It was all a dream

Patagonia | Chile & Argentina | Day 558

It's all over. 18 months of cycling, traveling across 27 countries and four different continents. Our three year project has finally come to an end: a year and a half of dreaming, planning, preparing and a year and a half of actually peddling, eating, and experiencing. Now we are back in Austin, Texas living the “normal life” and feeling really lucky to have been able to embark on such an adventure. 

I am not quite sure what we expected when we left America. We completely rearrange our lives, sold our things, packed up what was left in little boxes and said our good-byes. We took off to see the world. Riding a long squiggly line from country to country, we saw a lot of things along the way. But now I know that “seeing the world” is damn near impossible. It is just way too big. Experiencing new places just leaves you yearning for more. But we sure did fill a year and a half with as many new experiences, challenges, and excitement as we could. 

The amount of kind, welcoming, and generous people we met while on our trip was overwhelming. One of the first questions people ask is, "Did anything bad happen? Did you ever feel in danger?" and I never get sick of expressing how wonderfully kind the world is, that in our 547 days in varying countries not one truly terrible thing happened and not one truly evil person took advantage of our extreme vulnerability. People from different cultures, with different amounts of time and money to spare, have helped us with our dream of getting around the world. We could not have done it without them. And we especially could not have done it without our parents, who have been nothing but supportive since the beginning. 

We took turns navigating around the world literally and metaphorically and learned a lot about ourselves and each other. We were patient when the other person was hangry, we were strong when the other was weak or stressed, and we had each others backs when we needed it the most. We spent over 1,300 hours by each others side… and now we are preparing for our wedding. There really is no better test, we make a good team. 

The more time passes here at home, the further out our experiences seem. I flip through photographs and can hardly believe it happened. I look at those same photographs a week later, and sink even further into disbelief. This process of “checking in” on photographs has been a good gauge of our acclamation to normal life. We are getting use to our computer screens, our comforts, our routine, and slowly starting the process of forgetting what it was like traveling by bike. While drinking coffee at my desk at work on a Monday it feels like it never really happened at all. Sometimes it feels like a time warp, not much has changed in the scheme of things- what I left behind was right where I left it when I returned. It's kind of terrifying how simple it is to slip back to a life that you have been living for so long, and scary how quickly we’re starting to forget everything that has happened on our year and a half bike ride around the world. 

We are both fortunate to have gotten our old jobs back and our eyes are safely glued to a computer screen 40 hours a week. I immediately noticed an abundance of advertisements, a curious urge to buy stuff, notifications coming from every direction, and about 50 ways to communicate with everyone. Time has started to slip away even quicker than I remember, as I wait every week for Friday to come. Time has become a curious enigma and is the greatest difference I have felt. When I was contemplating this whole trip I knew it was the right decision despite being in the middle of my career and watching most friends my age settle into buying houses or starting families, because I knew there could be no greater way to spend my time. There are so few of us who truly own their own time. For the first time, maybe ever, we spent every minute of every day doing what we chose. 

When I think back on how strong my desire to cycle around the world was, all the effort it took just to get to the starting line, much less all the effort it took along the way, I can’t believe it's all over. We didn’t leave much room to imagine what we should be doing after it was all finished. It took an enormous amount of energy and commitment to get through the last three years. If we can apply that same amount of energy as we move forward in our lives, who knows what can happen. 

I wish I could be more poetic about the end of our trip, and what it’s like returning home, but instead I'm going to keep it short and end it on three valuable lessons we learned from the last three years. 

Lesson 1 - The hardest part is starting. 

When thinking about an adventure like this, the details can be overwhelming and debilitating. In reality, they don’t matter. If you wait until everything is perfect, you will never leave. The hardest part is getting past our own procrastination. Stop making excuses, set a date, and to start pedaling. 

Lesson 2 - The world is generally a good place. 

It is amazing how far people will go out of there way to help out a traveler. Friends are easy to come by. A smile given is a smile received.  

Lesson 3 - Remain open

When you get outside of your comfort zone, magical things start to happen. some of the most memorable experiences of our trip happened when we were open to going with the flow. If a problem arrises, even if its in the depths of the Himalayas, or the jungles of Laos, there is always a solution. Things tend to take care of themselves.

Below is a collection of photographs from Patagonia, our last destination, and the last month of our trip. 




Ryan and Marci, Erics friends from back home, came to visit us and trek around Patagonia for a couple weeks. Our first day on the trail it was raining, sleeting, and 70mph winds were whipping over the Southern Patagonia Ice Field. Our first night on the trail our tent collapsed, the pole broke, and we had to take refuge in a near by abandon building. 





This group of guys has spent the last 6 months driving that car down to Patagonia from Chicago. When we met them, there things were strewn about the road, nearly blowing away in the fierce winds. it doesn’t seem possible, but they can all sleep in the car at the same time and they have been doing so since the beginning of the trip, saving as much money as possible. When they get down to the southern tip of South America they plan on selling the car and flying back to finish up school. 





Jean is retired and has been living in Ecuador for the last 3 years. We met her in Peru as she was traveling South and we were heading North. Our paths crossed again in the little town of El Chalten in Patagonia at the end of our trip. She travels by herself and plans on traveling for the rest of her life. She says she will go to the moon one day, and I don't doubt that will happen. 





Riding Wild Mailing List

Get them updates delivered to your email