IntroductionIn November 2001, while on a motorcycle ride from California to the tip of South America, capture by a Colombian terrorist army was not what I had in mind. Yet on one quiet, sunny afternoon, on a remote Andean highway, there wasn’t a choice. Marched at gunpoint into the mountains outside of Medellín, after that moment I knew that life would never be the same. During five grueling weeks as an involuntary guest of the National Liberation Army, they eventually broke my spirit with head games and torture. When I was finally freed in a Christmas prisoner exchange with the Colombian government, as an ultimate act of defiance against my captors, I continued to pursue my original goal of riding to the tip of South America and back. But once returning to California, after one too many restless nights, I realized that recovery from that incident would be more difficult than anticipated, and although I was back in Palm Springs, it was still a long road home. After late evenings and early mornings of teethgrinding turmoil, I eventually concluded the only way to restore my psychological health and dignity was to continue what I had been doing — riding motorcycles to exotic lands. My silent mantra illuminating the path to positive thought became “Living well is the best revenge.” But since I had already tackled South America, the new goal would become traversing the entire globe, alone on a motorcycle. At first, friends and family still shaken by my Colombian ordeal couldn’t accept what I needed to do, reminding me of the current headlines highlighting increasing international terrorism and an impatient world furious with American foreign policy.But for me, still reeling from a firsthand experience of human madness, there was no other way to contend with such a festering wound of personal doubt and deepening emptiness. I needed to find out what was really out there and hopefully confirm a suspicion that humanity was not inherently evil.Yet in a post-9/11 climate of fear, Western societies were growing increasingly alarmed with news of more terrorist plots. Jerked from a slumbering state of denial, on September 11, 2001, the United States of America had been savagely attacked with its own technology and more was promised. From bombings to kidnappings, evidence of constant threats in a volatile world was blasting across our tv screens. Terrorists wanted citizens to feel helpless and cringe in fear. When we hide at home, they win. In a frightening overreaction, would America ultimately strangle under its own self-imposed security? Unable to defeat the U.S. militarily, could Osama bin Laden and others like him win the most strategic battle, unwittingly aided by our own political masters?
Glen Heggstad (Author)
Glen Heggstad is the author of Two Wheels Through Terror. He was the youngest Hell's Angel ever voted in and his story of harrowing capture by Colombian rebels has been featured on 48 Hours, Larry King Live, MSNBC, a National Geographic Channel docudrama, and NPR.