Sunday, December 22, 2013

You don't wake up in places like this without making some sacrifices...

Dual-sport camping high above Point Mugu
Note: This is not an exciting adventure motorcycling blog entry. This is a blog entry about life as a traveler. Nearly every day is exciting for one reason or another, 99% of the time we’re thrilled with how we’re living our lives, the opportunities we encounter or make and we wouldn’t trade what we’re doing and how we’re doing it for anything in the world. (No really, we play a game sometimes on long stretches of highway where we ask one another: “Would you give up traveling permanently if: _________” Fill in the blank: someone offered to give you an estate, free of cost, you could step into your dream job, tomorrow, etc. 

But there are times when we are affronted with the sacrifices we have made and are making in order to live the way we do. And it gets difficult. We get a little somber. A little emotional. And it’s part of this traveling life that I wanted to share with you. Last week was one of those times for us. 

After the Long Beach motorcycle show, Roel indulged my desire to catch up with my dearest friends who happen to live in the LA area, who I haven’t seen for over two years. 

"Barreling Down" w/ Erica in the Barossa
Vintage Beer Olympics Organizers
Erica and I met working wine harvest in the Barossa Valley, South Australia. We were housemates and bonded over a mutual fear of spiders and a love of wine and cheese. She is a phenomenal wine sales rep and recently
Christmas (window) shopping w/ Lauree & Co.
achieved an all-time high score at the Louis Latour seminar blind tasting in Burgundy. Lauree has flaming pink hair, the most incredible vintage couture treasure-filled closet and works for a non-profit that provides homeless women with the tools and resources to get back on their feet. We met while sailing around the world on a ship during a college semester “abroad.” Rujuta, and I are the same exact
Graduation Day '06 (Rocking my toomanybeerslastnight smile)
height: 5’ 3 1/4” and we were assigned single dorm rooms next to one another our freshmen year of college at The George Washington University in DC. We were best friends from the start, lived together for the next 3 years and naturally our friendship has evolved into more of a sisterhood. She is in the home stretch of a Child Neurology Fellowship at UCLA and hence is nearly impossible to see during daylight hours. 

Over the course of the week, I managed to spend time with
these amazing women. It was wonderful: we share the kind of friendships where we can not see or speak to one another for far too long, but when we’re together it’s like nothing has changed. It was also slightly bittersweet. Though we’ve kept in touch via Facebook, e-mail and Skype, it’s not the same as being able to laugh together in the same room or work out life’s little challenges over a cup of tea or bottle of wine. It really reminded me of what I miss out on while on the road - good girlfriends are one of life’s most precious treasures. 

The last time I got to break bread with these lovelies... LA , November, 2011
Since we’d had to leave Northern California without stopping in San Francisco in order to make it to Long Beach, we were planning to return to Northern California immediately following the bike show. However, at a gas stop about 3 hours north of the city, I received word that Rujuta’s grandfather had passed away. So we turned around and committed to spending a few more days in the area in order to be there for Rujuta and her family, who I consider my own.

We toured around the South coast a bit more finding a truly
Catching up on some reading
amazing campsite near Point Mugu. Dual-sport bike access only. We savored the sunset. Watched the moon rise over the ocean as we ate our noodles for dinner. We enjoyed our first sleep-in in 3 months, and lingered in the tent, enjoying the view we opened the fly to the following morning. It is one of those places that will be cached in my memory and I will likely long to return to in the future. 
The view from our tent that morning
We headed to Acton, CA to meet up with Brian who we had met in Bishop, CA. His 18 year old son, Adam, regaled us with tales of his work in the field of st/unt car mechanics. He had most recently been on set for the filming of the next Fast and the Furious release, prior to the death of main character, Paul Walker.

We spent an evening with a friend of mine from highschool, reminiscing about the old days back in Vermont. We visited a friend of my Dad’s in Laguna Beach and spent time with his wonderful family. One of the children gave us small “jewels” that she had blessed to protect us on our journey and then proceeded to sprinkle fairy dust on our front tires to keep our bikes safe, as well. We really miss the simple joy of spending time with children and without exposure to families and children, we often forget that we’re now in our 30’s… Biological clock? Tick tock. Whaaat???

1923 BMW R32

We visited the Irv Seaver BWM dealership in Anaheim one afternoon. Their passion for motorcycling had really
impressed us at the Long Beach show. (They had said: We
don’t care what you’re riding, we just love what you’re d
oing!) They have a drool-worthy showroom and an impressive museum of vintage BMWs that have been restored to mint condition… Including a 1923 BMW R32 with the serial number: 041… The worlds earliest known example. The seat is a beautiful honey-colored leather which nicely matches the WOODEN brakes!

The day of Rujuta’s grandfathers funeral arrived. To say the least, it was an intense day. The outpouring of sorrow and grief, mixed with the joyous celebration of a family coming together to honor the life of a man who has touched many, left us raw and facing the reality of losing family of our own, both in the past and future. I have already missed the funeral of my own grandfather, as I had just arrived in Australia when he passed. Sometimes it would be nicer to be closer to our families. Roel has not yet met his first nephew. I missed out on being there for my brother as he navigated the end of high school and beginning college.

Though we had stayed in LA for a bit longer for a sad reason, it was a period of much-needed relaxation and soul-nourishing time spent with friends and loved ones, new and old. And it was great cause for reflection. 

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