November 30, 2012
How do you begin to let go when your rational mind tells you to hold on good and tight, to the familiar, the comfortable and the normalcy of your life. Urging you to cling to the things that feel real and safe in your everyday. This can be challenging for a nomadic soul that has found a sense of peace in being still.
Issa and I have met this realization head-on over this past month. Having so much time to prep is both a blessing and a curse. We have received an outpour of support from the motorcycling community, friends and family. Yet even with the truly fulfilling work that goes into prepping for something like this, somehow in the backs of our minds and the fronts of our hearts, we have been unable to shake the quiet contemplation that has snuck in this month.
Somewhere between moving moments with loved ones and welcoming our first official trip sponsor, we’ve realized just what we’re asking of ourselves, of our families and our friends – who at the end of the day, no matter how supportive, will be the ones to watch while we leave. For this reason we have had to sit ourselves down for a good ole head to heart, right over wrong, pep talk – each in our own time, each in our own very human ways. We’re ensuring we have, in fact, weighed all of the options, understood the possible consequences and asked the impossible questions. Would we decide differently now if we could? Should we postpone? But with each question asked, the answer remains the same: Now is the time, the best time, the right time in so many ways to take this journey. At the end of the day it is what we want to do and what we love doing. The who we love part will be what keeps us going during those tougher times. It will be the thoughts of their smiling faces as we make our way back that will keep us moving forward.
The weather this winter has mirrored our moods well. From sunshine to gray, snow to hail, hot to cold and, at times, all of the above in one day. Where there is just enough sun to keep us longing for the open road and an equal dosage of the opposite to remind us of the more challenging days that lay ahead. Even now, as I write, a shower of tiny hail pellets are knocking at the back door, while the sun shines in delightfully at the front.
As we draw closer to our departure date it becomes obvious that we are just quietly screaming on the inside. There is no fooling anyone, we are revving and ready. Like two fidgety kids in school, unable to sit still, at times impatient and ready to run, yet still vulnerable and feeling so incredibly small in the midst of this grand adventure. We appreciate the time we’ve had to prepare and spend with family and friends, but at some point after all of the care and consideration, you just have to get on with it. At some point you just get tired of being an observer in your own life.
What we’ve learned in the past five months is extremely valuable, both about the journey ahead and of ourselves. But we have just scratched the surface. As we dig deeper day by day into the unfamiliar, the reality of it all begins to set in.
Reality check #1
Medisys Clinic, February 18th, 2011. Sarah, our lovely and very thorough nurse greets us with her wide and inquisitive eyes. “So you’re going around the world”, she begins. An inch high stack of papers held together by a massive black metal clip hits the desk. She smiles. We cringe. “So before we begin your first round of vaccinations, lets go over the places you will be visiting and the current health risks in each area”.
Here’s the breakdown on the breakouts: Japanese Encephalitis, Malaria, Tick Born Encephalitis, Rabies, Typhoid, Rubella, Hep A and B, the Flu, Measles, Mumps, Chicken Pox, Meningitis, Tetanus and Yellow Fever. Total number of vaccinations 17. We understand that these are precautionary and the total cost of a full package dosage like this definitely adds to the apprehension, but we made a promise to one another before we began planning this trip, two riders out, two riders in. This is the most important thing. So its four weeks later and we’ve made the best and most important investment we can make for our Trans-world Adventure. And I am – no longer – afraid of needles.
Reality Check #2
When someone else believes in you, you immediately feel a bigger sense of responsibility. You want to make them proud to be a part of your ideas or adventures. With our non-profit goals intact and ability to offer information that we learn during our trip to the public, as a tool. We recently decided to seek out sponsors for our trip to support the purpose now surrounding our journey. We reached out to the motorcycling community and they’ve responded with open arms. Helping us to explore the more career driven possibilities of a life on the road.
The main motivation behind sponsorship opportunity is simply to seek out ways to further our work and cause. Finding support so that we too can offer support. Travelling the world and doing the work we want to do while in it. We’ll be making sure to showcase these supporters from time to time through our journey, to let them know they are truly appreciated.
Reality Check #3
My niece Isabelle is turning four this year. She’s becoming, as they always do, quite the little lady and I feel somehow that we have finally become, friends. There is no question now that she knows who we are. I was lucky enough to receive my very first leap from the top of stairs greeting, as we arrived at the front door just last week. Uncle Issa and Tita (Auntie Nita) come over once a week for donair dates. Oof, our hearts wants to melt, break and splatter just thinking about not seeing her! I’ve been finding it really hard to not want to lie to her or make promises that I know I can’t keep, in hopes of hiding the mild sense of guilt that creeps in from time to time. “I’ll send you a postcard every-single-day”! My heart wants to blurt out! Or this one, just for cool points. “Your uncle Issa and I are going to join the travelling circus this summer.” So wrong.
The reality of it is, we’ll be doing our best to be in her life as much as we can, thanks to the power of the internet and video chats – hopefully giving her a wider view of the world that she knows. She’s been lucky enough to have already done quite a bit of travelling with her mom and dad so she’s no stranger to flying and new surroundings. We’re excited to contribute to her world geography education with ample amounts of room for sucking up along the way. “Look mom and dad, Tita and Issa showed me the world!” I like the way this sounds.
Reality Check #4
Good Earth Café, early March. To avoid bouts of cabin fever, Issa and I choose to work out of house 3 – 4 days a week. We settled into one of our nearby coffee shops, laptops open, London fogs hot and sweet, researching, connecting and Basecamping the afternoon away. Meeting Issa’s mum for coffee is a weekly occurrence that we truly look forward to. To describe her in short, she’s light, energetic and always game. On this day, as she walked into the café, we knew something was up. As the tears began to flow shortly after she sat down, we realized that the pre-trip motherly sorrows were finally kicking in. Her own reality was now being checked. She chatted about how the idea of us not being around had sunk in and that she had spent the week watering the plants with her eyeballs. She is one of our biggest fans and would always be the first person to tell us to go, if we said stay, but this was a day we knew would come eventually. It’s difficult to see, but all we could do was sit, listen and learn.
Reality Check #5
With the Real Estate market still making its very slow climb we decided to look into doing a corporate lease with our place, instead of listing it for sale. We’re hoping that while we are away the market will balance out or boom, as predicted for Calgary. Having a corporate rental to help subsidize the trip is such an exciting prospect for us and one we didn’t really expect would be an option. By offsetting some of the journey’s expenses, this will allow us to travel for longer if we want to or at least give us time to settle back in somewhere when the journey has come to an end.
With the house better rented unfurnished, we’ve had to remain diligent in emptying the rooms. So we are packing up and selling what we can as originally planned. And the more we send packing, the more real this is all begins to feel.
So, aside from the internal challenges we’ve faced, Feb into March has been full of reckoning and revelling, an ode to Ani Difranco and a time past. The ball is rolling fast, to the point where we finally feel the momentum kicking in. Like a soft hand at our backs just helping us along, subtle and validating.
And between house, family, planning, writing and non-profit set-up, we make sure to find the time for some lively chat about how truly privileged we feel, how excited we are and how we’re looking forward to enjoying the days ahead, spent out of the classroom and just living the reality of a dream we once had. From sipping foreign wines in foreign lands to riding through rolling green pastures. To be thoughtful strangers to the places and people we meet. And from time to time, hopefully greeting our friends and families as they join us throughout the years. Always remembering to balance out any work we do along the way with a healthy dosage of play. Just simply travelling.
So how do we begin to let go? My answer: with care, consideration, and respect of both our new and old lives, while holding on (good and tight) to each other, to our roots, to the thoughts of our loved ones and all of our hopes and dreams.