Sometimes it seems odd that we should be out in the world going ever onwards, when my instincts tell me it is time to hole up for the season and hibernate. The coming winter and approaching holidays make me a little nostalgic and homesick. I yearn to be with family, friends and loved ones, safe inside in a warm home on the darkest time of the year. I cannot wait for the winter solstice so the days will start growing longer again.
This Thanksgiving, we won't be eating turkey or admiring the snow drifting softly outside. We won't snuggle under blankets on the couch to watch "It's a Wonderful Life," and we certainly won't be spending the afternoon stuffed full of good food in front of the TV watching a football game. No Yahtzee, no grandparents' houses. No Radio City Rockettes for me, no giant floats on the Macy's Parade. Instead of homemade stuffing and cranberry sauce we will most likely be eating some spicy harissa-filled chawarma kebab. I will miss not cooking and preparing for the annual family feast.
Both of Us
That being said, we are in Tunisia right now, and can't really complain. It is not only ridiculously warm (especially considering its November!), but it is also brilliantly sunny. After almost eight months on the road, we still get along swimmingly and we are still having a blast. So while we won't be partaking in the hoopla surrounding Tara's favorite holiday, we can focus on the very essence of it. The giving thanks part. And so, we wanted to write about our families and thank them for being so generous, loving, and generally awesome people.
Meet our "support crew" (in order of appearance):
Jodi, Tyler's mom
By letting us stay in her house rent free for six months we were able to save more than either of us had imagined possible in such a short time. Being able to transition from living in a home to just a bedroom was great practice for the adventure before us as well. We spent a wonderful fall and winter hanging out, cooking together, and enjoying the hot tub. Thank you Jodi!
Sarah, Gabe, Vivian, Isaac & Esther, Tyler's other mom and younger siblings
Sarah sent us off with homemade granola and organized the kids to make a huge banner for us covered in their drawings and notes. We still carry it in our panniers wherever we go, and it never fails to make us smile when we bring it out. Whenever we have a good internet connection, the kids are always the most eager to chat on Skype, bolstering our spirits and reminding us of what is really important: family. Thank you! We really are coming back, we promise!
Mark and Lisa, Tara's parents
They collect the supplies we order online and ship to their home, then they organizing them into big boxes and figure out how to ship them to wherever we are when we need them. They boost our morale almost daily with emails and phone calls, and are always ready to help in any way they can. Constantly connecting with international friends on our behalf, they do more for us than we ever asked or imagined for. Tara's dad even found a nice campsite for us once when we were in France! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Amanda, Tyler's older sister
When our cats Tao and Ki started revolting against their new home in NYC (we think it was too small and they were used to more attention) Amanda managed to find a good home for them. Tyler's friend Eli (thanks Eli!) ferried them from NYC all he way back to Minnesota where they are now indoor/outdoor cats at a pet boarding facility near Amanda's home. From her occasional reports, we've learned that Ki is now a skilled hunter, and that Tao is friends with a bobcat! Thank you Amanda, we don't know what we would have done without you!
Jeanne and Don Marsh, Tara's grandparents
They put us in contact with Carla Boussen, with whom we stayed for twelve days in La Marsa, Tunisia as we tried to acquire Libyan visas. Thank you for finding us a great place to stay to ease us into Africa! They also talk us up to all of their friends and acquaintances!
Tony, Tyler's dad
When our renters started slipping on their rent payments he agreed to look after things. Without him playing the "enforcer" to make ensure they actually pay each month we could wind up with serious financial troubles. He's also agreed to look after the house itself, doing occasional inspections to ensure the place is still standing when we return (we hope to sell it and buy a small farm). Thank you so much Tony!
Marilyn and Don Cohen, Tara's grandparents
They found us several contacts in Southeast Asia, and never fail to talk us up and show their support. Thank you!
Lastly, much love and many thanks for the support we receive now and always, from Lian & Brooke, and all of our friends near and far.
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!
Tara & Tyler