Che Guevara on bike

Che Guevara and Travel?

Travel is 20% adventure and 80% self-discovery. Ask any Traveller or a Hoboist about why he or she travels, and you’re bound to get similar views. Travel is about self-discovery. It is about wading through the barrage of opinions and advices and discovering the sacred voice, within.

In 1952 one would-be famous man set out for such a travel. A journey of 9 months ensued. What happened after those 9 months is very similar to the symbolic 9 months we all are aware of: BIRTH. But, in Ernesto Che Guevara’s case, it was a REBIRTH!

How could an asthmatic, medical student transform himself into one of the twentieth century’s dreaded revolutionaries?

Ernesto Che Guevara: he is the symbol of counterculture; the image celebrated on the millions of Che Guevara posters and Che Guevara shirts that we see around. (One might wonder, if the peppy teenager wearing it has even the faintest idea of the story of the man he so proudly flaunts on his chest.)

What made the boy from an affluent middle-class family leave the comfort of his home and become a well-known ruthless, revolutionary that everyone seems to know?

Ernesto became Commondante Che

In 1952, Ernesto and his friend Alberto Granado began a trip that immensely changed his views on politics, people and himself. On this trip, he met with people from the insides of his country. He saw poverty and corruption, abound. They visited the enormous mines in Chile exploited by the USA. Apparently, he was deeply moved by the Socio-political injustice happening there.

Even though he completed his medical studies at the University of Buenos Aires, his true education, allegedly, came from this trip he took to the undeveloped Latin America.

Che Guevara with La Pedorosa
Che Guevara with La Pedorosa

23-year-old Guevara and the 29-year-old Granado set off for the journey on a 1939 Norton (500 cc) motorcycle, named La Poderosa II (The Mighty one). But, not long into the journey La Poderosa gave in and it had to be sold as junk. However, Guevara and Granado decided to go ahead, anyway. The total journey spanned through Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, and Panama.

The trip would not have been as useful and beneficial as it was, as a personal experience, if the motorcycle had held out. This gave us a chance to become familiar with the people. We worked, took on jobs to make money and continue traveling. We hauled merchandise, carried sacks, worked as sailors, cops and doctors. -Alberto Granado

Che Guevara on the raft
Che Guevara and Alberto Grandao on a raft

Finally, after about nine months on the road, Che went back to Argentina to complete his medical degree.

But, the wanderlust bit him, again. His travel brought him to Hilda Gadea, a Peruvian woman in Guatemala. Who, in turn, was instrumental in him being introduced to a lawyer from Cuba, we all know as Fidel Castro. And, the rest is history!

Che Guevara and Hilda
Che Guevara and Hilda

PS: Che is an old Argentinian saying, “Hey, you!” The followers of Fidel Castro called him “Che”.

How is it that I feel nostalgia for a world I never knew

Sources: The Motorcycle Diaries, Wikipedia

Image Credits:

Travel transports me to some euphoric placetime. Once there, I, almost, only, meet beautiful people; see places that fill me with pure bliss; and face experiences that inspire me to be more of myself. Then I go back home and write about them. Email: thehoboist[at]gmail[dot]com


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