Let’s say we talk about feminism, how many instagram profiles of young girls who live together with their personal photographer show up in Instagram with shirt that has a protesting message printed on it, but deep inside they are more worry if their shoes are pairing the color of the shirt. They collect thousands of “Likes” but the real effect ends up being zero, the next day nobody remembers anything.
But in the world there are also another type of women who go unnoticed and without social media or followers but their fight ended up leaving a mark and becoming heroes for the people around them, showing that women are same or even stronger than men. On my journeys I met women in India who can break by hand stones to rebuild the roads of their village destroyed by the monsoon rains, or the Bolivian with a muscle and character so strong that no man dare to discuss with them. Traveling Rwanda I fell in love of the history of courage of Dian Fossey and in Namibia we met Tracy in the middle of the desert, a combat aircraft pilot and engineer that although she showed that she alone could build a plane but who left everything behind to live in the the desert and spend life flying hot air ballooning over the dunes.
For some of these women life forced them to fight, others chose to fight so they could live their passions and dreams, but then also are women like Guadalupe who simply was tired of a society telling her that her dream was and had always been only for men, so she decided to prove that from now will be something that women also could do.
Guadalupe lives in Real de Catorce, an old Mexican ghost town resurrected that usually does not recommend any travel guides. That kind of places you only get to know when you travel by road and stop to rest in one of those improvised shadows next to the route where you can eat a grilled corn while listening rancheras from an old radio. There when local people are attracted for our motorcycle, our dirty clothes and the wrinkles in our sunburned face end up sympathizing with us and quickly understand that Yucatan, the Mayan Riviera and the cenotes are not what we have come to see in their country, then a tequila shot and names like Real de Catorce emerge.
This mining town surrounded by mountains, in a land where people say has an energetic power as powerful as the poles of the planet and also the only place in the world where peyote grows, a small hallucinogenic cactus that, perhaps because it feeds on magnetism of these lands, it is the perfect key that opens the doors of different worlds for anyone who needs a spiritual and quite psychedelic experience, but mainly for the Huichol people who have here their sacred land until where they came walking through the desert every year.
This is one of those places that since reach to our ears we can not stop thinking about visiting it, so we went there. But to get there before you had to dare to climb its original stone path which look to be made only to be crossed on horses or in Willis, the mythical 4×4 of Real de Catorce. A route of just over two meters wide with a vertical wall to one side and a cliff to the other, local people named it as the “the Repentant Path”. Arriving on the path opened by the founding pioneers of the town added more romanticism to the experience of our visit, it did not seem that it would give us problems after having conquered so many mythical routes around the world, but to Real de Catorce it was not so easy to arrive. That was the day we met Guadalupe, when she came to our rescue.
Neither the landslides nor to fall by the precipice, in that route the worst enemy was the inclination, impossible for a motorcycle loaded with two people and 60 kilograms of equipment. The front wheel got up sometimes from too heavy in our back but we could not stop pressing gas because if the bike stopped it would be impossible to start it up again, and all this while we try to avoid the stones of the landslides, the holes of the route and always with an eye to the cliff to don´t get to close to it. We had underestimated the mountain and places like that better not to offend them.
The inclination reached a level where, even with full gas, the motorbike stopped and started to fall backwards. Luckily that day the mountain just wanted to give us a scary moment and when the bike slid back suddenly a stone of about one meter of diameter, who knows when or how it got stuck there right on the edge of the precipice, stopped the bike and saved our life. The only stone of that size that we saw along the way, right in the place where our motorcycle gave up. Miracle, luck, karma or however you want to call it but what was clear that at the same moment I got off the bike and I keep with me the bags and a bottle of water waiting and hoping that Manu, with the lightweight motorbike, would get to the town and find someone to get me out of there again. And that someone was Guadalupe, the first person found Manu in the empty streets of the town, a young and robust girl who immediately said “I´m going to grab the Willy and we go for her”. Well, it is not the rescue operation that we had in mind but it was the most efficient. Manu left the motorcycle and began to go down with Guadalupe in that old 4×4.
Along the way, Guadalupe only talked about how, with just 18 years old, she had become the first and only woman who drive Willis, it was a great achievement for her, and a pride for everyone in town. In the end they got to where I was and of course what we thought was that Guadalupe would have to descend to the end of the route, until the end of the mountain to turn the car around and go back up but Guadalupe said nothing of that, as if in that place would be reason to be in a hurry. “I will go reverse and climb a bit with the back vertically the wall, and then little by little with the front wheels I will turn around and change direction”, but previously she put a small locker on the front wheels for, somehow, to avoid the possibility of felling down the cliff, that for her it was enough. We had traveled half the world and we don´t trust ourself like this woman do. In the end we got out of there, the first woman from Real de Catorce who learned how to handle Willis save the day, sure that with that attitude afterwards there will be many more women in Real de Catorce who will dare to drive Willis and also with new challenges.
The revolution will not be achieved just writing in Twitter from home and if you do not take your ass off the couch you have the risk of end up believing that the new heroes are the influencers with more followers. It was when we began to travel around the world when we discovered that the road is full of stories that go unnoticed, of small heroes who live in remote places who do not know about social networks or followers, but whose achievements ended up leaving a mark among those who surround them, brave simple people who really change the world.