Miles of adventure: Guy shares his (mainly) self-propelled journey via Central, South America | Life style

How Tyler Wooden arrived to be living in a tiny home in the very small town of Mesa is a large and curving adventure that jumps continents.

He is creating a e-book about those adventures, specifically the year and a 50 % he invested on a typically self-propelled excursion from Indiana down via South The us that started in Oct of 2018 and ended in a pandemic.

His purpose is to have the book created by the close of April or by his 30th birthday, which is June 27, and then he’ll transfer on to dwell the sequel.

For now, however, Wood can be observed running in the canyons close to Mesa or snowboarding at Powderhorn Mountain Resort. The rest of his time he spends creating, thinking and planning adventures.

“I type of want to be absent from social force,” he reported although getting some time for an interview on a day he was in Grand Junction to get groceries.

Mesa is ideal for him suitable now, he claimed. It really is a condition he transpired upon when his snowboard teacher work at Copper Mountain fell through, and a good friend of a buddy knew of a little household out there in Mesa. “It could be a fantastic put to produce a reserve,” Wood was informed.


Wooden might be crafting his guide in Mesa, but his story has its beginnings in West Lafayette, Indiana, exactly where he grew up, and in Outward Sure the place he interned in Australia following large university.

The latter resulted in positions as a information: tenting highway journey manual, rafting guideline, zipline guide and so on.

In 2014, he was residing the “freakin’ desire lifestyle of a 22-year-old” as a rafting manual in New Zealand.

Then he acquired drunk, drove, crashed his motor vehicle horrifically and set himself in a coma with a traumatic mind injury, Wood defined with blunt honesty.

With his damage, studies ended up towards him. He should really not have recovered, Wooden admitted.

But he did, and about a 12 months right after the incident he went on what he named the Hike for Heads. It was a by-hike of the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. It doubled as a fundraiser for the South California-based mostly Substantial Hopes Head Injuries System and resulted in more than $10,000 in donations, he stated.

“Beautiful things can spring from disappointment or points that usually are not so fantastic,” Wood reported.

It was when he was on the Pacific Crest Trail that the strategy for his self-propelled journey was born.

Having a fantastic sum of previous experience travel and overcome by “trail magic,” aka the kindness and aid prolonged to hikers, “I felt like a princess,” Wood mentioned.

So, he dreamed up a tougher expedition for himself from the North Pole to the South Pole.

Then the Pacific Crest became more challenging and he acquired to know himself better. He understood a little something: “I’m not epic.”

He scaled back again his exhibition and prepared a self-propelled excursion that would start out two miles from his mom and stepdad’s entrance doorway on the Wabash River in Indiana.


When Wooden initially shared his journey concept with his stepfather, John Huggins, “I kind of believed he was insane. Neat concept, but, wow,” Huggins said.

“We realized he experienced it in him,” Huggins said, adding that so did Wood’s mom, Leslie Sharp. “He experienced seriously kind of assumed it by means of. And at the time he sets his mind to some thing he does not convert back again. He is quite decided when it comes to matters like that.”

Wood put in a lot more than a year getting ready for the journey, which include a stint as a volcano climbing guidebook in Guatemala that gave him some Spanish language apply.

On Oct. 8, 2018, when Wood place his kayak in the drinking water of the Wabash River and paddled absent, “It was quite wild,” Huggins explained.

Those initial couple of times after Wood begun have been annoying for Sharp, recalling all her son experienced been by way of since of his incident and mind damage and realizing the Wabash was at a flood stage. She even experienced to stop following him on social media for a though. “I couldn’t cope with the risk,” she said.


For Wood, remaining vulnerable was section of what his trip was about. He experienced about $12,000 to his name. He was dependent on the kindness of the folks he satisfied along the way, and fortuitously that kindness materialized usually, he stated.

As he paddled from the Wabash into the Ohio River and then into the Mississippi River on his way to New Orleans, he was provided foods or invited into households or supplied sites to camp for the night. Just as there is “trail magic,” there are “river angels,” he reported.

When he attained New Orleans, he resolved to choose the Intracoastal Waterway towards Houston. The ships in that region were large, and “I was an alien on that waterway,” he mentioned.

He designed it to Houston in January 2019, soon after kayaking additional than 1,700 miles. In the vicinity of Houston he uncovered a occupation as a night watchman on a sailboat headed to Cancun, Mexico. He marketed his kayak and discovered a place onboard for his mountain bicycle.

At the time underway, the sailing leg of the trip was a fiasco. They ran aground, then strike choppy seas and were being blown way off program, Wood reported.

Sails ripped, the engine went out and the electric power steering and autopilot give up operating. They nearly ran out of drinkable water. They found out the boat’s rudder was wrapped up in a tarp.

Fortuitously, a single of the crew users was a man who had just concluded an all over-the-entire world sailing race. It was due to the fact of him that they made it to Isla Mujeres, Mexico, Wooden mentioned.

“That was the most treacherous part of the total excursion,” he claimed.

EYE-OPENING Experience

When Wooden started the biking leg of his journey in Mexico it was February of 2019. His aim was to bike to Santiago, Chile, by November when he was due to start his hike on the Greater Patagonia Path.

