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The Long Tail

A few years ago, my brother Lance called me to ask if I was up for an adventure.

Boat Contest Peru

Boat Contest Peru

It was a no-brainer. When your brother calls you and invites you on an adventure, you say yes. No matter what you have planned. So I said I’d meet up with him. There was only one problem. He wasn’t exactly in my neighborhood.

At the time, I was living in the smog-choked capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires. He was on the other side of South America, in Lima, Peru. To visit my brother, I’d have to go a distance of about 2,000 miles.

Still, the promise of a far-off adventure with my brother beckoned, so I took up the challenge.  Two uneasy border crossings. A long chain of mountain roads. Through a dry, dusty landscape and 48 hours of constant bumps in the company of a pair of hardy drifters who played a coarse fiddle. The trip was rough. Especially on my stomach.

Halfway there, I was lying bed-sick in a cheap hotel in Bolivia after eating bad lettuce. Worst of all, I missed the Steelers game, the day they went on to win their fifth Super Bowl. (In Peru, my brother had watched the game on a big screen TV while his host family cooked him bar-b-que.)

Lance sleeping in Peru

Lance sleeping in Peru

I made it to Lima, eventually, and found Lance sleeping in his hostel. It was about noon and I had to wake him up. The first words out of his mouth were, “Be careful out there. It’s dangerous.”

I spent 24 hours recovering from the stomach flu before he dragged me out of bed to enter a boating contest with him. That day we paddled a fat-bottomed open-hulled kayak into fifth place. Not bad, all told. Seeing the sunset along the Pacific was worth a few stomach cramps.

What’s ahead for you, brother, is a long road. Not all that different from the one you never took to see me. Think of the beginning as Lima and the end as Buenos Aires, and the mountains in between as a few obstacles. The road will climb. The terrain will be rough, especially on the stomach.

But it leads somewhere, and beckons with the promise of far-off adventure. I am ready to ride it the long tail with you. Anyone who wants to, can join us on this road. Here’s our weapons:

1. Detox (get the bad stuff out).
2. Eat well (get the good stuff in).
3. Exercise (keep your body strong).
4. Meditation and prayer, stay positive.