We can hardly believe we have officially been on the road for a year! Last year we set out on August 18 to begin our world tour… and we have seen and experienced so much in one year’s time. We wanted to devote this post to attempting to summarize our first year on the road!
First of all, some fun stats:
Distance ridden: 11,038 miles/17,804 kilometers
Longest day: 88 miles (in north Alabama)
Number of countries visited: 20 (6 in Central America, 5 in South America, 8 in Europe… and the US!)
Highest altitude reached: somewhere around 4,600 meters/somewhere around 15,000 feet
Some random stats to summarize our sleeping arrangements:
Nights spent free camping: 103
Nights spent paid camping: 43
Nights spent in a bed (or at a warm shower): 211
Other (overnight bus, plane or in the airport): 8
Other high and low points:
Lowest point on the trip: Dave needing to spend the night in the hospital in Guatemala
Worst riding conditions: Lots of rain on an already-bad dirt/gravel road in Patagonia. We had to walk the bikes uphill in mud up to our ankles because we absolutely couldn’t stay upright in the muck.
Worst uphill: In Ecuador, we once had about 90 kilometers of steep climbing with virtually no downhill.
Best riding conditions: north of Trujillo, Peru—flat, awesome tail wind, right along the coast with nice scenery
Best outing: Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with family
Best timing: Ending up in London during the 2012 Olympics
Favorite country: Scenery? Chile (in the South); People? England
We are really overwhelmed as we sit and ponder all that has happened and changed in our lives over the past year. We have learned so much! So we tried the other day to make a list of things we have learned… here are some simple highlights:
–to trust God’s perfect provision
–perseverance through frustrating or trying circumstances
–living more simply… fewer clothes, fewer accessories, less stuff altogether!
–to receive kindness from strangers, often who would seem “less fortunate” than us
–The importance of community and relationships: In our traveling, we’ve realized how much community is critical in our life. And it looks different for us in this season than it would when we are in one place. No matter how many cool sights we see, we are constantly reminded that people we meet are the most valuable part of our travels.
Perhaps more than anything, we are grateful for this sweet season in our marriage. How many couples are so fortunate as to actually spend so much time together? In our past life, we both worked full-time, so we woke up in the morning, went our separate ways almost first thing, then only saw each other in the evening for a few hours before going to bed and starting all over! But now we actually hang out most of the day! No, we don’t talk the whole time we’re pedaling, but we do get loads of quality time together. We love it! Not only do we get to hang out more, we have also learned to balance each others’ strengths and weaknesses in new ways. We both know how to handle the other when the stress levels are elevated, when we’re discouraged or frustrated, or even when we’re doing well. We believe the lessons we’ve learned by traveling together have helped strengthen our marriage in a way that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.
So we look forward to what the road ahead of us holds! I just read over the email we sent out a year ago announcing our official departure. It’s interesting to see how much our plans evolve as we go along. Wondering what’s ahead? Well, we’re not completely sure, but here’s the general plan:
–From London (where we are now), we will go to meet Bethany’s aunt in Wales!
–From Wales, we’ll ride to the ferry and head to Ireland to meet Bethany’s parents!
–After Ireland, it’s back across the UK then into France: Normandy, Paris, and the French Riviera are on the list
–From France, we ride to Italy to meet Dave’s parents and visit Rome!
–From Italy, we will ferry over and ride the Balkans—Croatia, Montenegro, maybe Macedonia? Then it’s off to Greece and Turkey!
(At this point, the plans get a bit more hazy)
–We plan to fly from Istanbul, possibly to China to visit friends for Christmas.
–From China, we ride south to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, etc.
–We stop and evaluate finances. If we have enough extra, we go to Australia! If not, we fly back to Seattle and ride down the west coast, then across the good ol’ USA. Whether we go to Australia or not, we’ve decided we would really like to do this ride back home across the country. We think it will be great to end our trip by actually riding home!
Of course, plans change, and we’re flexible. We’re open to see where God leads us in the year to come. We look forward to all He still has to teach us through this journey. And we’re grateful for you—our online community, for sharing in this journey with us!