(written by Dave, with help from his ghostwriter Nancy)
As promised some time ago, here is our re-entry blog update. But, where to start?
Let’s start with wooden spoons and spatulas. Why, you ask? Well simply because we have so many now. We lived for 2 years with one mini silicon spatula and no wooden spoons (well, that’s not completely true as we started our bicycle adventure with one wooden spoon but pitched it in one of our first “do we really need all this stuff” culls). When we returned to our apartment in Sydney, the first thing we did was unpack all of our stuff. We don’t have that much stuff in a relative sense but it sure seems like a lot more stuff than we had for the last two years. For the record, we are the proud owners of 6 wooden spoons, 7 wooden spatulas and 6 metal spatulas – the later including two pie servers. We don’t eat that much pie, honest.
Before the wooden spoon/spatula police out there get overly excited, I dare readers to go to their own kitchen cabinets and count their wooden spoons and spatulas. Don’t forget the jar on the counter that holds all of those utensils. These are the things that are easy to accumulate. You know, you’re at the craft fair and you spot wood carving booth – you know you don’t really have a place for one of the nice bowls so you instead buy a spoon. You buy a new barbeque and they throw in a free barbeque set – you don’t need another steel spatula but it’s free and you have room in the drawer. Before you know it, you are surrounded by wooden spoons and spatulas. On a bike, you don’t have room, so one mini spatula is all you get – and it’s really all you need.
And don’t get me started on coffee mugs. I mean, who hasn’t been to a foreign land and come home with an “I love Lake Louise/Paris/San Francisco” coffee mug. Never mind all those motivational mugs that you picked up at work when they introduced the voicemail system or celebrated the first shipment of some fancy new product. Mugs multiply faster than spoons and spatulas. On a bike trip you just don’t have room for commemorative mugs. We lived for two years with one plastic mug each.
Now that we are home in Sydney and unpacked, we are having a really hard time with all these choices. Which spoon should we use? Which cup should we use? Should we rotate them? Save one for special occasions? Donate anything over 3 to charity? Ah, for the simple spoon-free days of a bicycle trip…
It wasn’t just the spoons, spatulas and mugs that got us. Really, much of what we stored seemed excessive after a simple life on the bike. Now I have to think about what colour t-shirt to wear in the morning, rather than hoping that my one t-shirt is not too dirty, wrinkled or smelly.
Such is life…
Once we got the apartment sorted we decided that it was time to find jobs and get on with our careers. This may sound strange to some long-time readers who mistook us for long-wandering global nomads. But truth be told, we both really do enjoy the work that we do. The trip was always planned as a gap-year (or two), not a retirement (despite what our nephews and nieces think, we’re not that old…).
We came back to Sydney because our last jobs were here, our skills most relevant here and we like sunshine. The day we arrived it was over 43 degrees (105f). That may sound nice right now to those northern hemisphere readers but that’s pretty hot if you’re moving boxes and furniture and unpacking spoons, spatulas and coffee mugs.
I’ve managed to find a job in Sydney and Nancy has a couple of leads. Mostly, I think that she looks forward to having me out of the house. After being together almost 24/7 the last two years, then hanging out here while hunting jobs – well you get the idea. Work is sounding pretty good!
Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention. Long time readers will know that our bikes were starting to fail us towards the end of the trip. They are fine for city bikes now but no longer up for expedition travel. So, while we were in the US, we took advantage of being close to Co-Motion, custom bike builders in Eugene, Oregon. We picked up new Pangea touring bikes, complete with Rholoff hubs (for the bike geeks out there). We don’t have plans to use them on another expedition any time soon but we still get our annual leave and there is much to explore here in Australia. You can get by with less than 6 wooden spoons but life without a touring bike the garage is too much to comprehend. We have taken them out for a short overnight trip (complete with egg and bacon roll) and they rode like a dream…
So, for the foreseeable future we will have to live vicariously through the cycle trips of others. Recently we got a chance host Amaya and Eric Williams of Worldbiking fame (see http://www.worldbiking.info/wordpress/). They have been on the road since 2006 and are on a quest to cycle every country on the planet. They have had some incredible experiences and it was great fun to spend some time with them and re-live our trip a bit. Amaya interviewed us for her regular podcast feature, Touring Talk – you can catch it here: Touring Talk. Spend some time looking around their site – it’s got a lot of great information about bike touring to keep you excited while you plan your own tour.
We also got a brief mention in Adventure Cycling’s e-newsletter recently. We got a big up-tick in subscribers to the blog over a short period and it was only through our internet friends and blog followers Gary and Rose, the Pedaling Duo (read about their trip here) that we figured out what had happened. I am afraid many of those new subscribers might have been under the impression from the Adventure Cycling note that we were just departing on our trip. So, to all you new blog followers out there, apologies but we have actually finished our trip – well, at least this big trip.
That’s enough for now. We still have a couple of posts up our sleeve, including one detailing what equipment worked for us and what didn’t work so well. In the meantime, time to get out and get riding!