Happy Anniversary to Us!
(Yes, the very definition of self-congratulatory)
It’s hard to believe that one year ago today we hit the road (check out our counter on the right!), and it has been even longer than that since we’ve been out of our house. It’s hard to describe because in some respects it feels like it’s been less than one year, but in others it feels like it’s been more. (So I suppose if you average that out, it comes to about a year. Hmm.) We thought about posting something about what we’ve learned and how our lives have changed over the past year, but, really, who wants to read that sappy drivel? Or maybe, because of the recent craziness in our adventure, we didn’t have the energy to come up with anything.
But here’s an update…
Leaving Puebla very early on Saturday morning, Erik had two very long but successful days driving through Mexico by himself. There was no dawdling; Uli was worked hard. Our clever false floor inside of Uli even suffered some damage from FREAKIN’ MORONS at a military check point near Tampico. (Not the first time we’ve had damage because the soldiers were, apparently, completely devoid of grey matter.) He was dealt another inconvenience at the end of the first day when he arrived at his intended campground after 10 hours of driving solo to find it was shut down. He thus had to backtrack 20 km to a pay-by-the-hour motel. In all fairness, he said it was very clean and even Uli had a privacy curtain.
He crossed the border into Texas on Sunday evening and finally made it to HQ in Wisconsin on Wednesday afternoon, where he indulged in such favorite activities as eating pickled herring, brushing his teeth using tap water, and flushing toilet paper down the toilet (which still feels weird to him after a few days).
Last Friday Pepe broke down a bought a cell phone in Mexico. This is was a weird experience on so many levels, mostly because everything from the sales representative to the instruction manual to the phone itself were in Spanish. He bought the cheapest phone they had ($16 US) in order to make/receive calls and texts (using T9 again for texts – it takes like 4 minutes to type a sentence or two in English – longer in Spanish!), including texts from Erik as he reached his destinations in Mexico. If you can make international calls or texts, he’ll send you his digits but it’ll be your job to figure out the international prefixes.
Friday night he arrived at his friend’s house in Puebla, only to turn around Saturday morning and hop a bus to Mexico City for the weekend. Unfortunately, as he was transferring his weekend clothes from one bag to another, the camera got lost in the shuffle and remained at home for the weekend. But he hopes to go back in a few weeks and see some more of the largest metropolitan area in the western hemisphere.
His friend’s house is located in an incredibly uninteresting and not-all-that-beautiful part of Puebla, so there is really nowhere enjoyable to walk. Luckily, however, he found an internet cafe within two blocks of the house, and they let him plug his laptop in and use their internet for 8 pesos an hour (about 57 cents at the current exchange rate). But he has worked up the courage to take a city bus by himself to a more developed part of town – okay, a mall. Unfortunately, Pepe’s friend is typically gone from home 16 hours per day, so Pepe is usually alone. But that’s okay, too. He certainly can find plenty to do.
Thanks for all the supportive comments and messages we received after announcing our change in plans. We always appreciate hearing from people – even a quick hello – no matter what we are doing or where we happen to be.
By the way… if anyone out there was wishing that there were a way to congratulate us for hitting the one year benchmark, may I direct your attention to the SHARE page…
Coming Up: Erik encounters a rubber scraper in the HQ kitchen but has forgotten what it is used for; later that night, out of habit, he looks in the HQ workshop for a ladder before getting into bed. Meanwhile in Puebla, Pepe hops a bus hoping to find a Starbucks but instead ends up two hours away back in Mexico City – and again without the camera!
Author: Apollo’s Journey
We are two guys from Saint Paul, Minnesota who decided to completely upend our lives and travel the world in order to learn more about it, its history, its people and their cultures. There will be no timelines or deadlines, and we want to experience whatever comes our way with completely open minds and hope to meet like-minded people from all over. We are choosing not to drive down the well-worn road taken by most tourists; we would instead prefer to forge a unique path, one that would really allow us to connect to the local people and cultures of the area. Although we will spend some time in the U.S. and Canada, we plan to drive our way down south as far as we can go in South America. If we find a reason to stay in a locale longer, we will; if we feel the need to move on, we will.
We left our jobs, sold and gave away most of our possessions, and spent over a year getting things in order for this adventure. Of course we’ve been asked, “Why?” or “What is the goal?” Well, we don’t have an exact answer. We want to experience the journey, not merely attain The Goal. Or maybe The Goal is to not have a goal – simply to be. Focusing on a specific end-task has a tendency to remove one from the present moment, and we want to experience all the present moments on this journey. We want to really be good and more aware citizens of this beautiful planet, and the idea of community is important to us, whether through meeting fellow travelers or through an already-existing community into which we would hope to be welcomed as we pass through.
Our adventure began on Tuesday, June 7, 2011 and will continue until it ends. We don’t know when that will be, but we’re not in a hurry. In addition to visiting family and friends, we will be participating in Help Exchanges, staying with SERVAS hosts, camping, learning Spanish, and just seeing what’s out there. If you have any ideas of places we should visit, let us know!