Four Years Upon the Edge of Chance

As my patient and devoted Readership will no doubt recollect, it has been my Unwavering Practice on each anniversary of the departure of our Expedition to compose a review of the year past. At the close of my last Dispatch, our Expedition was sadly diminished, and afflicted by Adversity and Dire Tribulations. It seemed indeed that the world had given me up, and I had begun to entertain melancholy thoughts of making my return to Our Grand Dominion, there to accept my long-delayed knighthood, retire to my country estates and devote myself to writing my Memoirs until such time as adventure called again. I am aware that this despondency is scarcely to be credited, but even I am not impervious to temporary alterations of character.

However, it was not to be. Ship-wrecked by a Typhoon in the Polynesias, our sole provisions one cask of biscuit (and another of Rum, without which I should surely have come to grief), we were salvaged some months later, bronzed and ragged, and worked our passage through the South Seas and across the vast Pacific. There we reassembled and refitted the expedition in Buenos Aires, that Paris of the Americas and pearl of the Rio de la Plata. Thence over-land into the depths of the measureless Southern American continent to the great Cataract called by the savage Guaraní people, i-guasu, and upriver into the swarming malarial cloud-forests of the great Amazon Basin, haunt of giant insects, strangely-formed fruits of Nature’s bounty, and countless Grotesque Creatures in all their myriad shrieking and gibbering hosts.

Afterward forsaking the low-lands in favour of higher altitudes, we made our way through the former possessions and Vice-Royalties of the Spanish Crown, by llama and mule train over the towering range of the Andes. There we searched for the remnant cities of the Incas, hunting for Treasures among their cryptic traps and ruins. Finally, fevered and footsore, our bearers speaking in tongues and worshipping strange gods and idols, we determined to seek the Coast once more, carrying with us a cache of temple gold (retrieved at some personal risk to myself).

And it was there in the Sacred Valley of the Incas that I was nearly done to Death by my erstwhile Nemesis, that malicious Jesuit Father Valentine. I say “erstwhile”, indeed, Dear Readers, for, staking all on a cunning Stratagem of Disguise and posing as a half-Indian porter in my employ whilst harbouring evil intentions, the Brilliant and Nefarious Fiend made his ultimate play against me on the precarious heights of the great Ruins of Machu-Picchu, and I may report with some satisfaction that there the matter ended, and his Deviltry shall trouble the world no more.

Later, having concluded an expedition through the Amazon in search of the monstrous saurians described by Challenger and Malone, I had freshly returned to what passes for Civilization in such territories, and established myself as the guest of my newest patron, the Doña Isabella Mercedes María del Socorro Ibáñez y Valiente. I had been resident there only a short time when, awakening from a night-mare (a re-visitation of the Infamous Mongoose Incident, as my Nocturnal Phantasms so often are), I chanced to overhear the Doña herself giving directions for my arrest and incarceration.

This conduct was in singular contrast to her previous manner toward me (as I trust that my Audience will believe), but it is explained by Disquieting Intelligence I have since uncovered which intimates that the late Valentine of hateful memory may have been her Father in every sense. This hypothesis, while odious, seems to me rather likely than otherwise — but that I leave to the reader’s taste.

This Shocking Betrayal from the most Unexpected Quarter has forced me to flee without delay in bare feet and shirt-sleeves, forsaking pocket-watch, waistcoat and revolver. A certain Fallen Woman of my seemingly permanent acquaintance has also absconded from Captivity (with, it must be said, the aforementioned gold) and we have now made our Rendez-vous at a secret Zeppelin field. She has completed her own correspondence ahead of me, and now waits with well-concealed impatience for me to finish my own.

The Doña’s ruffians are closing in and time is of the Essence, yet I should not feel at ease with myself had I leapt into Unknown Hazards without a parting Dispatch. We fly out of menace into danger, Dear Readers, and I cannot misrepresent that we are in mortal peril of our lives from this moment on.

In the past I have moved Heaven and Earth to place my dispatches in the hands of my Publishers, but henceforth I can promise nothing. While there is Wit and Strength and Will left to me, I shall continue to do so by any means I can devise, but my freedom and bodily safety are far from certain. My enemies are crafty, ruthless and many. Danger besets me on every side, and you are right to fear for me. There is every hope that we may yet reach our destination unmolested, and I may be heard from again in a fortnight. But if Cruel Fortune should decree that after this Valediction my words never again reach the salons and drawing-rooms of the Empire, I beg that my Faithful and Constant Audience should not despair of me, and continue to believe in their hearts that my adventures continue.

Like Tennyson’s Ulysses, I am become a name for always roaming with a hungry heart, and although I fear that this new century has little place for my kind, there yet remains for me “some work of noble note”. And so I launch myself once again into the empty spaces of the map, to sail beyond the sunset. Pursued as we are by foes, our lives in Dreadful Jeopardy; still, as ever, my soul strains at the leash. I can admit to no regrets. The Lure of the Unknown masters me, and it is not in my power to resist. Give me forever the great waste-lands and the savage Frontiers. Adventure awaits, and I shall never be found wanting.

