Eduardo “came out” at age 22, in my final year of college. After 18 years of book-learning, I put away the school books and headed south. Immersed in learning Spanish in southern Mexico, where everyday was filled with valuable lessons, I quickly learned that my given name, Gary, doesn’t easily translate into Spanish–but my middle name, Edward, does. Instantly, I connected with my “corazón Latino” (Latin heart), and thus connected with the Mexican people, now introducing myself as ‘Eduardo‘! The transformation had begun…
Over the next three decades, Eduardo emerged as my more outgoing, more intuitive, Latin American self: curious explorer, respectful traveler, fluent Spanish speaker, able to straddle the cultural divide with grace and humor. I had found my calling, and eagerly dove into more travel experiences, applying my diverse set of skills while taking advantage of my tremendous personal freedom. And as I became more appreciative of other cultures, languages, and ways of seeing the world, I felt I’d grown into a more authentic human being.
From 1984-1992, I made 16 trips to Mexico, and in the 1990-2000s, I turned my sights to Chile and Argentina, where quickly became obsessed with the southern Andes. Across years and so many adventures, Eduardo seemed to eclipse Gary, which confused friends and family who thought they knew me.
Traveling internationally also restored my faith in humanity, solidifying my conviction that the greatest gift of my college education was discovering Eduardo. My travels usually take me off the beaten path of tourism, focusing on adventures in wild nature, yet always building bridges of friendship with the warm and friendly Latin Americans I meet. Returning home to North America, I would easily recruit future travel compañeros by sharing stories in words and images. Here, I am pleased to share these heartwarming stories from three decades of travel off the beaten path.