A Surprise Return Home

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July 21st, 2015

In half an hour Kevin and I will be boarding a plane which will take us to Eugene, OR where my brother will pick us up in order for us to surprise my parents. Though we had planned to cycle for a few more months, after a week on the divide Kevin decided that he no longer wanted to cycle tour. He had reached his saturation point; where a mountain was just another mountain, and a village just another village, and though we were about to enter into what most people describe as the most beautiful part of South America (and possibly the world), his heart just wasn’t in it. This wasn’t the first time he had brought up the fact that he wanted to go home either. During our travels we have met many different people with different “saturation” points, basically different amounts of time that they can truly appreciate the place they are in, and though I feel as if I could happily continue traveling, in reality we hit Kevin’s end point months ago. Though I was extremely angry and disappointed – I’d been looking forward to the divide and then northern Peru since since we landed in Ushuaia six months ago – after a few rough days I too realized that forcing the rest of the trip would only make Kevin dislike cycle touring, and that it would be better to save Peru for another trip; a trip we will both appreciate even more given the chance to return with fresh eyes, and happy hearts.

Sitting in the airport contemplating the fact that in just over twenty-four hours I’ll be sitting in the home I was raised in is a scary thought. It’s exciting – I haven’t seen my parents in two years and can’t wait to meet my new brother (my parents adopted a twelve year old boy while I was away) and my gramma who is living with them for the summer – but scary because instead of heading into the unknown – something I’m pretty good at – I’m headed back into the known. I’m headed back into the country of huge box stores and gigantic cars, back into a place void of markets and new languages. Leaving Peru is a bittet affair for me as it wasn’t on my own terms, and though I know it will be better for us both in the long run, for now it’s disappointing.

So what’s it like knowing you are going home after over two years on the road? Well, it’s exciting, it’s going to be fun to see my family again, but mostly, it’s scary. Cycling for me is normal. Camping is normal. Hearing different languages is normal. But living in a house, in the same town, seeing the same people everyday, well that’s going to be all new for me. Just as my first day of cycle touring was scary because I was entering into a whole new lifestyle, so is going home because once again, it’s going to be a very different chapter.

August 6th, 2015

After surprising and then spending a few days with my family we surprised Kevin’s family (three of his siblings and their kids) by joining them on a week long rafting and camping trip which was amazing to say the least. It allowed me to finally meet the family we are moving to Astoria to be with – an amazing adventurous laid back and loving family I can’t wait to be part of – and it solidified our belief that we can continue to adventure and explore in our own backyard now that we are back. For me, these last two weeks have been busy but extremely fun, and I’m so incredibly happy to be back in Oregon. My bitter thoughts about leading Peru early have vanished, and instead, I’m happier than ever to have ended the trip early in order to start a totally different sort of life here together.

Ironically enough Kevin – the one who actually wanted to leave cycle touring a few weeks ago – has had a hard time adjusting. Though he has dreamed about seeing his family again for over a year, now that it’s happened, he is anxious to get back to cycle touring. Though I’ve already done two year long out of country trips, and therefore returns, he has never experienced reverse culture shock and is struggling with everything being so different. He feels out of place, as if he has changed but no one and nothing else has, and he wants nothing more than to just ride his bike. The most difficult moment for him in the last two weeks was when he saw a cycle tourist outside of our town because he realized that he is no longer one of them, that now, we are just a typical couple walking around our own town, instead of exploring someone else’s.

Overall our return home has been wonderful, and though Kevin is having some trouble adjusting, he is still happy to be home and feels as if we made the right decision. We are now looking for a room or apartment to rent in Astoria (let us know if you know of any!) and will begin working within the next few weeks which will be an exciting yet perhaps difficult adjustment to make after two years of complete freedom. (Kevin will be working in his brothers small heating and cooling business and I am looking into jobs through Astoria Parks and Rec). Though I’m not too sure what’s going to happen with the blog now, I hope to start posting some of our favorite routes within the next few weeks, and keep periodically updating the blog about our microadventures and adjustments back into a more sedentary life. For now though, we are going to relish our time with family, enjoy the drinkable running water and hot showers which flow through every home, and keep learning and exploring throughout our everyday lives.

