We click our heels together and end up in Nebraska for ten days. We get to attend a great wedding and spend some much needed time with family.
This will be a unique, brief post. Perhaps I will begin with reiterating why I was leaving Annie stranded in Lima, Peru while I hopped a plane to Nebraska. In a word:
My good friends Aaron and Brandy’s wedding. When I first learned of the date, I was fairly confident that my whole trip would be concluded by that time. If you would have told me that I would still lack 33 places to say that I’d been Everywhere, I would have assumed that something had gone wrong.
Even though I was in the middle of another continent, it felt important to make it back for the wedding. I would have the honor of serving as one of Aaron’s groomsmen and if didn’t seem right to offer a half-hearted excuse for my absence. (“Yeah…so I’m kind of in Peru on an intercontinental motorcycle trip right now…..)
Additionally, I felt the timing was right. My 8-10 month trip has evolved into a 13-15 month epic. Having a brief respite to visit home would help to ensure that completing my journey was feasible. Maintaining my mental health is paramount.
I flew out on April 20th, hopping from Lima to Fort Lauderdale to Atlanta to Omaha. I found my flight for just $624 using skiplagged.com. I really feel that I got a good deal. Despite having very little sleep over the 20+ our journey, I was glad to be back in the land of the good life.
My brother, his wife Sarah and their four kids live in Millard (do not call it Omaha) and they were on hand to pick me up at the airport. They asked me what I wanted to eat and nothing sounded better than a good hamburger. The rest of the meat has been pretty good in Latin America, but the beef is just….different. (perhaps a little too much stray dog mixed in)
Me eldest niece and nephew, Rose and Calvin, asked to be in the blog again. Unfortunately, they usually move too quickly for good photos. 🙂 (Happy Birthday, Calvin! Are you taller than me yet?)
I stayed with them for a couple of nights. It was a great welcome to home.
Back at my house in Lincoln, it almost felt like I had never left. Sleeping in my own bed and getting some Runza was a real treat.
It has come to my mind that I maybe haven’t spelled out my living situation in this publication yet. Most people who do a trip of this magnitude have to basically disconnect from real life: Sell their home, perhaps most of their possessions to afford it. I’ve decided to cling on to my real life, made possible by a few factors.
First, I have great roommates (throwback photo from departure day):
Matt, Kyle and I have lived together for a long time. Cohabitating has allowed us to live in nice places and keep expenses really low. Before my trip, we worked out a number about halfway between full rent and no rent that I would pay to keep my place. Had they insisted that I pay full rent while I was away, I would have had to move everything out. I’m really appreciative of these guys’ generosity.
Secondly, I don’t think people really understand how cheap the cost of living is in Nebraska. We rent a 5+ bedroom house with a big garage in a great neighborhood for just $1,200 per month. Some cities cost more for a studio apartment.
I spent a few days getting caught up on some business. Surprisingly, my stack of mail was not too menacing. A large number of pieces were from states (mostly in the New England area) requesting that I pay for tolls.
I was only about a week late filing my taxes. I think that’s pretty good.
I had to make the transformation from well-weathered moto-traveler to dapper groomsman.
Versatility is important. Just ask Annie.
I wasn’t the only one looking dashing:
(Welcome to the blog, Greg.)
The ceremony was held in a winery that was designed to look like a classic Italian neighborhood. I found myself having a Pavlovian craving for gelato.
The reception was a real party.
I was even mentioned in the Brandy’s address to the crowd for coming so far. It made me feel very special.
Out on the dance floor, I actually had a prop with me. A piece of Annie had made the trip, this time the right rear view mirror. People were acting like they’d never seen a grown man dancing with a mirror before!
I thought it would be a nice memory to have Aaron and Brandy sign the bike on their wedding day and the mirror was relatively small and unlikely to be confiscated in an airport security line.
I just love the following picture. Matt, the brother of the groom, is making sure that Brandy spells her new last name correctly. Apparently it was just her second time signing it, after the marriage license.
I really felt like an honored guest throughout the proceedings. I’m so glad I made it back.
I spent a couple days up in Norfolk with my parents and my brother, Jerardo (Happy Birthday, bro! I didn’t have internet yesterday, otherwise I would have posted it then.) I also got to go up to the farm to see Grandma. At one point in my journey she asked me for a map of my trip. It’s through her lineage that my hereditary love of maps flows. Last time I was home, I gave her my sign map (Version 2.0). This one lasted me from place 5 (Ellensburg, WA) to place 53 (Little Rock, AR).
There is also a world map on the wall behind us where family members place pins of where they’ve been. She bought me my own color of pins which I’ll use to conquer the Western Hemisphere once my trip concludes.
A few other notes:
I got resupplied with some things difficult to find on my path.
(air filter, silver sharpie, voltage monitor, brake pads)
My flight back to Lima was quite a long process. I think it was over 36 hours by the time it was all done. I had about a 17 hour overnight layover in Fort Lauderdale, where I was unable to get any sleep. Perhaps ironically, the airport was too cold and I only had two t-shirts along. Still, I can say with a sufficient amount of conviction that it was easier than getting to Lima on a motorcycle.
With these flight I crossed a strange threshold: I have flown more times in the last three months than in my entire life previously. Travel is strange.
This brief respite inspired some strange feelings with in me. I was breaking from my new normal (daily motorcycle travel) to spend some time in my old normal. As much as I am relishing this wonderful journey, there is a part of me that pines to be just a regular guy again. There are few things better than having a home and having people who care about you.
Stay matrimonial, everybody
Realtime update: We’re on the road! I received my Brazilian visa on Friday afternoon and took off this morning. I’m currently in Nazca, Peru. It feels good to be rolling again.
There were a couple of updates that I left off of my last update, of the financial sort. In my days before departing Lima, I finally eclipsed $1,000 spent on lodging for the trip. Nearly $900 of that has come in Latin America. I’m really proud of keeping this number so low. Minimizing lodging costs were always going to be essential to staying under budget.
On a macro scale, I also crossed $10,000 spent total (ooofff…it hurts to type it) on my trip so far. That number has been really wrecked recently by all of the flights and miscellaneous travel expenses. Even though this trip is dragging out to be much longer than anticipated, I’m hoping we can still come in below our $15,000 goal.