If your idea of adventure is an extra level of spice in your Thai food order, turn away. This is not for the faint of heart but the truly adventurous.
In this instance, the death-defying challenge is taken on by “Itchy Boots.” Itchy Boots — her real name is Noraly – is a former Dutch geologist-turned-vlogger. Noraly’s vlogs take us along on her world adventures, most recently for a ride in Colombia along the path of an old rail line from the remote but populated cities of Salento to Medellín, with a stop in Amagá. Her heart-stopping trial for these latest 22 minutes: Crossing an abandoned, derelict train bridge over a deep valley.
The old rail line used to be vital to bringing sugarcane and coffee between the cities of Calí and Magellín. The rail has since been torn up, leaving behind the dirt path many utilize to bike between towns and cities. The wood and metal of the line have been set aside for other infrastructure in surrounding towns, or even making furniture. But a few things remain, like this bridge, and Noraly has no choice but to cross it.
She’s nervous, and you can’t help but be nervous for her as you watch her speak with the local man whose home is mere feet from the bridge, explaining how one would cross the bridge safely. He claims many make the trek over valley via this battered, questionable bridge on bike (or down into the valley which is difficult to make out how one would do that).
The old man demonstrates where she can place her tires, and her feet, for stability in crossing. Her helmet cam looks towards the rails where you can see gaping holes revealing one’s potential fate below it. Notice the remains of narrow tracks surrounded by rotting wood still holding the crossing together. It doesn’t look at all promising.
It’s a big “hell no” from me. But after several minutes, Noraly gains a hell of a lot of courage to make the pass.
I held my breath watching her cross, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she did too. She pauses after maybe 10 to 20 feet of travel, telling herself not to look down. It’s hard not to when you’re trying to make sure your wheels don’t make any sudden-death moves hitting the rail and ending all of your travels on this earth.
She obviously makes it across, otherwise we would be watching this video presented in a “lost footage”-style documentary. Instead, she’s continued updates from her South American travels.
If you’ve not heard of Itchy Boots, she’s been traveling the world by bike for years. In her bio on her website, she explains that she had been working in Australia for her Ph.D. studies. After collecting the samples she would need, she went off on an adventure, traveling through Australia, New Zealand and India. She realized it was relatively cheap to rent a bike and might be a great way to see the world. So, she cancelled her studies, sold all her belongings, and became a world traveler, recording her travels and sharing her adventures along the way.
She shares her adventures on YouTube: Some are charming and wondrous, while others, like I’ve read in other world travel stories, present their own challenges. But if you’ve ever been curious on how one tackles the world, especially by bike, Itchy Boots is one account worth subscribing to.