Updates – Where We’re Headed Next

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When we first landed in South America, after cycle touring through Europe for eight months, the original plan was to ride all the way back to Portland. Patagonia to Portland, we called it. It was nicely alliterative and a seemed a good way to end such a journey—by pedaling back to our hometown.

Plans, however, have changed a bit.

After nearly two years on the road, we’re quite tired. South America has these formations called the Andes and they’re rather difficult to pedal up and over. The Patagonian headwinds beat us to a pulp. We spent over half our time in South America in high altitude, which we love—there are no bugs, the air is fresh and cool, and when we go back to sea level, boy can we run. Pedaling up steep hills (let’s face, it, there’s no pedaling involved, we’re pushing. For hours.) in high altitude, on the other hand wears a cyclist down.

Pushing Away from Parque Patagonia on the Carretra Austral | Long Haul Trekkers

Just how strong were those Patagonian headwinds? Read all about them in the Tale of the Patagonian Wind Monster Part I and II.

And so, we’re feeling a big haggard, and are in desperate need of a break.

I mentioned recently that I have grown tired of cycling. My real passion is running and being away from the sport for so long has got me aching for the trails. I want to hike in familiar territory and what still remain as my favorite places on this planet.

Knowing that we would have to fly or take a boat from Colombia to reach Panama, we figured, let’s just fly back to Portland. Our co-cat-parent flies home to England each year to visit his mum, so we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to fly back to the Pacific Northwest, see some friends and family, hit the trails, and take care of our own cat.

As it stands right now, we fly home on the 20th April and will stay in the Pacific Northwest through the summer, splitting our time between Oregon and Washington.

Currently, we’re considering heading over to Japan and Korea for some cycle touring and then traveling through SE Asia, though it’s a bit up in the air. I’m honestly not sure if I want to cycle more at this time or if I’ll need a longer break.

I feel pulled equally by the lure of travel and the desire to stay in one place for a little bit and run and make delicious vegan meals and treats and hang out with friends and drink proper beer.

Either way, adventure is on the horizon, whatever it may look like.

Have you cycled in Asia? Why should we head there next?
Have you felt burnt out from cycling, or doing anything long term? What advice do you have for me?
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10 Comments

  1. Life is a grand journey and any trail you take is the trail your on. I so much enjoy reading of your family adventures. Whatever you decide to do, know that you have made long distance friends as well on the way. Some who you may never meet but who you have inspired. I just took my two Schnauzers for a ride in a Burley Tail Wagon that I just bought. All this is because of your inspiration. My wife and I hope to ride of into our retirement sunset in the next 2 years…. You have been part of my inspiration. Thank you.

    • Hi Marty,

      Thank you so much for this encouraging message and for following along our journey. Sometimes, we wonder whether all the effort we put into our blog and social media is worth it, and then we have long distance friends like you tell us how we have inspired you to give this cycle touring with a dog thing a try. We’re so excited to hear about the next journey for you, your wife, and the pups. How did the Schnauzers enjoy their maiden voyage?

  2. We obviously have it easy since my business gives us so much flexibility, so my advice is based on other travelers/people I’ve talked to that were burnt out. It’s a conversation that comes up a lot!

    A consistent theme is that sometimes it’s worth stopping and getting a real job IF it lets you have the lifestyle you want. (i.e. in a rad place that gives you access to the daily activities you want, whether it’s the outdoors or the big city.)

    FWIW, at some point we’re just caught up in the momentum of traveling. If you can work during the day and still get a great trail run in 5 days a week, or bike/ski/climb, then maybe it’s worth not traveling for awhile. Worst case, you just get back on the road; best case, it’s awesome to park it awhile!

    • Thanks for the input, Dakota. Ideally, a perfect situation would be a part-time job where I can still go for long runs in the mornings and come home and cook awesome meals at night. I’m caught in the position of not wanting to work the 9-5 for someone else (unless it’s really awesome and super flexible), wanting to travel (but still trail run), and figuring out how the hell to make money using my skills and talents. Travel is cheaper than living somewhere right now, so in some ways, it’s an easy choice, and it doesn’t leave me the energy to do the things I really love, like running, hiking, and cooking (you know, with my blender and food processor).

  3. Hi, Jen! I love reading your updates and happy to hear you guys will be back in Portland! Not sure if you remember me, but I’m the Seattleite who cycled across the US and Europe last year with her boyfriend. We got back into the States this past June. We’re riding from Seattle>Ushuaia in July 2018. Anyways, wanted to answer your question about feeling burnt out from cycling.. I started feeling pretty burnt out and worn out towards the end of our year trip. I started imagining how future trips would be if we traveled like “normal” people, meaning renting an apartment in some far away destination and actually living like a local or backpacking by trains. I was so ready to come home and thought I’d love every minute being home.. Now that we’ve been home for 6 months, I cannot wait to get back on the road and back into my saddle. I long for the long days of riding through mountain passes, the mystery of where we’re going to pitch our tent, and eating on the side of the road and being mistaken as homeless. All I’m saying is you might feel this way now, but most likely it’s just a phase. Sounds like you need to head home, recharge your batteries, and you’ll soon be feeling like you did before you left for your trip! That’s my advice anyways 🙂 Ona side note… We’re doing the STP again this year and would LOVE to meet you,Dave and Sora when we’re in Portland! We have so many questions and almost feel like we’ve been on the trip with you since we read every blog post. Hope you keep in touch!

    • Hi Erika!

      Of course I remember you! Thanks so much for checking in and for your comment. Hearing from folks like you who have felt burnt out, taken the rest and are eager to get back out on the road encourage me. I don’t know what will be right for me after a few months of rest, but I look forward to seeing what the universe brings. What I DO know is that I don’t want to work in an office doing the 9-5!

      We will be spending plenty of time in Seattle as well, as my parents live there, so we will definitely make a meeting happen while we’re in the PNW!

      PS. You’re going the right direction to Patagonia. Fewer headwinds heading South!

  4. Jen, thank you so much for this honest post. I think it’s important to talk about these things. I hope we will be able to meet you when you’re back home :).

    • Thank you for validating my honesty! Sometimes in blogging world, I worry about sounding like I’m complaining or ungrateful that I get to spend my life traveling right now. As I’ve learned, everything is temporary and we’re just ending one chapter and starting another. I hope we get to meet when we’re home too!

  5. Hello Jen, Dave, and Sora – It’s been a long while since I last commented. I’ve been reading your blog entries as you post and always marvel at your tenacity and perseverance – what you are doing is not easy. I think you three should get the good will ambassador of the year awards. Since I last commented, I’ve gotten married, retired, and we are slowly working on getting bicycles, ourselves, and our dog, Latte, ready for small weekend excursions around NM. Slow going, but going. It has been a joy following you three around the world and hoping you are safe and healthy. Your upcoming rest in WA and OR is well deserved. Thanks for all your effort and care in helping those less fortunate than you.

    • What an awesome message, Julie! Thanks for your patience (and likely multiple times of retyping this) with our captcha issue. Haha you are right about one thing – this is certainly not easy! No wonder we are so tired all the time. Congratulations on your marriage and your retirement – it sounds like it’s been an eventful time for you as well. Feel free to reach out with any questions you have about traveling with Latte. I think you guys will enjoy the rides together. 🙂

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