Packing Up, Heading Home, and Why Has This Been Important?
– Five Oceans, Three countries, Seven Weeks
It was December 1st. The weather was warm but very unsettled. Kiwi’s have an expression: “Spring in New Zealand is all four seasons in one day”. Our last week there lived up to this; we experienced alternating rain, hot sun, 40 mph winds and lovely peaceful conditions, about every five minutes.
Our Kiwi lifesaver, Gyln, opened up her home to us and took us in. Ray spent the morning disassembling the bikes and packing them up, then carefully metering out the items we wanted to take home to 23 kilos per bag.
A word about Glyn: I met her in Boise on a hike and she invited us to stay with her. She picked us up at our arrival, hosted us throughout our visit, dropped us off at the airport. Having her home as “home base” allowed us to reduce our bike load while we toured New Zealand. Her hospitality was indicative of the reception we received across the island nation – Strangers helped us, drivers on the narrow, curvy roads slowed down and gave us as much room as they could, bus drivers offered us directions. When we stopped at a hotel or restaurant, drenched from the rain, wait staff and hotel managers wanted to know that we were okay. Some even offered to drive us to our next town. I/we cannot say enough about the generous and wonderful welcome we received.
For our part, I hope we have represented the United States of America well. I am very proud to be an American and at the same time can see where our internal violence, the media sensationalism, and our gun-laden TV shows can misrepresent who we are. One young women asked me if it was safe to visit America. Personally, I have never fired a gun at another person, yet that is not the picture foreign nations see of us.
On a very personal note, this trip was the culmination of a 20 year dream, and, although the weather made parts of the trip very difficult, it also added to the “guts and glory”
stories we will tell. Ray and I will return to the states on our four month anniversary. This has been a wonderful way to start a marriage.
I have just a few pieces of advice to those who wish to undertake a journey like this:
1. Thank the universe every day you wake up, that you woke up. Being above the ground is way better than being below it.
2. Carry with you half the stuff you think you need. You really can do just fine with less and every ounce starts to count.
3. Get the best gear you can-it will matter.
4. Last and most important-Do it. There is nothing more empowering than seeing a dream through to completion.
The pain and discomfort in your legs, chest, and knees as you peddle those last few miles will fade, but the joy of completion will not. You are not getting any younger – do it now. There will never be a perfect time, there is only today.