Friday, May 16, 2014

Meeting Alex Chacon

Speaking with Alex Chacon brought all of this into perspective for me. I realized that Alex, like many others in our world had a desire to make a difference in the world and he went out and did it. Not only has he inspired me to possibly do more in my own life but he has shown me that if you truly want to do something, then there's always a way to do it (even if it means selling all your stuff). I was very surprised when I first learned that Max actually got in contact with Alex because I considered him a celebrity (and very rarely does anyone actually get in contact with a celebrity). When we were initially starting to exchange emails we actually had to reschedule our phone call because he was at a meeting for one of his sponsors, GoPro.

Talking to Alex Chacon was a gratifying experience that gave me a new view on Latin America. Before the interview with him I thought of South and Central America as underprivileged countries whose main economic income is through fruit and drugs. This was set into my mind by large news corporations who are covering the current struggle in Brazil, Venezuela, and others leading up to the 2014 World Cup. However what Mr. Chacon said was very surprising to me. He said that locals in every country welcomed him with open arms into their homes. They even cooked and gave him food for his journey. This is very similar to what Che wrote in "The Motorcycle Diaries" when him and Alberto were accepted into homes 50 years earlier, making me think Latin America hasn't changed in its humanitarian values in the lapse of time between Che's and Alex's journey.

It was a privilege being able to discuss with Alex Chacon about his adventures. From the first time I saw his blog I wanted to talk to him and once I did I wanted to go on that trip myself. Alex changed my perspective about Latin America, at first I thought that the people of Latin America would be dangerous, he quickly changed my mind. He told about how nice and giving all the people that he met were, and that they were his favorite part of the trip. Almost every soul he turned was more than happy to welcome him into their homes, he was invited into many homes for meals and a bed. Compared to Alberto and Ernesto, Alex was much more prepared for this trip. One reason he did that is because he didn't want anything to be in his way and he was going much further than they did in The Motorcycle Diaries. One of the things that was very important that he brought was extra tubes for his motorcycle. If Alberto and Ernesto brought this stuff they would have been much better off.

After speaking with Alex Chacon, I learned a lot about how to manage and live your life on a journey of a lifetime. Alex said that after college he wanted to see the world and experience new things. He sold all of his possessions so that he could have enough money to travel throughout South America. It was very cool to hear that his dream throughout his life was to travel to South America, and when he did he had to give up and risk everything so that his dream could be accomplished. A question that Blue asked was “ What was the type of food that you ate?”, and it was interesting to hear that at the time all he could afford is just beans and some rice. He would eat beans and rice for days just to save some money. As Alex started to blog and post of his experiences online, people started to catch on started donating money to him. He wrote a quick bio on his blog and the money started to come in and Alex was able to do more with his newly gained money. He ultimately bought a GoPro and started to take videos with it. GoPro took notice of this and decided to sponsor him and also supply him with money so that he can continue his journey. As Alex continued his journey, more sponsors such as Oakley, also gave Alex sponsorships. Now, after sacrificing all his personal belongings and all the usual large meals, Alex is now sponsored by some of the biggest brands in the world.

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