This teenager cycled from Alaska to Argentina

This teenager cycled from Alaska to Argentina

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(CNN) He had wished to have a “loopy journey” for years, and as Liam Garner’s highschool commencement day approached, {the teenager} was extra decided than ever to flee.

An skilled bike owner, Garner, initially from Lengthy Seashore, California, had beforehand ridden from Los Angeles to San Francisco and realized that he may cross the continent with out an excessive amount of issue if he selected.

After studying a ebook by adventurer Jedidiah Jenkins, who cycled from Oregon to Argentina, Garner determined he would cycle from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, the northernmost level in the US accessible by highway, to Ushuaia, Argentina. , the southernmost level of South America .

And whereas a lot of his classmates have been making ready for school, Garner started making ready for the journey of his life.

Epic journey

Liam Garner was 17 when he mountain biked from Alaska in August 2021.

“I spent the entire month after commencement simply getting gear after which I left,” Garner tells CNN Journey. “It was actually fast. It wasn’t deliberate very arduous at first.”

Garner was 17 when he set off on a KHS Zaca mountain bike with only a tent, a sleeping bag, a couple of day’s value of meals and water, some moveable batteries, a med equipment and additional components for his bike.

It started its journey by way of the Pan-American Freeway, a community of roads that stretches throughout the Americas, on August 1, 2021.

The teenager, who had already amassed a major variety of followers from his TikTok video collection following his journey to San Francisco, determined to doc the journey, which noticed him traverse 14 international locations, together with Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia, Peru, Chile and Argentina.

“There’s an official route, after which there are unofficial routes,” he explains. “Principally I did mine [route] as I went on. So long as I used to be going south daily, I knew I used to be getting into the suitable course.”

Garner admits that his mother and father, who’re separated, weren’t overly thrilled on the prospect of their teenage son touring all the best way to South America on his personal.

He says his mom refused to consider him at first and went by way of “in all probability eight months of terror” whereas not truly telling his father till he left, as he was so positive he can be in opposition to it.

“He known as me whereas I used to be in Alaska, and I advised him the place I used to be,” Garner explains, earlier than including that each at the moment are his greatest supporters and are avidly following his progress.

Benefits of the bicycle

{The teenager} had reached the Carretera Austral in Chile in late 2022.

Though Garner initially began biking as a result of he did not have a automotive, he now considers it one of the simplest ways to journey and would not have wished to do that journey every other manner.

“It is probably the most intimate approach to journey,” she says. “You go so gradual and need to work bodily to get to locations. So you actually purchase an attachment to the small cities and the extra random bends within the highway.

“There’s one thing about being self-reliant and figuring out that you simply made your personal manner someplace. Generally if you’re driving or flying, it is such as you’re simply teleporting to a spot. You were not outdoors. You were not” scent issues. You were not touching issues.”

{The teenager} spent about 4 and a half months biking by way of Mexico and describes the expertise as one of the crucial vital of his life.

“My complete household is from Mexico,” she explains. “I grew up going [to Mexico] however I by no means discovered the language. So it is one factor to go to yearly, and one factor to reside there.

“So biking throughout the entire nation and reconnecting with my tradition and being with my household and studying the language the place my household is from was crucial to me.”

Unlucky misfortunes

Garner, seen in Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia, says he was robbed 5 instances through the journey.

Garner left California with little or no cash and says he survived on a funds of about $430 a month.

He notes that he is heard individuals remark that he is solely capable of do what he is doing “as a result of he is a straight, white, wealthy man” and is eager to level out that that is merely not the case.

“I am a first-generation Mexican immigrant. And I am not wealthy,” he says. “This was self-sufficient. And it actually does not take that a lot cash to do it.

“I do not need individuals to suppose it’s important to be wealthy to go on a motorbike trip. I’ve met individuals of all financial backgrounds.

“Individuals can try this and keep in lodges each evening, and I’ve seen individuals who actually simply have rubbish luggage on the again of a motorbike.

“I’ve seen individuals of all ethnicities, alone and with companions, in each nation I have been to. And I’ve met so many wonderful and provoking girls. It is actually out there to everybody.”

Garner had a using accomplice named Logan for about eight months or so of the journey. Nonetheless, he left once they reached Colombia and Garner traveled alone the remainder of the best way.

Of the various international locations he has traveled by way of, he was significantly stunned by El Salvador, which he describes as “one of the crucial peaceable, most stunning and most tranquil international locations”.

