Chapter One: introductions...
Fuck. Where did the last month go? How long have I been wearing this chambray shirt? How did I get so lucky?
Maybe, this isn't the right place to start; but it's the first second I've gotten to digest and write something. Maybe it's the only place to start. The words just seem to flow from me now. On this tiny, cramped airplane from the airlines glory years, headed back to Kansas City. God's country.
But I was in God's country. Or the Devil's backyard. I never really found out which. It's true what they say; Patagonia is the place that cures all mankind's ills, but it also awakens any man's inner demons. Demons in me that rarely need the slightest of prodding. They never sleep. Sleep is for the weak... or the dead.
The man reading William Gibbons crammed into the seat next to me has no idea what I've seen. What we've seen. My hermanos and I. We saw the untouched world of adventure and blazed or own path; on a journey to the most inner parts of our soul. Finding ourselves and each other along the way. We found Patagonia.
We set out exactly one month ago. I was leaving Kansas City on a similar shitty sardine can of the air; while Justin the Navigator and Nik the Road Poet flew out in style from those hallowed hills of Hollyweird. By all rights and means I had no worldly reason to be included in these two legends of excess' final leg of a motorcycle journey which would take them from Vancouver Canada, their birth place, to the furtherest reaches of South America; yet somehow this kid from Kansas City was destined to join their adventure.
It all started when Justin and I met on a film we were both working on in Oklahoma City called The Scent of Rain and Lightning. Justin has been a famous actor for over a decade and I was lucky to be shooting and producing the behind the scenes documentary of the feature film.
When we first met Justin was like many actors from Hollywood, slightly odd and standoffish. Not in a bad way, in fact to something I've come to expect and welcome in this industry. Actors are after all quite insecure by nature. That's something the general public can never come to grasps with...
It wasn't until his long time friend Maggie Grace, who was also staring in and producing that film, spoke up upon my behalf that Justin let his guard down a bit. I recall her saying something like, Drew's a bro also Chatwin, you guys will have a good time broing out. Jesus. I had a few drinks at that point but I remember thinking bro? That's a title most people try and escape after college- where I come from. Maybe, Justin helped me embrace my inner bro again. Thanks bro!
Bros can have a stigma one way or the other but I can say this; we can always spot each other in a crowd and we're always happy to do so. Bros are good dudes. Happy dudes. We're just looking to have a fun time and not take life too seriously. After all in the words of a classic bro "You can't take life too seriously; you'll never get out alive."
Flight attended dude... Or stewardess... Or whatever we call you these days. I need another whiskey, bro.
Holy shit that's the Mississippi River down there. What a welcome sight for home lonely eyes. I can't help but jump back immediately to the amazon river and our time with the children of the Jaguar during this South American journey to the heart of madness. Fuck, I'm no where near there yet. Fuck, I haven't even introduced Nik yet...
I guess there's no real point in going into depth about my flight to South America. There were multiple connections. It was a long flight. I drank and listened to some of my favorite artists. Fuck, David Bowie passed during our journey. We listened to him often. Back to it, when I arrived at our first destination; our starting point for leg three of their trip and the beginning of mine- Medellin, Colombia.
My flight was delayed for an hour or so from Panama to Colombia where I was supposed to meet the dudes in the airport. They got tired of waiting and left me. At the time maybe not the best way to start the trip; but I would soon learn this trip was about discovery and that was a solid push into the deep end.
I don't speak Spanish and though I've traveled fairly extensively I had never been to Colombia. From what I read on the USA tourism app on the plane it wasn't the best idea to take a taxi in the dark in colombia; especially by yourself. This was a very popular way to be robbed at gun point.
Given that I had $10,000 worth of camera equipment on me and the next month depended on me keeping that equipment, it was fair to say I wasn't thrilled about arriving at 1:00am or the 45 min sketchy taxi drive; which took us down a mountain into what I can only describe as slums and to multiple ran down gas stations where my driver seemed to be attempting to figure something out.
Hopefully it wasn't where the hijackers were to meet him in a pre-arranged 'rob the American night.' I guess I mean dude from the US because as we often forget in the states, but are equally often reminded there- we are all Americans.
Didn't I say I wouldn't go into too much depth on all this? So sketch drive and all I made it into Medellin and Justin had a room set up for me at what turned out to be a very nice trendy hotel. Fuck, why did I pack all this backpacking and survival shit. These guys are movie stars. They don't rough it. It's all 5 star hotels from here... Right?
The first morning would be my first encounter with Nik Dean, or Nik Markovina, or Nik Kitty. Damn, this guy is handsome. In like a no homo kinda way. I guess I never asked Justin what he does. Oh he owns a clothing line. That fits. OHH, he was a major male model for a decade- that really fits. But seriously Nik could easily have been the inspiration for Hanz in Zoolander. He was the bad boy of male modeling.
The first thing that opened me up to Nik were his exquisite tattoos. Dudes's got some great tats. I should know. I have quite a few myself and further have always been a boarder line obsessor of the art form; so trust me when I say this dude has some great pieces. Turns out the clothing label he owns Lords of Gastown has a tattoo artist on full-time staff a their Vancouver club house. That's bad ass. Period.
Between all the tattoo talk, buffet breakfast food and bottled water- yes, at this point we are still worried about water quality, don't be- I learn that the dudes' bikes are being stored at a quick friend's apartment nearby. The Harleys affectionately known as Dirty Sanchez and Jean Baptise haven't been seen or started in over seven months. This should be fun...