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Backpacker Magazine – September 2012

The Long Way Home

When Karl Bushby set out to hike 36,000 miles across four continents, he vowed he would only return to his native England on foot. Which could be a real problem if he ever wants to get there.

by: Bill Donahue


His words sprouted a diagram in my mind: I envisioned life as a series of squiggly, branching lines. We make choices, and nearly all of us start out incubating some grand, youthful ambition. We want to write novels when we grow up, or scale unclimbed peaks. But then we do grow up, and we become practical. We choose lines that are easier, more conventional. We limit our adventures to what fits in the vacation schedule, and eventually, well, we do end up getting that minivan.

Karl Bushby refused to part with his grand plan, and the diagram of his life reflects that decision. He has experienced moments of triumph, to be sure, but he has also paid dearly for his stubbornness, as have others around him. When he set out on his hike almost 14 years ago, he left behind an eight-year-old son. Along the way, in Colombia, he met “the only woman who ever mattered to me.” They’re no longer together, though, and now Bushby passes the time in limbo here in Melaque. He is responsible to nothing but his dream. But does this make him the ultimate inspiration for adventure visionaries? Is Karl Bushby a latter-day Thoreau who’s dared to live deliberately? Or is he instead a sad case of arrested development: a freeloader who has failed to see that even the best hikes must end?

We kept walking. “Even the clouds here in the tropics are dynamic,” Bushby said now, looking up. “At a certain time of night, right at dusk, when the light is a certain way here, I feel like I’m in a dream state.”

Every long hike has its dream-like episodes—moments when the wilderness shines out and life seems exquisite in ways that it can’t amid the din of the civilized world. One winter night early in his journey, when Bushby was wending north through the Andes, he woke up in a tent covered with ice. Freezing rain dripped down on him from nearby trees. He broke camp and began climbing a mountain road, hauling his gear-laden cart—The Beast, he called it. “Up ahead of me,” he writes in his 2006 memoir, Giant Steps, “the clouds of fog meet the warmer air and explode into huge spirals, moving so quickly they look like giant flames, before they evaporate into nothing. On the hills to my left, huge dust devils are whipped into mini-tornadoes, sending columns of dust hundreds of meters into the sky.”

A headwind whipped up against Bushby. He kept climbing, his legs burning. When he reached the peak, finally, he was “absolutely destroyed.” Blowing sand stung his face. But he’d ascended more than 6,000 feet in three hours, and he was able to gaze out at the Atacama plateau and at the snow-capped peaks to the east.


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Mar 31, 2014

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[URL=http://www.pest-control-company.org/%D8%B1%D8%B4-%D9%85%D8%A8%D9%8A%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%AA/%D8%B4%D8%B1%D9%83%D8%A9-%D8%B1%D8%B4-%D9%85%D8%A8%D9%8A%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%B6/]شركة رش مبيد بالرياض[/URL]

Star Star Star Star Star
http://www.onlinegmsale.com
Mar 31, 2014

because sooner or later escapees usually called on their families for help. Blue had only been home for a moment when the phone rang again. He agreed to meet the FBI agent on the other end of the line the next day.
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A few minutes later, a dozen armed officers burst into the apartment. They seized Blue, patted him down, handcuffed him, and placed him under arrest on charges of aiding and abetting his son's escape.

Star Star Star Star Star
Jesse
Nov 29, 2013

Regarding the child, you shouldnt speak with half the story. I too am a father who has a child that is 5, unfortunately the mother involved is another story altogether. Dont be so to quick to judge the man, and perhaps the pain is so immense its lead to this. There is a reason i too am looking at this article. Abandoned, or has no idea wtf he is?

Star Star Star Star Star
Trekking in Nepal
Mar 01, 2013

Acute Trek Pvt Ltd http://www.trekshimalaya.com an indoor outdoor trekking and tours operative takes you that further way to guarantee you has an unforgettable http://www.adventurestrekking.com adventure that you have been dream of. Whether you are looking for a quiet gateway, a memorable http://www.hikingsinnepal.blogspot.com outing with a family or an exciting nature adventure. We offer you with the best progressive information and itinerary leading focused and modified as per your requirements. Acute trek is an attempt to encourage Nepal to the exterior world while striving to defend an aged tradition as well as conserve the surroundings for generation to come.

Mr
Oct 09, 2012

Having grown up without a dad I agree with what others are saying but I would still like to donate to this guy.

Russ
Oct 05, 2012

I agree. No success can compensate for abandoning a child. If he hadn't done so, his story would be one of awesome discovery. As it is, it seems more like yet another father indulging his selfish desires at the expense of his child(ren).

Rebecca
Oct 05, 2012

I think I agree with MDP. Sounds more delusional and irresponsible than glorious and adventurous at this point. I was okay right up until the article mentioned the son abandoned at age 8.

coco
Oct 04, 2012

Lijiang is located in the upper reaches of the Jinsha River, has a long history, beautiful scenery, majestic natural environment, the descendants of the ancient Qiang, Naxi hometown.
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Old Town of Lijiang 2,400 meters above sea level, is the center of the city of Lijiang Naxi Autonomous County, is one of the historical and cultural city, is a national key scenic spots.
     Here is located in Yunnan, Sichuan and Tibetan roads, ancient times, frequent business travel activities, prompting locals flourishing population, and soon became famous bazaar and town. Generally believed Lijiang city began in the early Song Dynasty.,i hope you will like it!
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dave
Oct 04, 2012

Odd fellow. Not sure if I like or dislike him. But the story did carry me to the end. On such stories how about initiating a way for us "for now" adventurs a way to send a few bucks? Pay Pal has opened up this opportunity. $20 or $100 sent to people out there doing something!

MDP
Oct 04, 2012

Abandoning his son is a selfish, unforgivable act. I would love to go wander the world. Hell I'd love to go thru-hike the AT or the PCT, and I will, when my kids are grown.

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