A few photos from rafting with the family. Kevin’s family owns the raft and kayaks which means that we have many more water adventures in store for us!

The best part about moving to the coast is going to be all of the delicious fresh seafood!

The best part about moving to the coast is going to be all of the delicious fresh seafood!

Kevin's brother, wife, and youngest kid.

Kevin’s brother, wife, and youngest kid.

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And since his brother needed a business photo done, I decided to take a few photos for his family. We are really excited go live in the same town as these guys and see them all the time!

Kevin's awesome nieces.

Kevin’s awesome nieces.

The three Dugan girls.

The three Dugan girls.

Kevins brothers family.

Kevins brothers family.

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Kevin and the girls doing yoga.

Kevin and the girls doing yoga.

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Dad and girls!

Dad and girls!

Mom and girls!

Mom and girls!

33 thoughts on “A Surprise Return Home

  1. Please do keep the blog going! I love the way you write and your “voice” – I am sure you will both have lots of adventures back in the USA and I look forward to hearing about your next trips. You have been a real inspiration for me and I LOVE your blog. Plus the pictures are stunning – and I love the ones of Kevin’s brother’s family!

  2. Hi,
    Please continue to blog. I enjoyed reading all of your blogs. I spoke to few of my friends about your blog and travel experience. You are a true inspiration to people like me. I am sure you will get to explore both locally and internationally. I wish you best of luck on your job hunt. Kevin’s brother has a beautiful family. Looking forward to read your future endeavors.
    -Prakash

  3. This is a fantastic post. Me and my fiancee are currently cycle touring in North America and I think there are quite a few parallels in this post to the emotions I am feeling on the trip. Sophie (my other half) is really enjoying the touring, the sights, sounds, smells and almost every interaction. I, however, do not have the same enthusiasm as her or I once had. Because of our blog, reading forums and reading other posts I have been battling with feeling like a weirdo and failure for not enjoying every mountain, tree and field that we see; thank you for writing this post, it makes me feel less like that realizing that other people are feeling the way Sophie and I are. I hope you enjoy whatever you guys do in the future and well done on everything you have done to-date. Thank you again for writing an honest and real post about cycle touring.

    • Thats so great to hear, as Kevin was struggling with that as well. He also felt weird not enjoying the mountains and people we were meeting, because he knew that it was such an amazing experience that so many people wish for yet he wasn’t appreciating it in the same way he once did. It was then hard for me since I still wanted to be there, and he didn’t, which led to much more fighting than we were use to and a tough time for both of us enjoying the trip. We are happy we came back, but we are both now looking forward to a future cycling trip together in the future when we have fresh eyes!

  4. Bon retour à la maison Shirine. Ce fut un plaisir de suivre tes aventures! Pour ma part, je m’envole vers le Sri Lanka ce soir pour 3 semaines. 20% pour le travail et 80% pour le plaisis avec mon épouse. Pas de vélos cependant! Il faudra que je te parle un de ces jours de la fondation de mon ami qui finance des petits lodges à travers le monde pour venir en aide aux populations locales. Ce projet en en cours de développement.
    Ciao! Pierre

  5. you look great (and it’s amazing to see you with so white tee-shirts!!) 😉
    We miss you and I think we did the good choice: if it’s no longer fun you can’t truly enjoy
    Take care
    PS: Kevin’s nieces are SO so beautiful!

  6. You take such fabulous photos! Best of luck to you in this entirely new adventure — the business of staying in one place isn’t always easy for us travelers, but at least you have some gorgeous scenery there and, of course, family and friends! Thanks 1000x for sharing your journey with us!

  7. Firstly, what a lovely photo of the two of you and I like that you are wearing white tee shirts; so refreshing, like the change you are now experiencing. Secondly, thank you for your terrific blog. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all about your cycling trip and seeing your beautiful photos. I also look forward to what you may write about in Oregon, so I think it is a given; keep this blog going 🙂

  8. Thank you for sharing this story about yourselves. Any many sincere thanks for all the beautiful, inspiring and fascinating blog posts over the years. Reading your posts and following your adventures has been a great joy. I hope to read more about your travels and experiences in the future.
    Michael.

