We have decided to make FOTR a thing. It means Friends on the Road. Learn it, look for it, and meet the amazing people we have the chance to get to know this year.
Age: 27 (we won't share this for everyone, but he told us and didn't care)
Languages spoken: Spanish
Where We Met: Montañita (he had been there for a few months)
The Important Shit:
Every time we talked to Frank, we were more impressed. It all started because the bar he works at (Hay Chuchaqui) serves some of the cheapest drinks in Montañita (5x10 cocktails, 3x5 beers). By the second or third time we came back, he recognized us and greeted us with a huge smile. After a night of talking to some Ecuadorian truckers and us, he became a friend on the road.
Frank comes from Venezuela and his family is still there. His life wasn't easy -- not only is he the only person in his family out of Venezuela -- his mom is fighting cancer and undergoing chemo, one of his brothers was killed by the police, and he had an abusive, alcoholic stepfather. But even as he explained some of those things to us, he would smile. When you talk with Frank, you get a sense of just how strong and caring of a person he is. It hits you in the face. He frequently pointed out that life has some good and some bad and you just have to roll with it (or something similar to that, but it was all in Spanish or via Google Translate so just assume he is 10x more eloquent than we are making him sound).
Frank worked all the time and when we asked him to take pictures it took 3-5 days just to find a time that he could make work. His shifts would frequently go 10-12 hours. Or he would have two shifts a day for 4-8 hours apiece. We didn't go into a ton of detail, but I assume some of that was going home to help with everything going on.
Oh yea, despite his positivity, he really doesn't like the ocean, or beaches, or sand. And he lives in Montañita. Luckily, he is planning to move to Colombia with a friend soon and he looking forward to some colder weather. And soon after that he will be moving in with his boo.