A lot to be thankful for…
Laura and I are doing the Tour d’ Parents this week for Thanksgiving. Yesterday we rode from Long Beach to Orange and spent the night at her dad’s house. This morning, we hopped a few trains to get from Orange to North Hollywood and rode to my parent’s house in Sunland.
It feels nice but a little strange to be “back.” We don’t have an apartment and no real home and are rotating home stays with friends so we don’t burn anyone out. We are getting comfortable, resorting to our old familiar habits and haunts. However, at the back of our heads is that gently prodding voice reminding us that we aren’t done quite yet. There is still a multitude of places to visit, of people to meet, of great vistas to behold, or country roads to ride.
What this break has afforded us, however, is a period of time to reflect on our trip so far. I wrote in an earlier post that when we got back, it was hard to distinguish if our trip was a dream or if being back was the dream. We’ve been back for a week and clearly, now it feels like the past four months is the dream.
I recently got some photos that one of our hosts took of us in Trinidad. It was good to see them. To remind us – Yes, we did go on that trip afterall.
It is funny to get nostalgic about something we are still in the middle of doing. It seems oddly premature and yet, when I flip through my Flickr account of the images of our trip so far I find that I already have a longing for places we’ve been and people we’ve met. I like to think of all the great riding we’ve done, all the beautiful sunsets and sunrises we were witness to, the nights where we fell asleep to the sound of the ocean or a river.
Mostly, I think about the wonderful people we’ve met. I remember that within the first 30 minutes of getting off the train in Portland we ran into a blog reader on the street who bade us well; of Donna, another virtual stranger, who loaned us some U-locks for the week; of Wayne and Rose who were the first to open their homes to us, of Jonathan, who help set up a presentation at a brew pub to kick off our trip – and that was just the first few days!
I think of our fellow tourists on the road who we shared some miles and some laughs with, of a couple who gifted us with a great Krebs cycling map, of that great feeling of community every evening at camp. I think of all our generous hosts along the way who let us into their lives for a short intense period of time. I think of our chance meeting with a reader in Arcata who gave us a place to stay. I think of our chance meeting with another reader at an REI in Seattle who led us to the best coffee in town.
There are so many memories to remember already. Pulling out crab traps for dinner, hearing galloping horses at night on Orcas Island, the unbelievable warmth and openness of Adam and Julia from Berkeley, spending time with my old college roommate and seeing the paths we’ve taken, our nightly dinners with Logan and Tammy while we were convalescing in Sacramento…it just goes on and on.
When I think of everything that we’ve seen and experienced in just four months it is almost beyond words. My heart swells and I get a lump in my throat when I think of all the kindness we’ve been so privileged to receive. This world can surprise you with kindness.
We have a lot to be thankful for – the things we’ve seen and the people we’ve met. We also want to thank you readers for following along, for your comments and for donating. When Laura and I are feeling down and out, there’s nothing quite like your emails and comments to keep us going.
So thank you, thank you, thank you. I hope all of you get to live out your dreams whatever they may be.
Ellen November 26, 2009 at 11:07 pm
My husband and I once took a trip with 3 of our children, spending 6 weeks in Israel. We made so many memories in that short time. It had been our plan to stay much longer, but we cut it short and moved home again. Settling in these last years was not w/o many wishes that maybe we should have stuck it out longer. Yet, I am so happy to have had that time, that out of normal experience; the markets, the people, the buses, the bomb scares, the walking, the heat, the city at night, the living outside of the usual tour experience.
I remember years later seeing a picture of a man outside the Jerusalem market after a particular bombing. This same man daily had a slice of watermelon for the children or a plum to share w/them when we were there. They remembered him and the way he had reached out to them, young and sometimes homesick and always happy for a treat.
The experiences we shared, and the memories we have and the regrets we’ve tasted cannot dim the amazing fact that we dared to leave our home, to face the unknown and to see the world on our own. I wouldn’t take back a single shekel for that time!
Today on Thanksgiving I looked across the room to my husband who awaits a liver transplant. I could see his fatigue and illness. How much we have shared in our marriage made rich by the promises we kept, the experiences we dared to make and the aching hope for tomorrow. I bless you on your travels and pray you will find the next path pedaled worthy of your dreams. I enjoy your posts as I still dare to dream. Maybe we’ll see you on some road out there.
Jack November 27, 2009 at 4:40 pm
A wonderful post (and Ellen’s comment is inspiring). Happy Thanksgiving – Jack
Carl & Beth of Orcas November 28, 2009 at 1:47 am
Beth and I are thankful to being able to meet and host Laura and Russ and getting the live through them while dreaming of our own adventures, past and future.
Simple Living News Update December 7, 2009 at 6:41 am
[…] A lot to be thankful for… […]
Russell December 11, 2009 at 3:22 pm
Some how I seemed to miss the photo of me on your website! What a surprise. It was a pleasure meeting you two and I have been living vicariously through your travels and website. Good luck with your big adventure!
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This was a great post. Good stuff for today, and maybe everyday.