“More than an exciting trip, Alaska is a vital stage” by carlos matÍAS
Diego Saad has traveled by motorcycle from Argentine Patagonia to Alaska. The journey has taken him five years. He has covered 80,000 kilometers, almost 49,710 miles, for a trip of 13,277 kilometers (about 8,250 miles) between his hometown, San Martín de los Andes, in Argentina, and Anchorage, where Sol de Medianoche talks to him.
“I’ve always dreamed of visiting Alaska. It has been the dream of my life, which I have finally fulfilled,” says Diego Saad. “This five-year motorcycle journey, which is how long it’s taken me since I left my hometown in April 2017, until my arrival in this state on May 20, 2022, and in Anchorage on May 27, has been much more than an exciting trip for me. It is a stage of life, a vital experience.”
Diego is a mountain guide, “and I plan to continue to be one when I return home.” But now, and during these five years of travel, he has dedicated himself to filming a documentary of every detail that has caught his attention. “It’s about narrating this experience in a unique documentary,” says Diego. Well, if not unique, at least singular. I say this because on a couple of occasions I met National Geographic teams doing the same thing I was doing, and I was surprised to see them, just as they were surprised to see me, especially because I was alone, and they were in a team.”
Before his trip to Alaska, Diego Saad already had experience as an adventurer, “Because I had traveled all over South America, even Antarctica. But Alaska was pulling me north. It was calling me. So, I started saving to be able to afford this experience out of my own pocket, because I do not have a sponsor.” And so, one fine day and after a good period of preparation, Diego Saad got on his motorcycle without knowing where the road would take him, but being very clear that his goal was Alaska, the “last frontier” in the Arctic.
How do you turn a trip of almost 13.3 thousand kilometers into a journey six times longer, about 80 thousand? “It’s very simple,” Diego answers, “I had no fixed course, no set time to cover that distance. I came and went, returning to places where I had been before, because I thought of it as a journey in which to enjoy every detail, getting to know and understand the customs of each place. It was a way of enriching myself with knowledge, experienced in first person, and I did not care about distance or time. My trip surpassed the dimensions of time and space.”
His most surprising experience has been to see how in certain towns in Chile, “in Chiloé, people move their houses when they have to move their animals from place to place, depending on whether it is summer or winter. They literally move their houses. They build them without being fixed to the ground and use oxen to pull them. The whole village gathers to help the neighbor who is moving. It’s a party!” And his most disturbing experience…”when I was trapped in Mexico, unable to leave the country because of the pandemic. I traveled through a desert in the state of Sonora that was drug traffickers’ territory. Suddenly, three cars came towards me, with five men in each car, all armed with machine guns. I thought it was the last day of my life. But talking to them, they saw that I was a harmless traveler and calmed down. That day I was born again. Interestingly, that day was my birthday, June 16, 2020.”
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