. So, yeah, it's a big city at more than a million people, but I'm going to find an apartment outside the metropolitan area and settle down.

I have been using an app on my phone called PolarSteps to track my journeys across South America. Now that I have decided to stay in Arequipa I have ended the tracking. According to the app I have traveled for 547 days, which I think is active traveling days but I'm not sure about that. It also shows I covered 37,979 kilometers, I uploaded to the app 1,664 photos, and I visited 202 towns/cities. That does not include my 10 1/2 years in Colombia where I visited another eighty-something towns. On my external hard drive, I have directories for the eight countries and in those, there are 31,891 photos and a much smaller number of videos taking up 282 gigabytes of space. Do I have those backed up to google? Absolutely not, imagine trying to download that much data if you lost everything on your local system.

After I get settled I will get back to work on my books and short stories, buy a bicycle, and get back into cycling, running, and do more hiking. There are lots of hiking opportunities in the region. I have been walking all over the city, averaging 24 kilometers per day, for four days searching for for-rent signs and have seen only three, one I looked inside the apartment and quickly decided no to it, another was a big three-bedroom apartment so again, no, and the third I called and spoke to the owner and I will be looking at it in a couple of days when he returns home. So, my next update should include info about where I am living.