Crossing the Border

I was really glad to have chosen this side of the lake, relatively traffic-free and with good roads, to enjoy the peacefulness…

Sadly, however, another reminder of one of the real blights of my journey so far – the ever-present spectre of plastic waste…

It’s a theme that has profoundly impacted me.  Not only are the levels of plastic use incredibly high here but it is discarded everywhere.  If you look at almost any of my 360 images from the top of even the remotest of mountain passes, you will likely see plastic (or a used nappy) that has been flung out of a passing car window.  When you are in places of such outstanding natural beauty, it’s a really horrific juxtaposition.  Again, it’s primarily an educational issue, but it does speak volumes about the general regard for the environment here.  It’s shocked me on regular occasions that people don’t even have the pride in their villages, where many of them will spend their entire lives, to keep them reasonably clean.  One of the impacts for me of this visible waste has been to consider the extent of the ‘invisible’ waste that we produce in the UK.  We have relatively efficient waste disposal systems that whisk away our refuse, never to be seen again.  I, for one, had never truly taken into account how much plastic refuse that I generate.  Sure, I would fill a bin with recycling and pay attention to PET symbols etc but, after that, ‘out of sight, out of mind’.  I think that perhaps as we enter an epoch partly defined by the widespread use of plastics (the Holocene), in Europe we have been ‘sterilised’ to a certain degree to the consequences of our consumption.  The reality is that even many of the plastics (or plastic-coated cardboards – e.g. disposable coffee cups) that are marked as recyclable are not recycled, due to the lack of advanced facilities to deal with this specialist waste.  For me, as a traveller with minimal gear and few options as to what I can purchase, it’s an incredibly frustrating process trying to minimise my environmental impact, even if the carbon emissions of my chosen form of transport are very minimal.

Anyway, serious moment over, back to me and Lake Titicaca…!

That afternoon I kept a steady lookout and managed to find a great little flat spot overlooking the lake where I could camp for my final night in Peru.

Sunset, when it arrived, was pretty special…

And when darkness fell, the moon rose, and the stars began to shine, the scene was complete…

Sunrise was pretty great too…

I was only a short distance from the border and so I soon found myself, after 4 months, about 4000kms and 300 hours in the saddle, crossing into Bolivia.  Peru, you are one very bumpy country.

12 Comments

      1. Do you ever dictate text? I have my mac set to hit hitting “Function” twice and it types everything I say – as long as I know where I am going with my story – saves me 3/4 of the time!

  1. Thank goodness you’re giving those peaks surrounding La Paz a miss … they look chilly. And big.

    I love the pics of the last night in Peru. Those stars are something I really would like to see. xxx

  2. Love it bro! Ah titicaca looked so stunning! And I loved hearing you talking about eco concerns, it’s great to hear your passions coming out too, so don’t ever worry about being boring, this planet needs us to sit up and be vocal… BTW just watched Leo DiC’s doc Before the Flood, it’s a good one to pass on to anyone who doesn’t believe in environmental probs (like DT :-0)… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N26b4lgWMVI
    Hope the Atacama is amazing, Love you x x x

  3. Nice one Campbell! Must be so liberating to just keep on cycling! To see where you end up the next day! One minute camped up overlooking lake Titicaca thinking the views can’t get much better! Then in the distant those huge snowy peaks rise up out of nowhere! Amazing! Keep it up dude!
    And you’re totally right, we have such a problem with out of sight, out of mind attitudes to rubbish here! To the point that most people can’t be arsed to even recycle as they don’t see the impact or where it all ends up! One trip to a dump can shock you in to realising how much crap gets thrown away in a couple of hours!!
    Consumerism culture is to blame, and can’t see that going anywhere anytime soon, unless there is some major shakeup of some sort!
    Anyways keep on riding and adventuring for us all dude!!!!

    1. It is – it’s taken quite a while to shift mentality and accept that I don’t know where I’ll be staying/camping from one day to the next! Great to be in the developed world Chile and, shortly, Argentina though!!
      Hope you’re getting out on the bike regularly? Fancy joining us all for the Tour of Cambridgeshire on 4th June?! http://www.tourofcambridgeshire.com/

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