We made it! (?)

A moment of transitory victory as we successfully closed out of our Day Street home-for-a-month, packed and re-packed our bags, and bundled ourselves off to the airport!

We’ve faced down quite a few challenges to get to this moment:

  • The big closeout of our Oakland home;
  • Gracefully wrapping up our jobs (harder for Sara than for me, because 1. hers is a much smaller organization in which she occupied a much more structurally vital position and 2. I’ll be continuing to work a few hours a week, time permitting, from the road!);
  • The smaller closeout of our SF pied-a-terre;
  • Designing a set of stuff to bring around the world, and then actually acquiring and assembling the stuff;
  • Saying goodbye to so many friends and loved ones!

Both Sara and I have been under the weather, me for more than a week now and Sara potentially following in my footsteps, so, sitting in the airport, it sort of feels like we’re dragging ourselves across the finish line here. But of course, this is more of a starting line than a finish line…

Next stop, Colombia, via a rough red-eye itinerary through Panama City. (In fact I am writing this in Cartagena – it turns out blogging from the airport isn’t so easy – more to come soon!)

Tomorrow to fresh woods, and pastures new

Welcome!

Either you’re lost in an internet rabbit hole and have somehow found yourself here – a place where whatever answers you seek from the world wide web will surely not be provided – or you’ve come here to follow along on our – Drew and Sara’s – extended, indefinite honeymoon world tour!

We write today from Drew’s childhood home on Day Street in San Francisco, where we are staying until our fast approaching departure on January 23. We are currently living among packing lists and clothing piles, malaria pills and ziploc bags, a small dose of anxiety and many high hopes for the adventure ahead.

Colombia is one of the most ethnically, linguistically and biologically diverse countries on the planet. It is home to nearly 50 million people.

When we take off on 123 (fitting, no?) we go first to Colombia. Our plans for our time there include improving our Spanish; getting to know the cities of Medellín, Bogotá, and Cartagena (each of which promises these urbanists a different kind of delight and learning); drinking copious cups of coffee (or at least bearing witness to Sara doing so) and hiking in the Zona Cafetera; unwinding from a demanding 2018; and finding a rhythm for the long(er) haul ahead of us.

Drew may also cycle up one of the longest climbs on earth – fifty miles straight gaining about 12,000 feet of elevation in the process – because everyone has their own special definition of fun!

Though this journey is many months (and really, years) in the making, we intend to do much of its planning in real time. We expect to cross over from Colombia to Ecuador in late February or early March, and hope to make it to Peru after that. Then maybe we’ll go to Mexico. Then there’s some time in Canada to think about, followed by bike touring in Europe perhaps, then we have our eyes on Japan, and how can you overlook South East Asia? And of course trip to Australia with a stop in New Zealand is in order…

We’ll provide updates on our moves as they start to take clearer shape here. And in addition to our written travelogue, Drew will be helping you all follow along with us in map form! You can click here to visit the map (it may look familiar), which will also show you the blog post that corresponds to whatever destination you select that we have marked and written about.

We are excited to have our dear friend Derek join us in February in Colombia, and then meet up with Drew’s parents Howard and Wendy in Quito in early March, just as they end their own South American adventure. Sara’s mom may also join us in Peru later in March. We are eagerly accepting suggestions for more friends and acquaintances to connect with, and if you’ve been to any of our destinations above and would be willing to share your favorite food spots, neighborhoods, public parks, transit lines, etc. we would be most grateful.

We also very much hope you will considering joining us at some point along the way – the invitation is open and standing!

We’ll be traveling with our backpacks (Sara’s 55L North Face Terra and Drew’s newly acquired 70L Osprey Farpoint – for those who are into the gear aspect of these kinds of things) and not much else. As such, we kindly request that you refrain from commenting when you see our typical commitment to high fashion make a precipitous decline in photos come late January.

In 1967, Sara’s grandparents left their home and life in Los Angeles for what would become a twenty year multi-national tour in the U.S. Foreign Service. At their farewell party, a friend gifted them a notebook with bon voyage messages from their friends and family included within. This inscription adorned the first page. Sara stumbled upon it during a recent visit to her nearly 93 year old grandmother in Carlsbad, CA.

Beyond the support of our packs and our trusty 30-something bodies (??), this adventure is also being supported in every respect by the generosity of our community. From the many local friends who helped us pack, sell, and/or haul our entire lives into a corner of the Levitt/Scheffers garage (see previous post), to those further afield who have cheered on this admittedly harebrained plan with love and enthusiasm. From the extended family and friends whose gifts for our wedding will keep us fed and sheltered in the weeks and months ahead, to our immediate family who have provided guidance, encouragement, and given so much of themselves to let us realize this dream. Oh and the Academy. We’d also like to thank the Academy.

We are stepping away from our home and work and people in the Bay Area eagerly, earnestly, and with so much gratitude for the life we’re leaving behind. Future posts may reflect on this more, or maybe we’ll just stick to food pics and hashtags, but it had to be said, before we go.

Onward, into the great unknown, with the internet explaining it all in real time!

This was our Oakland

Sara and I packed up our home in late December, and watched everything disappear methodically into the back of a U-Haul, then into neat-ish towers in my parents’ home in San Francisco at the end of the month. As we set out on a new journey, I find myself thinking of the chapter we’ve just concluded.

We moved in to “the Hut,” as we call it, at the end of June 2016, after making the decision to live together during a particularly spectacular evening in Stockholm in May. Here’s a photo of us in the empty apartment:

Note Indian food on the bare floor.

And here’s a photo of all our stuff in the U-Haul, two and a half years later:

With Teddy and Laurie.

There’s a great deal I’ll miss about our former home:

  • The beautiful neighborhood full of trees and craftsman bungalows.
  • The equidistant commercial corridors of College Ave and Telegraph Ave.
  • Soi 4; Pizzaiolo; Cholita Linda; the Golden Squirrel. Berkeley Bowl, farther off.
  • The Temescal farmer’s market at the DMV, with Roy keeping the path swept clean.
  • Our neighbors with the homemade chalk and newborn daughter.
  • Our house plants, especially the exuberant money plant.
  • Morning bike rides into the Oakland Hills.

And a few things I won’t:

  • No porch or patio.
  • No dishwasher (but at least we had a washer/dryer, so important).
  • No pets allowed!
  • That odd micro-room that was never useful for anything and just became a room full of crap for two years.

But I’ll really miss all the times we spent there. We got engaged and married while we lived in the Hut; we had friends over countless times; we suffered through lots of bullshit there; it was a good place.

I know Rockridge isn’t particularly typical of Oakland, nor what most folks have in mind when they think of Oakland or the East Bay, but this was our Oakland, and I loved it.