We vow to write more blogs on part two of this motorcycle adventure! We have gotten sidetracked and lured over to writing long captions on Instgram because of the instant feedback and dopamine release that it provides. We write long blogs and never know if they get read, but when we post a picture on “The Gram” we start seeing those little red heart notifications, and we are high all day!
But it was brought to my attention when we were at home this summer that people do read the blog even if they don’t write a comment. It also allows us to get a little deeper on what we are thinking about or feeling without worrying about hitting a certain character limit or not being able to fit in our #hashtags. Rachel and I both use writing as a way to process our emotions and find out what how we really feel. Most of the time I’m surprised by what ends up coming out. All this is to say- WE’RE BACK TO THE BLOGGING!
We landed in Quito, Ecuador last night a little after 11pm. We eventually found our loose rear tire that we had checked and caught a shuttle to the very same hostel we left back on May 23rd. This post is a little of what happened in between and a little about how it made me feel.
We parked our motorcycle with a company in Quito who does motorcycle tours and rentals. It was a safe place, and we thought our bike would like to be surrounded by other bikes so it wouldn’t get lonely. We are like the people who drop their dog off at doggy daycare and get sent videos and updates on how well it’s playing with others. We flew overnight through Houston to Seattle, where we were gracisouly greeted at the airport by Rachel’s dad Stephen. We went back to his house (I had left his driveway November 17th, 2018) and I took a shower. Stepping out of the shower, I had a really strange sensation of sameness creep over me. I had that feeling like I was grasping for a dream, desperatley trying not to forget it. Had the last six months really happened? We rode a motorcycle through Mexico for three months, crusied through Central America and Colombia… Right? I wasn’t completely sure! We saw all four of our parents, and the day passed in a blur. Looking back now I think I was pretty much in shock. I could stick to a few good talking points, but I was not running on all cylinders. But I didn’t have much time to worry about that (lucky because I may have imploded) because the very next day we boarded a flight to Bali, Indonesia.
We stopped in Korea for a few hours of layover fun. The Asian culture was a stark contrast to our Latin American experience, but somehow the fact that it was still non-USA made it seem like a half-step back into our original reality. In the Seoul airport it felt like we had launched from the past, skipped the present, and had landed in the future. We connected on to Bali, and met our friends who’s wedding we would be filming the coming weekend. We basked in the luxurious villa the groom’s family runs as a rental property and immersed ourselves in the flavors of the food. Oh the flavors!! You know how you’re not supposed to tell your kids which one is your favorite? Well, Asian food is so much better than South American food—no qualms about it. South American food knows it too. Indonesia (maybe Bali specifically) is the birthplace of tempeh which is something vegans eat instead of animals. Tempeh can be good or bad, but either way it’s usually rare to find. Not so in Bali, it was everywhere and everywhere it was it was good. We filmed and photographed the wedding and questioned whether we could ever go back to our hostel lifestyle after being put up in villas and and amazing resort. We got spoiled.
After the wedding, we had a week to explore the island. We loved the culture of Bali and rented a small scooter to see as much of it as we could. Bali is majority Hindu while the rest of Indonesia is Muslim, so Bali is a different thing entirely I’m told. We stuck to Bali. The manuverability of the scooter had me daydreaming about selling our motorcycle and finishing the trip to Argentina on two separate scooters. Rachel seemed eager to try to ride it, so one day after lunch we switched places and she promptly drove the scooter into a ditch. The dual-scooter dream evaporated as I pulled her up out of the small concrete ditch she was lying in. Even covered in what we hoped was mud, I could still see that her leg was bleeding quite a bit. Some men nearby generously offered to hose her down and pointed us to the “hospital” down the street. It turned out to be a walk-in clinic but we were grateful because within eleven minutes, Rachel was getting eleven stitches on her right knee. She was in a lot of pain, but she was a trooper and we still enjoyed our last couple days in Bali.
We flew back to Seattle, and I know we again stayed at Stephen’s house (we probably owe him rent by now) for at least a day.. We did an Eastern WA trip to take some photographs, see some friends, visit my brother, and get Rachel’s hair done. Then it was back to Seattle to get ready to fly to Hawaii.
We rented a soft-top Jeep and began our tour around the Big Island. We were on a photography assignment taking pictures of campsites for a website that connects land owners with campers. We bit off a little more work than we expected, and by the end of the week we were exausted and had spent zero time on the beach. We met some wonderful people on the island, and have decided Hawaii itself isn’t for us. If we want tropical locations, we will probably head to another spot. Chalk it up to a learning experience!
We flew straight from Hawaii to Walla Walla, WA for Rachel’s best friend’s wedding in which she was a bridesmaid and I was a videographer. It was one of the best weddings I’ve attended and we both felt overwhelmed to be surrounded by friends.
We then had two weeks to house-sit in Seattle, which was perfect timing. We liked having our own space but being still for that long was something we weren’t used to. On the trip, movement feels like progress and productivity. Once we were still, my existential anxiety began to creep back in – what am I doing? I should be starting a business (Josh you have two weeks..) I should be writing a book! (See previous parenthetical notation). So instead, while Rachel edited wedding videos I delivered food for Uber Eats and several other food delivery services. It was pretty fun, good excerise on my bike, but probably not my full-time future career path. I’ll probably get an ebike and do it for fun on the side though!
We made our way up to start our Island Tour. Rachel’s mom lives with her boyfriend on Lopez Island and my parents live on Whidbey Island- both part in the same region of Puget Sound. Both places are gorgeous and it reminded us of when we originally left last year. We had done a very similar Island Tour and suddenly our summer mentality shifted from re-adjusting to being back in Seattle to gearing up for the next half of the adventure! But it wasn’t on to Quito just yet, first we had to make a stop in Montreal. Obviously.
Rachel’s family has always amazed me with their ability to gather and to know their second and third cousins, once twice and thrice removed. It all comes back to a property outside Montreal with a small lake and four houses that has been in their family for years and has served as a glue or at least a magnet to keep everyone together. I had never been to a family reunion before complete with t-shirts and branded napkins and I found myself extremely grateful to feel like it was my family too, not like I was an outsider crashing someone else.
After a tour of Monreal Sunday and a night in a wonderful airport hotel, we were on our way back to Quito and it feels like we never left! We are both excited and energized to see what the second leg of this trip has in store for us. We promise we will share whatever that is right here on the blog!