Updated March 2022
I spent more than 14 years of my adult life living, working and backpacking throughout Central and South America. The only nations there I have not visited are Suriname and French Guiana. One day that deficit will be made up.
There is of course more to it than that. Over the years I made various lists of things I wanted to do south of the Rio Grande. Almost everything on these lists concerned solo backpacking to one place or another. Twice in my life---1986 and 2003---I even took an entire year off from the mundane responsibilities of earning a paycheck in order to live in tents and hammocks while meandering here and there beyond what a normal man would call 'civilization'. Thus was I better able explore the more bizarre and out-of-the-way regions of Latin America. And some were quite bizarre indeed.
Those were the days.
Though 14 years seems like a lot of time, I still dream of things yet undone, of jungles unknown and Andes unseen. In moments of frivolity I even compiled a list of those undone things. The results are below. Given time, energy and---of course---money, all of these can be accomplished in a year. It would be a year of near madness and life lived at double time, and would require supreme efforts of physical, mental and spiritual endurance. At 63 years old I understand that Biology is a cruel master, and she cannot be long ignored. If I do not embark within a few years, I will simply not be able to embark at all.
The race is on. I have no idea just yet who will win.
Update July 2020: Four years have passed since I wrote the words above. In that time I have not visited Latin America. Instead I have spent my free time bikepacking throughout Oklahoma, Colorado, Arkansas, Utah, Texas, New Mexico and Mississippi. Yet the hunger for lands south of the Rio Grande gnaws at me daily, almost an obsession. A few days ago I turned 67 years of age. Whatever I have planned for the rest of my life I had better get to it. Now that I am retired I have the time to do what I damn well please. And it pleases me to spend much of 2021 in Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Nicaragua, Peru, Chile and Bolivia.
Update March 2022: No travels south of the Rio Grande until this "pandemic" nonsense is over. I will not get vaxxed and I will not wear a mask. Period.