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Monday, 22 March 2010

Pura Vida: Chip Albright Bikes the Americas

Written by Kristen Hamill
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Chip Albright is a self-described modern day explorer from a small town in rural Ohio. Inspired by a passion for the environment and a desire to see the world, Chip left his studies at Hocking College early to travel through Europe, the Middle East, Northern Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and eventually South and North America. He's funded his travels with a variety of different jobs -- from farming, to waiting tables, to working on a prawn boat off the coast of Western Australia for eight months-- whatever it took to get to his next destination, and he has no plans on stopping anytime soon.

 

Chip Albright is a self-described modern day explorer from a small town in rural Ohio. Inspired by a passion for the environment and a desire to see the world, Chip left his studies at Hocking College early to travel through Europe, the Middle East, Northern Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and eventually South and North America. He's funded his travels with a variety of different jobs -- from farming, to waiting tables, to working on a prawn boat off the coast of Western Australia for eight months-- whatever it took to get to his next destination, and he has no plans on stopping anytime soon.

 

"For me it has always been about the freedom of the open road, a love of nature and people."

Pura Vida: Chip Albright Bikes the Americas, travel Australia, New Zealand, travel South America, biking americas, biking the Carretera Austral in Southern Chile, biking Bolivia, interview intravel, Kristen Hamill

INTRAVEL: Where are you now Chip?

Just outside of Bakersfield, California. I'm working at a cherry farm for the next few weeks.

INTRAVEL: How did you get inspired to take this trip?

When I was 18 years old I was hitchhiking down Highway 101 out west with three friends. Eventually we ended up in New Zealand, after traveling through Southeast Asia for a while. I bought a road bike and toured around for a bit in New Zealand where I was working at a ski resort. My roommate was actually a professional downhill racer and really into biking, and one night after a few beers we starting talking about how we could probably bike even further than just around New Zealand. We thought, why not try the Americas? And then four months later with a handful of cash, my good mate and I found ourselves on a way-one flight from Auckland to Buenos Aires.

INTRAVEL: How did you plan for your trip?

You’d be surprised; we didn’t do a whole lot of planning. We tried, but it was pretty difficult to get maps of South America in New Zealand, you had to order them in. We had road maps for the general route, but you never really know where you are going until you are at that cross road. My friend I was biking with actually tore his knee out, so he had to go home two months into the trip, so the route changed a bit once I was on my own. But basically I was going on my gut instinct for most of the time.

INTRAVEL: How long have you been biking through the Americas?

Only 14 months, but I’ve been traveling around the world for about four years now. Before that I was a student of ecotourism and adventure travel down in Southern Ohio at Hocking College. I was about to graduate with only one quarter left, but I was sick of all the talk and wanted to experience ecotourism for myself.

INTRAVEL: What have been the highlights of your trip?

Definitely biking in the Carretera Austral in Southern Chile, that’s 900 kilometers of gravel road. It was amazing, in one day you could bike by fifteen glaciers and twenty-five waterfalls, and that was ongoing for about sixteen days. It was a unique experience because the people we were meeting on that road were extremely friendly, and they weren’t used to seeing tourists all the time.

Another highlight was the Mother Nature [aspect of the trip]; we were drinking the water straight from the rivers and waterfalls. The country of Bolivia was also a pretty big highlight; you’ve got the Altiplano which stretches on for about 1,000 miles. We crossed the salars, or salt deserts, like the Salar de Uyuni, that was a pretty cool experience. Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in South America but the people were so generous. Many of these people had absolutely nothing, especially in the places like Altiplano where the conditions are extremely harsh. But every night they’d invite us in to eat dinner. It was like night and day, two different worlds – from being on the Altiplano where they speak Spanish and also Quechua, to the remote villages of the jungles and the papalands. It was interesting to see the two different worlds that were separated by literally 70 kilometers.

 

 

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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