I’m a bit of a late bloomer when it comes to travel and adventure. As I had my first international travel experience when I was 25 years old. I traveled to Japan as part of a two-week study abroad group when I was in college. That was what got me bit with the travel bug. And since then I’ve made seeking out epic adventures a big part of my life. This led me to some of the amazing places that I talk about throughout this blog and podcast.
Along the way, I’ve also found ways to challenge myself physically. Physical fitness has become a big part of my life as well. Much of this stems from my time in the Marine Corps. When I hit a low point during my service and got so overweight that I had to be put on a body composition program in order to lose weight. During this time, I felt very ashamed of myself. I felt as though I’d become a liability to my fellow Marines, so I made a commitment to turn things around.
Through determination and consistency, I lost a lot of weight, and I went on to complete the Marine Corps Marathon before my service was over. I went on to complete other physical endeavors as well; including fighting in a cage fight, completing a Tough Mudder, cycling 300 miles across The Gambia, completing a Spartan Race, and more. However, there are other types of physical challenges out there that I haven’t done yet that piqued my interest. One of them is completing a thru-hike! Which brings me to Operation: Dual Trek.
What is Operation: Dual Trek?
I’m looking to walk the entire length of two South American countries; Paraguay and Uruguay. A total distance of over 1,000 miles!
Why am I doing this?
Why? is definitely something that I’ve been asked when I tell people about what I’m doing. And there are three main reasons as to why I plan to do this:
1. To help Veterans
Since I’m a former Marine, I want to do something to help my fellow Veterans. I’m hoping to raise donations for the American Veterans Archaeological Recovery (AVAR)(formerly Operation Nightingale USA). Which is a non-profit organization that’s on a mission to promote the well-being of disabled Veterans transitioning to civilian life through field archaeology.
This unique approach is referred to as ‘Rehabilitation Archaeology’. Veterans will have the opportunity to work on archaeological dig sites around the world! This will allow them to connect with other Veterans, work towards a mission to protect cultural heritage, and set themselves up for success following their dig activities. Some of the dig sites that AVAR is looking to take Veterans to are located in countries like Israel, Italy, England, and here in the US!
If you’d like to support this cause and donate to AVAR, head to: https://www.gofundme.com/dualtrek
2. To seek out challenge
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve completed several physical endeavors in my days. Though I’ve never done anything like this before. I’ve talked many times throughout this podcast about why we should seek out challenges in our lives. We become much more capable of dealing with the inevitable challenges that life will throw at us. And I know that this will be a very tough endeavor. Not just that I have to walk long distances day in and day out. But I’ll also be in places that I’ve never been to before. As well as interacting with a culture that I’ve never met. And in an environment that I’m completely unfamiliar with. So needless to say, I definitely have my work cut out for me. However, I know that I’ll come away from this challenge as a stronger, more capable, and overall better version of myself.
3. To add value
Adding value is one of the primary objectives of All-Around Adventure. Now, it’s my hope that I can continue to do so for my fellow Veterans. Those in the Veteran community are capable of achieving amazing things. And I know this because they already have achieved amazing things.
During this trek, I hope to demonstrate what Veterans, and human beings in general, are capable of. Life isn’t easy, we will face many obstacles along the way. There’s no doubt that I’ll face many of them throughout my journey in Paraguay and Uruguay. However, I believe that when we commit ourselves and work hard towards our objectives, there’s nothing that we can’t achieve! That’s the message that I hope to convey as I tell this story. That we’re far more capable than what many of us might believe.
When am I doing this?
My plan is to step off in June of this year. However, with this whole COVID-19 situation that has been going on. Travel plans have been put on hold for travelers everywhere. So it’s hard to say as to whether or not things will resemble some form of “normal” by June and I can proceed as planned. Though this situation has also thrown another wrench into my plan, besides the travel ban. In order to apply for my visa to Paraguay, I need to renew my passport. And for the moment, the State Department has very limited passport services. So I may have to look into contingency plans should I face significant delays in renewing my passport.
Am I worried about going once travel opens up with COVID-19 being out there?
From a health standpoint, no I’m not. It’s likely that I’ve already been infected with the virus. Last week I had three days when I experienced some of the telltale symptoms. Especially shortness of breath and persistent pressure in my chest. I was traveling in Mississippi the week prior, and shortly after returning home to Florida, I started to experience the symptoms. When I told my roommate about it, he said that he experienced the same symptoms while I was away. So I likely picked it up from him once I made it home.
However, these symptoms weren’t very severe, and they felt more like inconveniences rather than anything painful. So I’m not worried about getting sick since I may be immune now. Even if it wasn’t the virus this time around, I feel confident that I would recover well should I get it down the line. The only thing that I may be concerned about is people’s behavior. As this situation went on, I observed too many people out there behaving irrationally. Especially here in the US with people hoarding toilet paper, or that one guy in Tenessee who bought over 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer in order to try and price gouge people. So if things escalate with this virus once again, it’s possible that more irrational and panic-driven behavior could occur while I’m traveling.
Admin and logistics
Since I’m about two months away from stepping off on this expedition. I’ve made the decision to take a production break from my regular podcasting schedule. This will allow me to focus on training, route planning, gear acquisition, and anything else that I need to do in order to prepare for this expedition. This is an important mission for me. I’m striving to raise money in order to help my fellow Veterans. Therefore, I want to take every step I can to ensure that this expedition is a success.
Though I still intend to upload content to show some behind-the-scenes work with preparation, as well as during the expedition itself. I intend to vlog and record podcast episodes while I’m down there. However, considering that I’ll be spending a lot of time in the middle of nowhere with very limited internet access. It’s likely that content with be uploaded sporadically.
To sum it up
I’m excited about the challenge ahead, though I’m definitely nervous. Especially considering that there are so many things that’ll be new and unfamiliar to me. Not to mention that there are still so many unknowns with this COVID-19 thing. No one really knows entirely what the Hell is going on. The only thing that I know for sure is that the sun is going to rise tomorrow. So as long as the world keeps on turning, I must keep on moving forward and proceeding as planned.
I look forward to having you follow along on the journey! Again, If you’d like to support the cause that I’m doing this expedition for, head to: https://www.gofundme.com/dualtrek
Thank you for listening! To hear more great episodes like this one, click here! Also, don’t forget to head over to Apple Podcasts and leave us a good review! You can also listen to the podcast on Spotify, Stitcher, and iHeartRadio. Also be sure to join our FREE closed Facebook group, Travel Titans, and interact with other travelers like you!
Operation: Dual Trek will be commencing in June 2020! This will be a 1,000-mile journey across two South American countries: Paraguay and Uruguay. Host, Josh Guerrero, is taking this on in order to raise money for a non-profit that helps Veterans called American Veterans Archaeological Recovery (AVAR). Would you like to help by making a tax-deductible donation?! Head over to: https://www.gofundme.com/dualtrek
And until next time; be safe, happy travels, and always move forward!