August 29, 2013

On The Road Again…

Where do you go on vacation after returning from a year around the world? To Greece, of course! Tomorrow we leave for this much anticipated country that sadly failed to make it on our final RTW itinerary.

When we tell people where we’re going, the unanimous reaction has been something to the effect of, “What, you didn’t get enough last year?”

[Insert combination eyebrow furl and eye roll here.]

What did people think? That we would travel for a year and then call it quits? I get that it feels like we just returned, but it’s already been EIGHT MONTHS. We deserve to go on a vacation!

We only started planning this trip to Greece about 2 months ago. The first night that I began reading our guidebook, I felt a surge of energy move through my body. I just love learning about new places and figuring out a game plan for experiencing as much of it as possible.

Reading about Greece also led me to the following epiphany. It’s a fact that I was in the “Greek community” for 4 years during college. I have copious pictures of me wearing the Greek alphabet across my chest, sweatpants, and flip flops. 

 Exhibit A – the house I lived in for 3 years

Exhibit B – clicky wardrobe selections for the better of 4 years

So how did it NEVER dawn on me that this extracurricular activitywhich I lived and breathed throughout my twentieswas somehow associated with a real-life country???

Now you’d think that if we’re flying half way across the globe for 3 weeks, we’d at least be able to visit 2 countries. I swear we tried hard to make it to both Greece and Turkey. But the more we researched with our trusty Rick Steve’s guidebook in hand, the more we realized how much we’d be missing by rushing through them both.

Having a year to see countries at our own pace has now completely ruined our old approach to vacationing. So Turkey got kicked to the curb and we’ll be spending 18 Grecian days wandering around this country the size of Alabama.

Now that we’re actively making money instead of just spending it, I’m happy to report that we’re going to class up our travel style by staying in actual hotels. But we’re also keeping it real with our backpacks in tow. The good news is that we were able to ditch all year-long necessities like pad locks, drain plugs, duct tape, and forks, so our backpacks are weighing in at 20 pounds (Steve) and 30 pounds (Katie). That doesn’t necessarily mean less weight on our backs…it just means that we can bring souvenirs home for once!

We’re looking forward to getting away – especially after coming back from mid-life retirement and then not taking a single day off of work for 7 months.

We’re also genuinely excited about Greece. Neither of us has ever been before, and this is a country that’s been on my list for as long as I can remember. We can’t wait to walk amongst the ruins, eat the food, and cruise through the gorgeous islands.

But in addition to those two reasons, which are why most people go on vacation, we have a third discrete objective. In some small way, we hope this trip to Greece will allow us to resurrect our RTW adventure. This isn’t going to be a super relaxing vacation. We have planned an aggressive itinerary for ourselves, just like we would have last year. It’s time to feel and act like students of the world again!

On the road again
Going places that I’ve never been
Seeing things that I may never see again
And I can’t wait to get on the road again.

On the road again
Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway
We’re the best of friends
Insisting that the world keep turning our way 
And our way is on the road again…

August 1, 2013

The Mona Lisa

Before our RTW trip, many of you know that I was an avid cyclist. But a week after my half-Ironman in 2011, my beloved bike – Elizabeth Taylor – was stolen out of our garage. It was a crushing sentimental loss that was only slightly eased by a generous insurance check that promised a new beginning when we returned. And so I’m excited to introduce the newest member of our family, Mona Lisa. 

She’s such a beautiful piece of work that, for a while, Mona just posed in our living room.

I just couldn’t stand the thought of her getting dirty. There’s nothing like a sparkling clean cassette and fresh handlebar tape on a brand new bicycle. 

But since the point of a bike is to actually ride it, Mona and I started pounding the pavement. Here we are on our inaugural ride.

It was the epitome of, "getting back in the saddle". It took us quite a few miles to get acquainted. I was used to Elizabeth, and Mona felt different. I struggled with her fit for several months, but after some sessions to dial in her measurements, things have started to improve.

As much as I wanted to deny it, one irrefutable truth is that no bike can stay looking perfect forever. And so it was inevitable that Mona and I had our first crash.

Now “crash” implies that I was going at least 0.5 MPH. In fact, I was not. The story’s not even interesting enough to recount, but I will say that it involved a busy intersection in downtown San Diego, the piano bar from Top Gun, and my feet being so tangled up in the pedals that I looked like a flailing dolphin caught in a fishing net. Enough said.

Mona got dinged up, and so did my ego. It’s as it should be.

I still have my trusty sidekick Steve, and we're off discovering new places one pedal stroke at a time. It's good to feel like my old self again!