It is better to be a little over-bold than a little over-cautious.
-Apsley Cherry Garrard
It’s been almost a year since we fully committed to making our “ultra-trip” dreams come true. Almost six months ago, we put those plans in writing and blasted them off into the universe. So far the process has been magical, difficult, rewarding, tiring, enlightening and scary. We knew that the process of getting ready to launch around-the-world would be a big percentage of the revelations involved in the adventure. It has already been a wild ride beyond our imagination. So far, more than anything, it has solidified my trust in community, it has confirmed my belief that hard work goes a long way when you really want something, and it has widened my communication with/ adoration of my husband Chris. This shared vision and project has brought a whole new level of closeness to our relationship.
Here’s a logistical update on where we are as of early July 2016. The bold italicized items are what we wrote as goals back in January.
- 6-9 weeks, 6-7 countries/continents, 6 self-routed/ self-supported ultra-marathons (30-50 miles in each location)
With the help of friends, family and community locally and across the globe, we have hosts in almost all of our desired locations. We are still looking to firm up a host in (Northern) Ireland as well as a place to stay on the South Island of New Zealand. Help with either item is welcome!
–Stop #1 Chile/Argentina–Patagonia region Host: camping & refugios (lodges) along the trails
–Stop #2 New Zealand–Auckland + exploration of the South Island Host: Robert & Teresa Nichols, long-time friends who reside in both Cincinnati & Auckland
–Stop #3 Australia–Melbourne + surrounding area Host: Kelly Watts, sister of studio s client/ friend, Suzanne Ewen
–Stop #4 South Korea–Seoul + surrounding area Host: Kelsey Grace, friend, former student of Chris and daughter of friend Laura Vehr. Kelsey just opened the flagship lululemon athletica store in Seoul and has so many great things to say about the city.
-Stop #5 Ireland–County Donegal region via Belfast and/or Dublin + exploration of the International Appalachian Trail + national parks/coastline Host: unknown
-Stop #6:South Africa–Capetown Host: Ray & Gay Brook, friends of long-time friend and studio s client, Barbara Fillion.
- proposed trip departure mid-Feb 2017
If we can gather enough resources, get our flights and the remaining part of our itinerary complete, we still plan on launching mid-February.
- raise & save $20,000 by February 1, 2017
- We are challenging ourselves to eat 99% of our meals at home, spend $0 on personal items (except for groceries, toiletries, house repairs, emergency expenses) as well as find alternative means of entertainment. Our first goal is to make it six months on this plan.
We put A LOT of time and effort into our “spend nothing” challenge over the last six months. Those close to us know this has been very difficult. We haven’t been perfect but I’m really proud of what’s transpired. We stuck to our word and cooked/ate almost all of our meals at home from the end of December 2015-early June 2016. The last few weeks of the challenge fell apart as Chris traveled to Saudi Arabia for work and we had to double down on the remaining house projects in order to get it ready to rent. I have a lot of lessons from these past months that I hope to share in another post. Due to the house projects we focused on, we don’t have as much saved as I would’ve liked but it’s not for lack of effort. The goal is still $20k.
- rent out our house by late summer 2016 to save $ and to practice simplicity
We were completely floored by the response after posting our house rental to Facebook asking for help from friends. So many of you shared the posting, told your contacts about our house and cheered us on. In less than twenty-four hours we had many solid interested parties and by week’s end we had a signed lease for the next three months! Come late fall we will most likely be listing it again for short-term lease.We will miss our tiny little cottage house but have already begun to think of “home” in very different terms.
- complete the four-page list of home improvement tasks (the Mike Tyson of “punch lists”) one month prior to rental
This was a beast of a list. Even though we pride ourselves on being endurance athletes, this was a whole new type of endurance and one we’ve come to appreciate. We did almost all of the work with our own hands and sought help only for the big projects (like bathtub re-glazing, roof repair and some floor restoration). Many times we said to each other, “This also counts as training.” Any physical labor and time on feet counts towards training for what will surely be an exhausting task of making it around the world in six weeks while running our desired ultra-marathon courses.
- rent house for 6 months to 1year & co-habitat with local parents (experiment in longhouse living)
Last Sunday we spent our first official night in what will be our home for the next seven months. We aren’t fully settled yet (as we finish up chores in our old place) but so far we are loving it. My mom and step-dad have fully opened their beautiful home to us and we feel so lucky to be recipients of their generosity and their willingness to embrace this “experiment” fully. We can’t wait to see the lessons and memories that are created with this new type of closeness.
- initial cost, ticketing research and short list of locations–complete
- secure final locations/ hosts by end of March 2016–mostly complete, see above
- proposals to potential sponsors by early summer 2016—started
- purchase flights by late summer/ early fall 2016–sometime this fall is our new goal
- finalize running routes, cultural missions, & travel details by late winter 2016
- smuggle across the oceans the un-exchangeable, un-obtainable cultural recipes for ALIVENESS
- identify and train surrogate puppy and cat parents to foster our babies while we’re gone
Our good friend Shelly has agreed to keep our baby Kilian! His “girlfriend” Violet is Shelly’s golden doodle. We are going to miss him like crazy but he will have a blast with his surrogate family.
- oh … and train for the ultra-marathons–in progress
Training is in full effect! We are trying to maintain some fun and laughter as we make our way through many miles on the road and trails.
Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
-Francis of Assisi