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Roddy Sanchez: Coolest “Migrant” I’ve met, but he’s just doing a Walk-about


Quick mind-dump, sans edit

I mentioned Roddy a several days ago after finding in a tiny village that you will have difficulty finding on Google Earth. The village is Bajo Chiquito, in Darien Province, Panama.

I am still with Embera Indians even in Panama City and we are about to meet in Starbucks. Cannot make up this stuff. We were just together in remote Darien Province in the Darien Gap — a very dangerous place, getting trucks stuck in mud, deep in jungle, going up stream in dugout canoes, pigs in the river, cows in the river, ducking to miss branches, getting out to push the boat over shallows, and then finally coming to an area with many migrants bathing.

Most migrants are friendly. Having just survived the Darien Gap. If they think that is dangerous, Mexico is ahead.

Anyway, I met this man. Said his name is Roddy Sanchez. From Ecuador. Said his passport and all his belongings stolen in Darien, but had another old pack and other “stuff” he found discarded on the trail.

Roddy said he saw people who were murdered out there. Said it’s hell out there.

Yet you can feel his energy. Roddy is fully alive. Having the time of his life. Giant authentic smile. His eyes show he is having true joy. My Embera friend Francisco told me same later. That Roddy was having a great time talking to me because I wanted to hear all of Roddy’s stories and am very interested. Most people think Roddy is crazy. Roddy told me same. His family does not even know he is in the gap. I said you are not crazy! We are the same! You are SPECIAL. Rare. Rare seems crazy, but it’s not. Not always, anyway.

Adventurers know our kind. (Not to be confused with adrenaline junkies. That’s a different fish.)

Roddy is not even migrating, he said. Just going on a walk-a-bout. Said his dad had done a walk-a-bout to 35 countries, and Roddy wants to up the family record to 100. Roddy is only at ten so far. 90 to go and he’s very excited. I said you will be a totally different man when you finish! Great days ahead!

Roddy said that if he can make it to America, he just wants to walk around America and then leave and keep walking. I said I want to meet Roddy in Mexico or America. He’s down for that. I will do some Walk-a-bout with Roddy.

I have published numerous times that walk-a-bouts are medicine for the soul. Get out there and do a walk-a-bout and you will see. You will feel better forever.

Anyway, numerous of my friends and now my family are saying they want to meet Roddy. Some even saying they will give him a room in America and show him about their areas.

Each time I meet with Embera Indians, they start talking about Roddy the crazy Equadorian who just walked through The Gap. They never heard of such a thing. They keep talking about him in wonder. I say Roddy is not crazy. He’s on a walk-a-bout! Best thing on earth is a walk-a-about.

Interestingly, the Embera with me are saying our adventure is very fun for them. They have never met someone like me.

That’s because I am like Roddy! Someone who appreciates a walk-a-bout! Walk-a-bouts make you appreciate stuff. All stuff.

Now I must go to Starbucks to meet my Indian friends. Cannot make up this stuff. We literally were just in the jungle with Roddy, and now we are going to Starbucks.


Walk some more.

Keep walking.

You will love it.

Michael Yon

Michael Yon is America's most experienced combat correspondent. He has traveled or worked in 82 countries, including various wars and conflicts.

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