He had a lot more than a continent in front of him and a person of the very first items he noticed about Central The us was the trash. It was all over the place.

He also realized his funds were being not likely to final through his journey.

Even though in Guatemala in March, Wooden made the decision to merge those people two factors and set up a on-line Patreon account in which he could get fiscal help from individuals adhering to his journey. For each individual donation he received he fully commited to selecting up a garbage bag of trash.

The a lot more trash he picked up, the much more interaction he had with regional people. They would hand him a Gatorade or supply to enable choose up trash with him, Wooden explained.

As he manufactured his way south to Panama, he found other factors, such as the manipulation of men and women by their governments and the exploitative remedy of youthful women and young children.

They ended up matters he had known about before, but now they have been ideal in front of him. “It was heartbreaking for me to working experience,” he mentioned.

In Panama, he took a flight to Cartagena, Columbia, to stay away from a unsafe place recognized for drug smugglers and bandits, then got back on his bike and continued his journey.

Progressively, he handed Venezuelan refugees on the highway, hundreds of people, he reported. There were families, moms pushing their youngsters in strollers via the mountains.

“I was emotion so much privilege. I acquired to the point I could not journey past them,” Wooden claimed.

He tried out to support some of the households he achieved with food items, and he gave absent some of the money he had been provided. He felt had to do some thing. “They necessary that appreciate,” he claimed.


By August, Wood was in Ecuador. He was ill with parasites, and “I was heading crazy because of the website traffic,” he explained.

If he was not hoping to steer clear of currently being hit by cars, he was staying chased by pet dogs.

He also experienced just lately discovered out that a cyclist from Japan, who he experienced biked with previously on his vacation, had been hit from at the rear of by a semi and killed.

“I got to Cuenca on edge,” he said. He resolved to acquire a split from biking with a 10-day meditation retreat.

By the end of the retreat, he understood it was time to offer his bicycle. Other than, there was no way he was going to be equipped to bicycle by way of Peru and into Chile in time to make his November day with the Increased Patagonia Trail.

So following about 4,000 miles of biking, “I started off a new experience: 100% hitchhiking,” he explained with a snicker.

That went pretty properly for about 1,800 miles until he was picked up in Peru by a car total of men. They drove an hour and fifty percent, then all people but the driver got out. “It was a taxi,” Wooden said. So, he had to shell out up.

It was the unintended commencing of the 4,000-miles of public transportation portion of the vacation. This included motorboats, barges and buses.

When he last but not least arrived in Santiago in November 2019, he right away found himself surrounded by protests against the authorities and inequality. “I observed so significantly enthusiasm,” he claimed.

Amongst the several issues he realized on this journey, “I realized there is inequality on these types of a deep stage,” he mentioned.

FROM Trail TO Plane

For sections of the past leg of Wood’s excursion, climbing the Better Patagonia Path, he was joined at moments by his then girlfriend and other mates.

The trail was “incredible,” he stated. There were being glaciers and very hot springs, lava flows and mountain vistas and the most wonderful sunsets he experienced ever found in Chile and Argentina.

But the path also was difficult physically and mentally. Navigated its sections was sometimes stress filled and he relied on his track record as a manual to get himself and people with him by way of properly, he claimed.

In March, they were near Cochrane, Chile, when Wood bought a get in touch with from his mom. “Argentina has shut its borders,” she mentioned.

The COVID-19 pandemic experienced caught up with Wood following he experienced hiked more than 850 miles and was about 100 miles quick of his intention.

All over again, drawing from his days as a information, in a lot less than 24 hours he bought himself and his girlfriend off the path and back again to Santiago in which they boarded a aircraft to Indianapolis, Indiana.

Writing INTO THE Long run

“He changed a lot immediately after his incident, and the excursion has modified him even more,” claimed Sharp, who was ready to be part of Wood a couple instances on his journey.

“He grew up a great deal,” Huggins said.

“He applied to be pretty pleased-go-blessed. He was not a huge thinker as to what was heading on in the rest of the earth,” Sharp said. “Now he is quite hyper-knowledgeable and delicate specially to the poverty. And the distinction between prosperity vs . poverty.”

“It was a large awakening,” Wooden admitted.

It led to tradition shock, the break up with his girlfriend, a lot of several hours of soul hunting and a ongoing effort and hard work to assist various distinct Venezuelan people he experienced achieved and has stayed in contact with.

In excess of previous yr he has been given hundreds of pounds in donations that he has handed together to those households, and he is doing work on setting up a a lot more formal way routing that support, he explained.

Now he attempting to sum things up just one way or an additional in a e-book. Composing is a tough journey of a different form looking at his brain injury, he mentioned.

He has plenty of material to function with and journey publications have definitely been published with fewer, he claimed.

But as he spends his times creating although in the town of Mesa, he also is preparing his subsequent journey: circumnavigating the United States by bicycle.

Experience is medicine, Wood claimed.

It is 1 of the reasons, primarily following his automobile incident, that he creates adventures for himself, along with seeking to exam himself and encourage other folks, Wood stated.

He’s keen to get again out there, to “make it a way of lifestyle,” he reported.

Capture up with Tyler Wooden:

Wooden is active on Fb ( and Instagram (@wanderwood18).