Thursday, January 26, 2017

Travel Bug

Over the last month or so, Daniel and I watched The Long Way Round on Netflix. This show follows Scottish actor Ewan McGreggor of Star Wars fame, and his friend Charley Boorman, as they spend 115 days riding BMW touring bikes 20,000-miles around the world, crossing 12 countries and 19 time zones. Starting in England, they make their way through Europe, Russia, Mongolia and Siberia through extremely harsh terrain before catching a plane to Alaska (with motor bikes in tow) and riding through Canada and the USA to New York City where they meet up with their families.

The show is their personal travel diary as they share their experiences camping on the road, meeting people in each country, and traveling over extremely difficult terrain with little support. In Siberia they were literally having to fell trees, use winches, and ride in the backs of huge lorries to make their way across crazy rivers. It was an amazing, and as I kept remarking to Daniel, "very manly," experience. Ewan McGreggor even echoed that sentiment a couple of times. We both enjoyed watching the show and seeing the world through their eyes.

We are currently finishing up watching their second trip, The Long Way Down, where they ride from the northern tip of Ireland to Capetown, South Africa. The trip is fascinating and everything you would expect of Africa. I especially liked it because it gave me a glimpse of what my dad probably did in his younger years – as a young missionary in Zambia traveling around on a motorcycle. Also I really liked that Ewan's wife, Eve, joined Ewan and Charley for a portion of their trip from Malawi into Zambia, ending at Victoria Falls.

Daniel loves riding his motorcycle and over the years has hinted (more than once) that he would like to do some motorcycle touring together at some point. The Long Way Down was the first time I really felt like that might be a reality some day. Not that I want to travel across Africa on motorbike, but that seeing Ewan's wife try something new, and then get up repeatedly as she fell on the difficult terrain, was inspiring. Also, there is no way I would want Daniel to do a trip of this magnitude without me! Both Ewan and Charley's wives were very supportive of both endeavors – though Ewan's wife would have liked to participate for a bigger portion of the 3-month trip that covered 15,000 miles and 18 countries.

We would recommend both The Long Way Round and The Long Way Down, but be aware that Ewan and Charley use pretty strong language. In The Long Way Down I joked that the guys seemed to have cleaned up their language, and shortly after Ewan actually alludes to his effort not to say the "F" word as much.

Another travel-related thing that Daniel and I have been following is the round-the-world trip of some friends of ours from when we lived in Cookeville, TN when we were first married. Chris and Allison Hicks have been an inspiration to us for more than a decade as we watched them become new parents and transfer their love of the outdoors and traveling to their now teenage children. We knew them when their kids were infants so it is amazing, through Facebook, to see how they continue to raise their kids. They recently embarked on a round-the-world trip and we are enjoying living vicariously through them as we follow their adventures on their blog The Well Worn Backpack. It gives me hope that we can will do a similar trip one day. So far they have traveled through Thailand and Cambodia, and we can't wait to see the rest of their trip unfold!

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