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Breaking our timeline once again to announce more recent developments in our travel plans.

RECAP

When we originally left on this trip to Argentina back on May 6, 2017, we were 100% committed to following through—and pumped to finally begin our journey after a three-month-turned-ten-month period of preparations.

Only to receive, not even three weeks into our travels, the news that Ehren’s mom had been killed in a motorcycle accident back home within hours of our crossing the border into Mexico.

Everything changed after that. Whatever brazen certainty and confidence we had in our abilities to travel had dissipated into confusion and doubt. Whatever concentration and awareness we had cultivated before departure evaporated into some sort of foggy haze. And, most importantly, our dynamic had shifted.

Unfortunately, we didn’t acknowledge these things until just a few weeks ago.

Eager to leave Bemidji and return to the familiarity of the road, we didn’t give any thought as to how Vicki’s death would affect us mentally as we resumed our travels in September 2017. The HU Traveller’s Meeting in California helped pump up our enthusiasm a bit—along with meeting and sharing the road with fellow travelers during our first two weeks in Mexico. It felt like we were back in adventure-seeking form.

Like parasites in need of a host, however, once we started making our own tracks we found ourselves starved for that quick infusion of enthusiasm from others.

A TURNING POINT

Once Ehren suggested to me that he wanted to be home for Christmas this year, I knew that something was up. We were traveling side-by-side, but it didn’t feel like we were on the same page. We weren’t in this thing together.

I suddenly found myself in the same position I initially found Ehren in when we first met ten years ago: being the one that made things happen.

Backpacking through Europe, he was always the one to go in head first and struggle his way through communicating with others who didn’t speak his language while I shyly stood back, embarrassed. Now I was the one who handled all interactions with locals—as someone who is not naturally assertive or a habitual initiator of conversation, taking over that role actually turned out to be somewhat of a confidence boost.

Where he was the one who had clear ideas of what he wanted to visit in Europe and breezed through planning things, I now found myself planning our routes and figuring out stuff I’d like to see. What initially drew me to him so many years ago was his ambition and can-do attitude, so I was trying to channel that version of Ehren while getting us somewhere we could fly back to Minnesota for the holidays. It also gave me insight into how much of a lump on a log I must have been to travel with back then, cuz it sure felt like I was dragging him through Mexico.

CHRISTMAS

After being back home with family for five weeks (from early December to mid-January), we had a lot of long talks about how we should proceed. Going further south wasn’t going to be enjoyable for either one of us.

He suggested coming back to the States, where traveling is easier on mental capacity because it is familiar, and eventually started looking at the Trans-America Trail as a possibility to finish out our previously allotted 12-to-18-month travel time. Another reason for doing the TAT would be a return to our most beloved form of lodging: our tent. Camping was a rarity in Mexico once away from the coasts, though we had been fully prepared to tent most of our way down to Ushuaia.

NEW PLAN

We flew back to Cancun on January 16 with a new plan in mind: head back up to the border, crossing somewhere in Texas, visit some sights and family between there and Florida, ride up to North Carolina and begin the TAT across the U.S. to the Oregon coast. After reaching the Pacific, we’ll head north, visiting some friends in Washington before embarking on a Trans-Canada Trail heading east.

We expect to spend about six-to-eight months traversing both countries on dirt, gravel, sand, rock and the odd paved back road. Currently in Texas, we plan to begin the TAT in mid-March.

There is no question that we will get to Ushuaia one day, but it’s futile and risky to push ourselves in our current mental state.

Stay tuned for entries detailing the rest of our 2.5 months in Mexico, along with updates from the TAT this spring!

 
 

9 Comments

  1. Hugs. Hugs to the maximum.

    That TAT is so easy you better bring that trailer with your Elefant!

     
  2. Thank you for sharing your travels with me. I would have liked to do the same trip when I was younger and I am enthused to follow you through your remaining trip no matter where you go.
    Milt

     
    • Follow the Elefant says:

      Thank you Milt, we are excited to continue our trip even with our change in plan, but things are still at least moving forward which is exciting.

      Cheers,

       
  3. Good decision on your part. Never pursue a big adventure when your hearts are filled with doubts, indecision and half-hearted goals. Save it for another day when the time is right.

     
    • Follow the Elefant says:

      Thats basically what we came to the conclusion of. Our minds weren’t in the right place so well save the adventure for another time. If we want to make it happen in the future, it will happen.

      Cheers,

       
  4. Courage resides in every heart. Your hearts are strong and pure, struggle is the fire that tempers you. Fight on, never give in to mediocrity, never settle for the easy way.
    Achieve!
    Roman

     
    • Follow the Elefant says:

      Thank you for that Tom, Strong words to live by and something we will certainly strive for. Its been a tough year, but were moving forward still, well be on the road through this fall. Glad to hear from you!

      Cheers,

       
  5. Chris Struna says:

    You show great wisdom and strength in making this decision! The TAT is wonderful and we enjoyed the 1200 miles of it we got to ride! Sharon and I hope we will be half so wise during our trip (which starts in a mere 55 days).
    God bless you,
    Chris & Sharon

     
    • Follow the Elefant says:

      Hey Chris and Sharon, Thats exciting, we knew you were leaving soon, but its exciting that its coming up. We never felt prepared as there was always something to finish or fix, but alas just get the wheels pointed in the right direction and go. We had a great time in Mexico, I think you will enjoy as well. Thank you for that, although its been a tough year, were still making the best of it moving forward. Looking forward to following you guys and your trip and wishing you guys well in your last minute preparations. Also if you need some help (with bikes or whatever) in mexico we have a few contacts that we could reach out to.

      Cheers

       

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