(The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.)

I’m going to start by saying something that only my fellow adventure addicts will be able to fully absorb, smirk, nod their heads at and reminisce in full understanding. 

I got lost and couldn't stop smiling.

Take away the deadlines and appointments and all of that “time” yah-yah and what being “lost” means is that expectations are gone and everything becomes a surprise. A surprise is the unknown and the unknown is something that, when encountered, becomes the known, which merely means evolution and expansion of the mind.

So, if knowing the unknown is learning, why are so many people scared of the unknown?

Rhetorical question; I digress.

So, back to smiling. I, as a Peace Corps Paraguay volunteer, am prohibited from driving a motorized anything, from four to two wheels, or being a passenger on a motorcycle … uh, previous sentence is just a bit of background about the Peace Corps’ insurance plank from which to leap for that smile. Thus, with an appreciated, yet meager, stipend to buy a bike, I went on a hunt. Anything affordable, which includes the steel-framed Caloi and Milano brands, are generally sold with loose screws and bent parts. And, from many-a-volunteer tale, they’re broken within a couple months. Since I fondly reminisce about my days as a mountain biker and am going a bit mad without a personal means of transpo, I decided to invest a bit of my own bling to get something that would last and show me a good time. And hence, I Specialized my ride.

And today, three-weeks after making contact with Cyclesport, the Specialized store in Asunción, and pleading for help finding a used ride in my price-range, he was found, Noche Libre. Not to be mistaken with mask-wearing hooliganism, but hooliganism of the thrill seeking sort; although, I guess that’s open to interpretation.

His name came from today’s inaugural jaunt. The jaunt came from wondering if a bridge found on Google satellite maps was still standing, and the Noche part came from getting lost on sandy dirt trails that connect the farmers’ huts scattered across the aribas y bajadas or ups-n-downs outside the urban district of San Estanislao, minus a headlamp. But here’s the big smile. It was a full moon. And that, my friends, is the love Serendipity has for explorers.

But in a situation, or sploration, like mine, everything from the pack-o-mutts chasing me, to the beautiful campasino folks who smiled and tried to direct me even though they probably speak more Guaraní than Spanish, to the soft sandy trails that instigated and caught my fall, is worth writing about to anyone with the ability to see the world with eyes wide open.