  9. Hi Shrine. Welcome home! Thank you for sharing your amazing adventures. We wish the best for you two. Maybe you can combine Parks and Rec and photography. You are amazing with the camera! Carl is asking if you took the photos up at the Astoria Tower? He’s been there and thought it looked like that was where you were at. Keep on sharing! Cheers! Karen and Carl – Long Beach warmshowers hosts.

  10. Hey Shirine, this is a lovely post. I really appreciate you sharing your before/after thoughts. There is definitely a push/pull in all relationships (Mine included! In fact, I had a similar dynamic when I was in Peru with my boyfriend. I had been there for some time, was acclimatized, and ending up pushing a little too hard and he got a bit sick and then we couldn’t do everything we wanted. Granted this happened on a smaller scale, but I get the feeling.). Anyway, you certainly are handling the compromising wonderfully and feeling out the push/pull is was makes relationships what they are, after all! I am glad you’re happy in Astoria. I hope you continue posting sometimes as I look forward to your posts! Also, if you take a little trip up toward Seattle, let me know – my partner and I have a place where you and Kevin are welcome to visit. 🙂

  11. Hi Shirene and Kevin, I followed your blog for a while as we’re cycling as well. We’re on the road for 4 years now and my friend experienced the same feeling. I agree that it’s hard to have all these emotions. None are good or wrong but you have to handle it one way or the other. My friend wanted to stay in the dessert in Egypt in the smallest place you can ever imagine. But the good news, I survived for 6 months writing my book. And ….. we’re leaving tonight to Cairo to continue our trip all the way down to South Africa. I’m sure you will find your way around, get inspired again and start one day with fresh energy. If you want to follow our blog, http://www.ithaka.im . Thank you so much for your great stories and beautiful pictures. It helped me a lot …. hope our blog can do the same for you while not cycling. Love Isa and Youri

  12. I’ll miss your journey, but I feel your story of cycle touring hasn’t ended, the road and World will call you back!

  13. Bien le bonjour et bon retour! Pour avoir connu le ” retour” a plusieurs reprises, je vous conseille de connecter avec d’autres Voyageurs pour partager vos expériences car il sera toujours difficile d’exprimer ce que vous avez ressenti lors d’une rencontre avec une vielle Dame en Bolivie ou en Turquie ou en Bolivie . Les Sédentaires , eux aussi ont eu une vie lors de votre voyage. Ce n’est pas une question de qualité de propos. Un peu comme les nouveaux parents lorsqu’ils parlent de leur petit dernier….ça nous habite. De toutes façon, vous êtes des Voyageurs……on ne peut revenir en arrière apres de telles expériences , il faut juste adapter le voyage. Et je vous paris une bière ( si jamais vous passez par Quebec) que bientot vous entendrez vos ” sacoches de vélo” bougez au fond de la remise, vous appelant .
    Alors……Bons Vents
    Paul Belanger
    P.S travel is not the destination , but the journey.

  14. Pingback: Unclipped Adventure – Chapter 20: 11 Interesting things we learnt about Rwanda

  15. Not sure, this woud work, but updating little episodes, which come up from your memories into existing blog articles – with “later updated from memories ” – hint & date would make those articles worth reading again from time to time.
    Memories could otherwise lead to new blog articles, however the reader, being a potential cyclist likes of course a blog articles structure, that makes him feel he prepares herseld / himself for a similar tour by reading your blog ..

    otherwise reading about the nature and preserving it for the next generation is an important issue, one would like to hear your thoughts and “vote”.

  16. My own saturation point was always way quicker. My longest trip so far was two months in India, and I surprised myself for being able to keep motivated for such a long time. The next trip to Ethiopia I reached that point after one month already: less culture to enjoy, and way more irritating kids.

    Here another cycling colleague who got saturated and was honest enough to admit it:
    http://www.shanecycles.com/africa/2012/09/22/the-wall/

    I’ll stick to shorter trips myself: better preparation of what to see and do on a trip, better planning of the route, way less hassle with visa and such.

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