I think most people know at this point that I'm headed south by bicycle, but may not know of the details. My plan (still in its early stages) is to head west to California, visiting some natural wonders, then move down to Baja, then to the Mexican mainland, and on into Central and South America, down to Tierra del Fuego, maybe Antarctica, finally heading back up to Uruguay and Brazil.

The question I'm asking myself now is "why the hell am I doing this?"

I'm not one for manifestos—I don't want to make my trip sound like anything more than it is: a self-indulgent plan to travel, to see the world. But there are times when I start thinking to much about the details, and the dangers, and the pitfalls, and I thought it might be helpful to have a summary of the things to look forward to and to remember as motivation at times of doubt; when I'm freezing on the south rim of the Grand Canyon, say, or facing the pistol of some bandito.

So I think I'll gather all the positive in a pile here for such moments.

In the short term, I'm really looking forward to a few early highlights: natural wonders, winter, and a New Year retreat.

I've seen some of the best