Crestfallen for having technically failed our goal, but also touched by the kindness and warmth of the people we met in southern Colombia, we boarded a night bus headed to Cali and then another over to Armenia.
After that, a couple short flights brought us back to Chicago. The speed with which we returned the distance that took us nearly three months to cover was a bit of an added insult.
From home I was put through a long series of surgeries. At first, it was because the specialist I saw noticed that I had great insurance and figured that he could probably do a slightly better job of setting my bone than my Colombian doctor.
This seemed like a reasonable plan, but after about a month it became incredibly apparent that the ankle was badly infected. This resulted in a long stint of spending a few days in the hospital, then a few days out, then in…
At one point, in the hospital, I was told that they might have to amputate the foot, but that they were still looking into other options.
Long story short, I had an external fixator on the leg for about six weeks and I’ve been through more antibiotic IV solutions than I can remember. I still have my foot and, after some physical therapy, I was able to recover and I spent a little over a year and a half teaching again in Vietnam.
Aaron finished his associate’s degree and started doing more serious enduro racing. He also built a Verago motorcycle using the parts left in his friend’s garage.
I returned to the USA around Christmas and Aaron and I started planning part two of our journey.