Traveler Interviews – Carlos Castillo
Where have you traveled?
I have been lucky to travel to various places in the world and especially in Chile. With my bicycle, I have also traveled to places like the 7 lakes area in Argentina, and I have also traveled quite a lot in the central and southern part of Chile.
My last trip was when I participated in a long distance test in France, where the goal is to get the 1200 kms distance.
What do you like most about traveling?
In order to know new places and people. I always try to get out of the comfort zone on my trips. I think thit is something that also tests you, and it is just one of the things I like most about traveling. Also knowing new people, new cultures, new landscapes, always trying to place me in the cities. I have a fascination to know the cities. Its flows, its people, how they work together. Here in Santiago, most of the time I travel by bicycle, and that gives me another perspective on how to understand the city, its behaviors, the flows of vehicles and people, and that for me is really attractive.
What does cycling mean to you? And what did it mean to you, to represent your country?
For me, cycling or traveling through the bike, is something that has several fundamental elements. You are not only practicing a sport, but also, giving you complete autonomy since you can travel without the need for a subway or a bus, and thus not depend on the traffic jam. All this was making me get more and more into the bike and start traveling longer and longer distances. When you do this, the relationship with your environment changes. The way you live the trip or what you experience with your surroundings, with nature, how you relate to the animals that come across, the trees or the landscape in general.
It is for all this that the test was very motivating for me, as well as obviously the physical and mental challenge involved in doing a long-distance test like this.
The challenge always started as something personal, rather than representing Chile. Over time what I was going to do became more known and became more public that I was going to represent Chile, but basically I did it more for a personal project, the motivation to overcome the challenge, to achieve a goal like this. I set this goal more than a year ago, and since then I was preparing. I even left job opportunities aside for preparing for this test, which was to travel 1200 km. And well, as I understood the difficulty, I prepared very well in order to be ready.
What is the most difficult part of the test?
Well, first of all, physical wear is very large. During the test, you see how your body is changing, the clothes are getting bigger. You see yourself more worn out.
Also, the mental wear, which is the greatest. You are pedaling day and night, for hours without stopping and that generates extreme mental wear. There is no body that is prepared for this type of test. That is precisely the difficulty of these tests, which is a lot of learning and making mistakes, learning through trial and error. Hallucinations are part of the test at some point too. That’s probably the most difficult point.
What would you say that this test left you?
Experience, sharing with people from many different countries, seeing how cycling looks in other parts of the world such as in Europe or France in particular. Respect for cycling, and for the cyclist. True love for the bicycle. This obviously along with the idea of overcoming or achieving things that one proposes, are what this experience left me.
Actually, what the Bike has is that you can be 5, 60 or 80 years old, and you can get on the bike and ride. I had to share with people from several countries and of many different ages, where they shared young people of 20 years with people of 60 or more.
Well, my advice for people is to be motivated, the same way I could achieve the goal of completing this super difficult test, it is a matter of trying, persevering, preparing well, eating healthy, training and the truth is that more than nothing, at the end, in order to get your goal you need to be constant until the objective is fulfilled.