Who am I?


DamiánMy name is Damian Alejandro Lopez. I arrived to this world on a July 18th and to the moment of starting this odyssey, 33 years have passed by. For a profession I chose the sciences. I studied Chemistry at the National University of Mar del Plata and later I got a Doctorate in Chemistry at the same time that I taught at the University. Science took me to a lots of places around the world, including Antarctica in three occasions.

Primera Foto JamerOn the other hand, I started developing a parallel personality: that of a lover of outdoor activities and sports. I started running Triathlons when I was in high school and quickly biking revealed itself as the favorite activity. When I finished my undergraduate studies I did my first traverse pedaling, crossing the Argentinean Patagonia from San Martin de los Andes to Ushuaia on highway 40. From that moment on, nothing was the same in life. The passion to cross the roads, feel them and live them close by as only traveling by bike allows it got stuck to my personality for ever.

But all that is part of the traveled roads. Now, how to define me as a person? It’s difficult to do it myself, but all that know me probably would say that I’m a bit delirious, but above everything perseverant and determined. When I propose myself an objective, I do everything possible to reach it. An optimist and positive person, who from smiling so much, has his face marked. Enthusiastic for life. Someone who took seriously a phrase that shows the course in my road: You should not dream life, you should live dreams!

So, there we go!!! Are you coming with me?

What's that about “Jamerboi”?


Almost everyone has a nickname. That extra name that is imposed onto us sometime in life by friends, relatives, coworkers, and sometimes it even transcends our original name.

In my case, that name is Jamerboi, a name that started to designate me every time that I got on the bike and that started in El Chalten, Patagonia. It was during my first trip pedaling, during the summer of 1988.

I was occasionally riding with two Swiss bikers, Florenz and Thomas, when we got to the small town at the edge of the majestic Fitz Roy. There, we found Leo, an argentine living in the USA, who was biking across Argentina and passing by all its provinces.

It happened when we were setting up the camp: I took out the small wooden hammer that I Con Florenz, Leo y Thomas en El Chaltenbrought along to set the aluminum stakes of my tent. It was ideal to prevent them from bending like when using something simpler as a rock. When Leo saw me, he almost died laughing. He was twisting uncontrollably and crying for 10 minutes from laughing. He thought it was the most ridiculous thing that he saw in a long time: a cyclist bringing a hammer along!! It wasn’t very appropriate when you consider that weight and space are at a premium on these trips.  Every explanation was in vein: that it was a wooden one, that the stakes would bend, that it was light… Sometime later we were all laughing uncontrollably and because the common language with the Swiss was English I instantly became “Hammerboy”. And that hammer became and inseparable item in my trips.

But, of course, how is it possible that an Argentinean has an English nickname? With time my friends started changing the pseudonym until it got to its actual version: Jamerboi. Like that, as it sounds…


Why?

Con Bruno, Tomás y Udo en Chaitén, Chile

The beginnings of this dream go back all the way to 1999. While I was on my second trip around southern Chile, I met three cyclists, Udo, Thomas and Bruno. They were crossing the continent by bike. I was astonished and impressed with such a trip and then the idea was born: Why not doing it myself too?


Jonas

In my third trip to the Puna, crossing the Andes at almost 5000 msn, I met Jonas Lambriger, a Swiss that around that time was 22 years old and was biking all the way down from Alaska.
With his Spanish skills he was able to give me an enriched and mesmerizing vision of the cultural exchanges that he had along the way, beside the nature wonders that he visited.
It was there when a possibility became a certainty: I want to do that trip and with the same spirit!!

I knew that it wouldn’t be easy. The reality of being a Latin American with a first world dream was not easy to conciliate. But the objective was there, fixed in my mind, germinating and growing every day.

A great friendship was born between Jonas and me, a friendship that lasts until today. He was and is the main instigator and supporter so I can start this odyssey today.

Along the way 7 years have past. Seven years of effort, sacrifice and restrain, with only one objective: Alaska-Ushuaia on a bike.

Recorriendo caminos

During this time I continued with my academic life, inserting any biking trip in the middle as I could. My friends got crazy from hearing me talking about the trip. Those that knew me only heard about my plans and desires of the trip. Many personal relationships were lost in the road, surpassed by my passion for the bike.

It was long road. But the end was clear and in being perseverant, nobody was going to beat me!! And those that know me know well how I am when I get something on my head.

Traveling someone changes, grows, feeds the spirit through the lived experiences… and those are the most valuable things of our existence. I know that I won’t be back the same and I hope that I can share with you through these lines, the slow change that will happen with the experiences, the natural richness of the places I will cross, the cultural interchange with people from other countries.

Finding a way to contribute socially at the same time that I have my personal wished granted became a crucial aspect of the project. I couldn’t avoid feeling selfish if I was only doing it for the adventure and the challenge. That’s when the contact with Aldeas Infantles SOS (SOS Children Villages, international website in english) completed the spirit of this trip.

Mi mission is now also to spread the word about the work that this organization does for children without a family. And also to move people so the will contribute economically through donations and allow them to continue with their work.

Children are the seeds od our society and they deserve all the resources to grow in suitable surroundings. That way, in the future the will be able to dream and, like me, take their dreams forward until turn them into reality. It’s not too much for is and it means everything for them…. Can you help me?

Aldeas Infantiles SOS

Visita a Aldeas Infantiles Mar del Plata


Become your dream

Convention on the Rights of the Child 

Carta Cultural Iberoamericana


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