My name is Neil Walsky, I come from Anchorage, Alaska and have a Swiss mother who is a recent breast cancer survivor. My inspiration actually precedes my mother’s diagnosis. Since I watched the film The Motorcycle Diaries, I felt compelled to make a trip even more ambitious and with my mother’s fight with cancer a purpose along with it.

The movie documents the young Ernesto Che Guevara and his cousin who set out on a four month, 8,000km tandem motorcycle ride from Buenos Aires, Argentina to a remote leper colony in Venezuela, in which they would volunteer themselves. The film’s story and possibilities impacted me in such a powerful way that I was certain sometime in my life I would take on an adventure of this scale.

I recently graduated as a civil engineer and am interning with a local Alaska firm, Hattenburg Dilley and Linnell. I absolutely love the company and look forward to a future there, but I found the time to make this trip is now. So, I informed my boss about my plans and was met with nothing but support and encouragement.

However, I will not be alone. I will be joined by a friend and co-worker Jesse Frechione, who upon hearing my idea immediately replied “I’m coming.”