About The Wandering Nomads

We are a young couple living the life of our dreams as we cycle around the world, enjoying our simplistic way of life with everything we need on our bike and our tent to call home. Take a seat, stay a while, and read about the diverse cultures we encounter, the unimaginable hospitality we have been shown, and just how wonderful life in the saddle has turned out to be.

Aspiring National Park: NZ Honeymoon 

After a few nights in and around Wanaka we cycled up to Aspiring National Park, a one way 50km road which then led us to a 10km trekking path we were allowed to cycle on. The path lead to Aspiring hut, where forty people were packed inside the hut meant for half the number, and it also lead, two hundred meters away from the hut, to a quiet camp spot where we were able to enjoy a few nights as we hiked and I trail ran the surrounding areas. There were some impressive glaciers on the surrounding mountains, and, as always here in New Zealand, the rivers were simply perfect.

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Rethinking New Zealand: Cramped and Crowded and Not For Cycle Touring –  At Least Not in Summer

I haven’t written in a while because I haven’t been taking pictures. And I haven’t been taking pictures because it didn’t feel as if I would be telling the whole story. A week along the west coast of New Zealand represented an accumulation of frustrations that we have experienced throughout the country – a lack of dirt roads or alternatives to busy highways, crowded camping, and the sheer numbers of tourists absolutely everywhere – and though the region was geologically fascinating, with glacier covered mountains just meters away from the sea, we had a hard time enjoying it.

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Mountain Biking the St James Trail: NZ Honeymoon 


The St James Trail is an 100km mountain bike loop that New Zealand opened in 2010 in order to allow cyclists, hikers, and horseback riders a chance to experience the beauty of the old St James Station (farm). “With no roads, no shops, and no cell phone coverage, this trail is all about the basic desire to get away from it all,” the route description said, and that’s exactly what we were able to do.

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Dirt Roads and Happy Hearts: NZ Honeymoon

We have had an amazing first week in the South Island. After the ferry ride we started out on a 60km detour along the coast which included four steep climbs (half of which were on gravel) along a very quiet road – the sort of road with only a car or two an hour. It also included our first penguin sighting, an afternoon sipping tea with two kiwis in their amazing 1950’s bus, and an evening exploring little bays and beaches.

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Green Furry Hills and the Forgotten Highway: NZ Honeymoon

After two rainy days at a campsite with a lovely cycling couple from the UK (who are also on their honeymoon!) we spent two days along the “forgotten highway,” a quiet road which ceased to be a main road years ago and is now one of the most popular cycling routes in the country. The route went up and down these small furry hills and passed through a small republic which has “claimed” independence, before ending on the coast.

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Headed South: NZ Honeymoon

We arrived in Auckland with one less bag; a pannier with our stove and potset, my rain pants and jacket, as well as items such as our travel towel and my running shoes and light jacket. After two days with our warmshowers kiwi hosts, the airline still had no idea where the bag was so we decided to replace the essentials and start pedaling on anyways. Though over the years we have collected some of the highest end gear for cycling touring (such as our brand new Primus stove we bought after we finished our last trip), to replace our lost gear, we went to second hand shops. It was a good reminder that you don’t have to have the highest dollar items in order to make a tour work.

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Gear, Routes, and Rings: Honeymooning in New Zealand 

“Let the dream devour your life so that the life does not devour your dream.”


Kevin and I are currently sitting at the airport in Sydney waiting for our final flight of the day which will bring us to Auckland, New Zealand, where we will begin our three month cycle touring honeymoon. We left straight from our two-day wedding campout – which took place around a huge campfire in a ranch at Silver Falls State Park – and can’t wait to begin life as a married couple on our bikes enjoying the absolute freedom that cycle touring brings.

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New Jobs, New Adventures, and A New Last Name

 

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Bend, Oregon – just minutes away from our house (Dec 2016).

 

It has been a while, and now that we are just three weeks away from our next cycle tour (a three-month honeymoon through New Zealand!) I’ve decided to catch those of you who are interested up as we have received quite a few emails asking why its been so quiet on our end.

This past year – in particular, these past six months – have turned into some of the best times for us as we have both been able to pursue our dream jobs. Kevin got on with a Forest Service repel crew (in Eastern Oregon) so he spent the summer repelling out of helicopters all over the US in order to fight wildland forest fires.

I got a job working in wilderness therapy which means that for eight days and nights at a time (with six days off in between) I get to live outside with teenagers who are sent to the program to learn healthy communication and coping skills after substantial self-harm, drug/alcohol abuse, or other unhealthy coping mechanisms that they have used to deal with underlying mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD.  I absolutely love the job; I love the people I work with, the environment we create out there, the six-day off shifts that leave enough time for my own personal adventures, and the fact that I get to cook over a real fire, poop in the woods, and sleep under a tarp more days than I have to sleep in a bed.

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Finding, and Then Making Home: Bend, OR

“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.”
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It’s been a while since I’ve check in, partially because I’ve hardly been on my bike except for my daily commute, and being a bike touring blog, I haven’t had much to say, and partially because I have been waiting with anticipation these last few months to move back to Bend. Now that I am here, I am ready to share. Though it was great to be near family in Astoria, Kevin and I both realized that we had left a part of ourselves in Bend, a part of ourselves that we weren’t going to be able to proceed without, so a few months ago Kevin applied for repel jobs with the forest service, and I applied to OSU-Cascades in order to move in time for spring semester.
 
So now we are here. Like many people moving to this booming town, we moved here for the lifestyle; for the hundreds of miles of running and mountain bike trails in and around town, for the six months of skiing just twenty miles down the road, for the river (Deschutes) that runs right through town, and for the hiking, rock-climbing, mountaineering, backpacking and snowshoeing all within a half hour drive. We moved here for the thousands of outdoor possibilities and for a community of people who love all of these things at least as much as we do.

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Favorite Cycling Routes: South Yungas (Bolivia)

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This green and very hilly route will take you up and over two 4,700m passes as well as over smaller ones in the almost jungle-like vegetation for a total of 10,000m of elevation gain. The people are friendly and welcoming, and the villages are picturesque as they sit atop hills for as far as the eye can see all over the various valleys. We found this route to be difficult due to the heat and humidity, though it was a nice change from the high altitude cold nights.

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