“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”
“What’s next?” Besides how do you pay for it, and what do your parents think, after I explain my multi year journey to people “what’s next” is often the next question in line. And I get it, at only twenty years old I’m already doing the sort of expedition most people would never even dream of, so what will I be able to accomplish by thirty, or fifty? Well, as much as a life of perpetual expeditions and travels sounds amazing, there are other things in life I want, and Kevin and I have recently decided that after South America we will put a little pause in our traveling lifestyle in order to establish some roots as well.
So what’s next for Kevin and I? Taking advantage of the amazing place we are both lucky to call home, Oregon. We want a garden to eat from, a community to call our own, and eventually, a family. We want to fish every evening in the summer, hunt for deer in the fall, and ski throughout the winter. We want to host cyclists in our home, like so many people have hosted us, and give back to our wonderful community by encouraging children to lead healthy and active lives. We want to road trip around the USA, cycle through Europe, live in New Zealand, cycle across Yemen and Oman, and make our way (motorcycle, bicycle, horseback…?) across Mongolia too, but what we have come to realize throughout our travels is that some of the things that we most enjoy about our lifestyle – living outdoors, the simplicity, and adventure – are things that we can incorporate into our lives in the next, slightly more sedentary, chapter of our lives as well.
Kevin and I plan to travel for the rest of our lives, and don’t get me wrong, those trips I mentioned above will most certainly happen at one point or another, but these past few months have shown me that you don’t necessarily need to travel halfway around the world to find happiness. It’s true what they say, that happiness comes from within, and Kevin and I are certain that we will find a way to live our lives to the fullest no matter where we end up living. Plus, there are other ways to travel. By reading or watching documentaries about various places you can experience the culture from your armchair, and by hosting travelers in your home you learn from their stories as well. You can seek out people of different backgrounds and opinions in your own community in order to expand your horizons, just as you can explore hidden lakes and mountain bike paths just outside your front door in order to quench your thirst for adventure and beauty. True travel doesn’t end when your body stops moving, because “travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”
Because of our travels Kevin and I have both vowed to put time before money, and adventures before material objects. We have realized how important it is to stay out of the American rat race for the newest phone or fanciest purse, because as we have seen by living so simply, excessive material goods do not bring happiness. We have seen how important it is to eat healthy, grow our own food, and make our own bread, just as well have realized that spending time with family really is as important as all of those cheesy quotes want you to believe. We have decided that we still don’t want smart phones, and we aren’t even sure if we want internet in our home either (and if we do, we will limit when we turn it on, think of all of those evenings you could have been running or fishing instead of being on Facebook!). We have also been left with a debt to the universe; a debt of kindness from all of the families who have taken us in or helped us out. Thankfully, unlike a monetary debt, this is a debt we are excited to pay back in whatever way we see fit (trust me, Kevin and I have had way too many hours on the bike to discuss our million and one non-profit ideas from giving women in India mooncups to taking American children on their first multi week cycling/backpacking adventure). So what’s next for Kevin and I? Learning to incorporate everything we have learned, and everything we have seen, into a fulfilling and happy life back home.