Whereas the journey was stuffed with some unimaginable highs, Garner additionally skilled some crushing lows all through the journey.

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He says he was robbed a minimum of 5 instances and needed to spend a month in hospital after getting off his bike in Colombia and touchdown on his head.

“The concept you may get damage and that one thing actually horrible may occur is in your thoughts that travels a lot,” she says, earlier than explaining that she obtained about 40 stitches and needed to have cosmetic surgery to repair the ear and sew it again collectively. .

“However that wasn’t actually a actuality till I received damage in Colombia. I used to be out for about quarter-hour and it took me just a few hours to have the ability to converse once more.”

Garner determined to write down a will after the crash and says having to sit down nonetheless for weeks took an enormous toll on him.

He admits he briefly thought of giving up throughout a very tough time after being robbed in southern Mexico and struggling within the excessive warmth.

“For about two and a half weeks, my accomplice Logan and I had no connection to the surface world,” she explains.

“We did not have cell telephones. The climate was robust. It was over 40 levels Celsius (104 F) each single day. I received sick throughout that point.”

In line with Garner, the 2 have been solely capable of trip their bikes for a couple of minutes earlier than having to drag over within the warmth, and so they mentioned taking the bus dwelling as soon as they reached Central America.

“There isn’t any level in torturing us,” he recollects saying on the time. “This isn’t humorous.”

Fortunately, the climate was a lot cooler once they reached Guatemala a couple of week later, and so they determined to persevere.

Ultimate push

Garner lastly reached Ushuaia, Argentina on January 10, 2023.

Over the past month of his trip, Garner considered nothing however his “wheel crossing the final inch of the curb” and generally received so emotional that he “began crying on the bike for no purpose, despite the fact that it did not occur Nonetheless.”

It lastly arrived in Ushuaia on January 10, having traveled 32,000 kilometers (almost 20,000 miles) over the course of 527 days.

Nonetheless, Garner, now 19, says the second she had spent a lot time imagining was considerably disappointing.

“It [Ushuaia] it was a really touristy metropolis and there have been so many individuals,” he explains. “I actually could not spend time alone. And I used to be somewhat dissatisfied.”

Feeling somewhat dejected, he determined to go to a nationwide park for just a few days and spend a while reflecting on his time on the highway.

“I noticed that I did not care which metropolis was final,” she says. “I used to be simply getting there. And I do know it’s extremely clichéd, however that was actually what I got here to the conclusion of.”

Garner was quickly joined by his accomplice Chloe, whom he had first met on his journey to San Francisco, and with whom he had stored in contact.

He says the 2 have been simply buddies at first, however their friendship blossomed into extra whereas Garner was on the highway.

“For a couple of 12 months on my journey, we went lengthy distances,” he says.

The pair at the moment are backpacking again to California, taking a lot the identical route Garner took his manner: He shipped his bike to a pal in Chile, who’s sending it to Lengthy Seashore for him.

“We have been hoping to go dwelling in July for the summer season,” she provides. “Nevertheless it’s open-ended. We nonetheless have 4 to 5 months left, and that is loads of time to backpack dwelling.

“It is very nice for me to see the sights yet another time earlier than I’m going to regular life.”

Encourage others

Garner’s video collection documenting his journey has amassed a whole lot of 1000’s of views.

As soon as again dwelling, Garner plans to write down a ebook about his journey in hopes of inspiring different younger individuals to go on a journey like this.

She says she usually receives messages from individuals who noticed her Instagram or TikTok story and felt compelled to do one thing comparable.

“I’ve truly gotten much more messages than I ever thought attainable,” she says. “And individuals are truly doing it.

“I’m following among the individuals who have messaged me and are at present biking from Alaska to Argentina.

“It is a tremendous feeling figuring out I am getting extra individuals concerned, as a result of there have been individuals who have been chargeable for getting me concerned. And it feels good to do the identical.”

Whereas he appears to be like ahead to assembly his household and buddies, a few of whom have been busy learning whereas he was away, Garner has completely no regrets about taking a distinct path.

“If I might stayed dwelling and gone to neighborhood faculty, or one thing like that, would I actually have been a greater particular person than I’m now?” he asks.

“Would I actually be as open as I’m now? I strongly suppose I would not. That is why I believe this was probably the most competent resolution I’ve ever made in my life. I’ve by no means been extra assured about something I’ve finished.”

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