Spoke ‘n Word

This blog is about bicycles. No, it’s about adventure. What is this trip really about anyway? As with anything in life, we’ve chosen to do this because we feel we need to. Simple. After three years of grad school – stress, intermittent social lives, the deadly combination of forced inactivity and the dull, boring glow of a computer screen – we felt compelled to take a journey. In fact we’ve been looking forward to this adventure ever since we started the landscape architecture program at UC Berkeley. Any design school graduate will sympathize with this.

For the next 6 months, we will exist out of waterproof bags, attached to a steel frame, supported by two wheels, and moving forward on muscle power. Our lives are on the road now, and the only daily constant, the only thing we know, is that these wheels will move us farther down that road each day.

And so it begins, the first day of our trip. Leg 1, ready?…. Go. Flight to Ho Chi Minh City departs in an hour. Running on 2 hours of sleep.

The past 4 weeks of stress preparing for this journey has been building to this day of release. We moved out of the house we called home for the past 3 years. We sold and gave away much of our possessions and folded the rest into a small storage space. We travel now without a home address. We said our painful goodbyes to the people we love. We rebuilt and overhauled and then disassembled our bikes. They sit now in cardboard boxes, ready to fly.

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2 thoughts on “Spoke ‘n Word

  1. Here we go again, but unlike the village of Jali, this time with internet access. Big improvement and no letters for me to post on the blog. I forwarded the blog posting to all the Stegmaiers and alerted them to the link to receive automatic e mail alerts when you have a new posting. Re: the monsoons. Ugh! I remember watching some documentary I saw a hundred years ago and asked myself why would anyone live in those conditions, lack of options, surely, but also “home” is primary. ONe historian theorized that one of the reasons Americans are prone to violence is that the country is made up of people who left their families behind, forever. And this willingness to put aside family connections and go to continent thousands of miles away has been passed on thru genes and environment influence to produce a personality that has less of an attachment to home and family, prizes self reliance and uses violence to solve problems. Just a theory, but since you have only planned on being out of the country for 6 months, we can count on seeing you again sometime in December! And for me this, is another trip for me – vicariously, but who cares. BT

  2. We were looking at Viet Nam on GoogleEarth last night and had several observations. First, how incredibly dense the urbanization is in Ho Chi Minh! Really amazing how in most areas tin roofs cover virtually everything but the streets. Second, there are bicycle symbols here and there (in Viet Nam and Cambodia) that when clicked on show some previous bike trekker’s route and some pictures. Made your trip (in the absence of your own pictures yet) seem much more real and gave an idea of the things you may see. Third, someone has done some really amazing HD 360-degree interactive pans in various places (all over SE asia, but the ones in Viet Nam are really nice). Made it practically feel like being there. And a last observation, the route to Can Tho should be pretty interesting. There are some bridges over small branches, but the main channels of the Mekong are only crossed here and there by ferries. Did the French never build any bridges? Were they all bombed out during the war? Anyway, can’t wait to hear all about it and see your pics. Much love – dad & mom

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