‘You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do? You should go do them.’
Within two months of living here in Astoria, OR, Kevin and I decided that despite all of our best intentions of making this place home, it just wasn’t going to work out for us. Though part of our unease with the lifestyle we have been creating for ourselves here simply has to do with coming back from such a long trip – from transitioning from a life of freedom to one of western confinement – the other part has to do with things we have control over, like our location and our jobs. Though Astoria is a cute perfectly sized (10,000 population) town right on the water, it lacks mountains – and all of the wonderful activities that come from having mountains in your backyard – and the outdoorsy and active community we seek. And though I do enjoy my job working in the leaning center with children with behavioral needs at the K-2 elementary school, it is most certainly not what I plan to do for the rest of my life.
Though we knew that what we were doing here wasn’t sustainable, we also didn’t know what the solution was. As temping as just riding off on our bikes again sounded (and we are indeed planning a tentative three month bikepacking trip next winter…) we decided that it was time to look at the big picture and both pursue the things we actually want to be doing in the long run, instead of just doing what’s most fun in the moment. For me, this means going back to school to get my bachelors in Outdoor Leadership and Education (with a minor in Early Childhood Education), and for Kevin, this means pursing his lifelong dream of becoming a smoke-jumper. Though we still want to buy land and build a yurt, the fact that we have have zero credit (yay for no loans or credit cards!) means that we are going to need to wait a few more years in order to complete that dream, so might as well move to where we truly want to live, and pursue the jobs we can become truly passionate about.
Just after moving to Astoria we met up with a German cyclist who had sponsored a lot of gear for us just before South America, and at one point in the evening we got to talking about our dream town, Bend, where we lived (and met) before our cycle tour. After describing everything the town has to offer, and how it was situated just at the base of the Cascades, he told us that he wouldn’t believe it was so wonderful until we actually lived there again because here we were, starting new lives in a totally different town. At that moment we were either lying about the town, or lying to ourselves, and since we still know how great that town is, we have decided to stop lying to ourselves and just move there. So at the end of March I will be moving to Bend, and depending on what fire crew Kevin gets on with this season, he will either be moving with me, or will be based somewhere else in Oregon for the six month fire season. Either way, we are both very excited and anxious to make Bend home, and in the meanwhile, we will try and enjoy our next few months here on the coast.
Completing your education and getting a job that will allow you to have a stable future is important. What you have accomplished in your bicycle touring is extraordinary and that experience is more “living” than most people will ever enjoy. Sounds like your upcoming plan is a good one and a mature, natural evolution toward a rich and fulfilling life. I wish you both all the best.
Je suis heureux de constater que ton cheminement progresse malgré les difficultés éprouvées à te réintégrer en société après un si long voyage. Retrouver un sens à sa vie après avoir vécu aussi intensément n’est pas facile. Ton choix de carrière me semble judicieux car il rejoint tes passions. C’est la meilleure façon de jouir pleinement de chaque minute de sa vie et de se réveiller à chaque matin avec l’envie de relever de nouveaux défis.
Bravo Shirine, j’espère sincérement que nos chemins se croiseront un de ces jours!
Merci pour tes mots tourjous avec plein d’encouragement!
“everybody know – – home is where you make it” a line from “Joe Dirt” an American classic. Bend it is ! Happy Trails !
Nice story! I can relate, in a way. I lived in a mountain town in Canada, Jasper AB. Movedcaway to pursue new opportunities and challenges, ended up settlingvin Victoria BC, for all of two months. Id like to be on endless bike trips but I do need to work to make that happen, and like you said you can control where you work and live, so I moved back to Jasper to my old job I love and another new one I also love. Im at the end of a two month bike tour in Japan right now, and although part of me wants to keep going, Im excited to go home!
Do what makes you happy, life is to short for anything else.
I think, no matter where you end up settling… you will so miss being on the road, you will have a hard time. Good luck to you in Bend!
Living in a place you like is so important. I’m glad I’ve now landed in a city that I enjoy. I disliked where I was living prior, and it really wiped me out.
I haven’t been to Bend yet, but it sounds lovely! I actually have a friend who will be living in Sisters next spring, so I’m sure I’ll drop by.
Best of luck with your studying plans. I find learning about a subject you’re enthusiastic about is so fun and inspiring!
I will try this post again because I think that my first one didn’t work…
I have been following your blog for a year and always enjoyed reading you. Your pictures and your words are inspiring .
I wanted to share with you the blog http://revenomade.com of a French couple from France and their little 8 year old girl, who dedided to go cycle North and Central America. They shortened and stopped their cycling trip last spring in Panama. Their last entry (29/10/2015) on their blog, share with us the reflexions of their return ; new choice of life and professional activities, place they want to live, new projects, how they are adapting. I think you can read French and tought it could interest you because your reflexions and theirs has (ressemblances).
Hope you will find your home!
Interesting, or maybe fate, that I have come across your article as I make plans to meet a new challenge in my life. I have bladder cancer. While it may not be a good idea for me to pickup and travel the world since I need to return to civilization, on occasion, for treatment and checkups…your words help me realize that there is nothing preventing me from long extended touring by bike, a life long dream. I have the support of my doctors and the life long plan to travel across our America is still on!!! The Miss Abby Memorial Trans-America Tour will begin from Walla Walla, WA on my 64th birthday, April 30, 2016. I retired from the Air Force after traveling the world by airplane and think it is appropriate for this old airman to end the ride at Kitty Hawk, NC where a couple of bike mechanics started the whole adventure. Thanks for your inspiration.
That’s amaZing! Have a wonderful adventure, I have no doubt in my mind that everything will work.out.
I am sure that no matter what I am challenged with I can overcome. One of my favorite authors/adventurer is a young British fellow named Alastair Humphreys. He echos and reaffirms my dreams. He wrote that his biggest fear is not to try and fail, but to look back and know that he didn’t try. So he starts out on epic adventures knowing that they are very, very difficult and he may not succeed. Secure in the knowledge that the first mile away from your front door is the hardest and it will become easier after that.
Jeffrey in Walla Walla
Enjoying following your adventures wherever they lead you. My wife & I vacationed in Bend this fall and loved it!
beautiful pictures and good luck with your future endeavors! Remember anything is possible
Don’t forget to post a Craigslist ad again offering ski instruction and mountain-top babysitting! 🙂 That is how we met you three or four years ago up on Bachelor with our two kids. Our daughter has turned into a good snowboarder thanks to your assistance! (We’ll be happy offer references for your services if future customers want to talk with us.) 🙂
No way! I can’t believe you guys are still following my blog. I’m so glad she is enjoying the mountain, I can’t wait to go up and ski/snowboard again too.
Good to see you are moving on. And beautiful pictures, btw!
The two of you are very inspiring! I feel like I’ve vicariously visited all those wonderful places through your posts within just half an hour of reading some of them.
That’s one of the biggest compliments, so thank you!