Fox Point — He's not much of a cyclist — and he doesn't know Spanish — but that didn't stop Jacob Frazer from embarking on a nearly three-month bicycle tour across South America on Tuesday, July 1.
Frazer, 19, from Fox Point, headed out for South America with Alfie Astor, one of his freshman classmates from Northwestern University. While other freshmen were buzzing about internships or summer jobs, Frazer and Astor were hatching something much more adventurous: a 3,000-mile bike starting in Arequipa, Peru, traveling through the Andes Mountains and western Bolivia, then across Argentina all the way to the Brazilian coast of Florianopolis.
They expect the trip will take 69 days, from July 1 to Sept. 7. They will be carrying all of their supplies on their bikes, resting along the way in camping tents, hostels and hotels.
"We talked to a guide to know what to be ready for, but at the end of the day, we will be taking it as we go," Frazer said. "There will be a lot of challenges, but I think that will be what makes the experience so memorable. We're pushing ourselves pretty far out of our comfort zone, which is what we want to do."
Frazer, a journalism major, was raised with a passion for travel. After graduating from Nicolet, he spent a year in Israel and backpacked through Europe for a summer. His friend Alfie also has a good deal of travel experience, but neither of them have been to South America before.
Language may be a bit of an issue, though. Frazer doesn't remember much from his Spanish classes at Nicolet, but Astor —from London — has a proficient knowledge of the language.
In addition to biking through the region, they also wanted to interact and support the region by holding a fundraising drive benefiting a local nonprofit. As of Tuesday afternoon, they had raised $1,320 for TECHO, a nonprofit working to combat poverty in South American countries. TECHO mobilizes youth volunteers to provide transitional housing as well as educational programs and labor training, Frazer said.
"We did a lot of research on different charities," Frazer said. "We were looking for an organization that was locally connected with the region that was focused on long-term solutions to poverty."
The two hope to raise $3,000 for TECHO. Donations can be made at goennounce.com/missions/view/id/2480.
Frazer and Astor will be chronicling their South American adventure through their Tumblr blog at bikingsouthamerica.tumblr.com.
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