Once again I beg leave to address my compliments to the erudite scholars of the Royal Geographic Society, and to her Imperial Majesty Queen Victoria, but necessarily not to my former patron the Doña Isabella, engaged as she is in attempting my demise.

I am, and I shall always remain,

Signature

Christopher Liberty, Gentleman Adventurer

Flourish

18 Comments on this Dispatch:

May 8th, 2012

Truly remarkable mate x

¬ Marc
May 8th, 2012

Still keeping yourself one step ahead of the bastards, eh old boy? If you’re not careful it will soon be your hindquarters…and if you mean to remain in the company of such, ahem, “maidens” you shall be lucky if that is the only part that suffers. My contact with the Bothan resistánce has procured for me your secreted travel itinerary, and I shall be there at the zeppelin field to swift you away, lest our common enemies catch wind of our designs. As I sit on my terrace in this, the sometimes chaotic city of gardens, enjoying my last cigar of the night (lady fallbrook swears they shall be the death of me) I ponder the past 4 years…how much has changed, and how much has remained the same. Anyhow, brother, tomorrow sees our long awaited re union, may the Gods smile upon us. Until tomorrow then, I remain.

¬ Baron Remy of Fallbrook
May 8th, 2012

I say please contact a publisher after your return to Canada, and publish a blockbuster, which will be loved by many like me, who envy you but dont have the guts to do what you and Sheryl have achieved…way to go.

¬ Atul
May 9th, 2012

Fantastic Chris! Thanks to both you and Sheryl for having entered my life in your travels, I’m sure many on this thread feel the same. Best of luck settling in at home!

¬ Steve
May 9th, 2012

Wow…youve done well. Wish u all the best and may u travel safe till the very end.

¬ Gabrielle
May 9th, 2012

You two could not be more inspiring!

¬ Kendall
May 14th, 2012

You guys are some of the only people who can actually understand what’s going on for us right now, and how much we wish we were still out there. I’m glad we were an inspiration, but I hope you realize that you two were an inspiration right back at us in return. You came along at just the right time for us and gave us back some of the enthusiasm for travel that had faded away.

¬ Chris
May 9th, 2012

Wonderful reading!!! I’m saving up some of it to read on my trip to
Canada Friday (the BC end of that lovely and promising country, not
the Toronto end).

And so, welcome home, wherever that spot happens to be.

Your travel style has stayed with us as legend…particularly your clothesline.

¬ Julie
May 9th, 2012

Amazing and inspiring. Congrats! Thanks for sharing your journey

¬ Tajé
May 9th, 2012

Hey mr Liberty…u have seen probably more than anybody else n that s something that no one can take away from you. Going back home has its good things too….just see it as the beginning of a new adventure… :)

¬ Barby
May 9th, 2012

I salute thee, a true Gentleman Adventurer who has travelled far and wide, in search of an intangible that’s only apparent to thee, but yet remain in wonderment of the world that you’ve traversed so extensively. So how do we, mere 9-5 mortals, measure against such a sterling personal accomplishment? Have a safe passage back to normality ;-)

¬ wcc
May 9th, 2012

Safe trip to your ¨home and native land¨. Miss you guys and hope to see you again soon. maybe i might be able to have a captain morgan with you by then.

¬ Barry
May 9th, 2012

Don’t be scared coming home. Last winters haven’t been so bad…

¬ Cezar
May 9th, 2012

Love you guys and thank you for stopping by on your journey. All the best for your home going. xo

¬ Bindi
May 9th, 2012

Thank you for letting me be a small part of this adventure. Best wishes and lotsa love :) xoxoxo

¬ Vineeta
May 9th, 2012

both of you are amazing! :)

¬ Jacek
May 9th, 2012

Awesome trip and great achievement…all the best settling back home….is it still home???

¬ Amir
May 9th, 2012

Congrats guys, enjoy the homecoming. Was lovely to be a small part of your fab adventure x

¬ Kate
June 11th, 2012

Hey Chris,
I read some of your articles in the last three months and just checked your website again: I am happy for you that you got back to Canada! I can imagine that your feelings about the end of your traveling were mixed but I hope that it wasn’t too difficult to deal with this big change.
I really enjoyed our trip in Argentina and who knows .. maybe I will see you two again some time!
Greetings to Sheryl!
Julia (from Germany, we met in Salta ;) )

¬ Julia
June 13th, 2012

Hi Julia! Great to hear from you, thanks for getting in touch! You’re right that our feelings are very mixed about being home, but Sheryl and I are slowly adjusting to life here. We miss travelling… a lot, but now we’re trying to figure out jobs and an apartment and all that other fun stuff, so being busy helps. Still, I’d much rather be back at the salt flats in our rental car. :)  One of the highlights of South America for me, even with that hurricane. 

We’ll be in Berlin again someday, so we’ll definitely meet up with you and Janis then. Until then, take care, stay in touch, and dream of llamas. :)

¬ Chris
Flourish
Chris Liberty - Dispatches from a Gentleman Adventurer
Being the internal dialog of a vagabond who chased his own tail across five continents for 4 years and 2 days from May 2008 to May 2012, in search of something that never really became clear.
This travelogue comprises 16,426 photographs and 402,515 words in 307 dispatches written from 335 places in 52 countries on 6 continents around the world.
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