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by Tara

Wow. I cannot believe we have been gone a year! This time last year we were just arriving in Scotland, and I remember thinking to myself as we put our bicycles together in the airport, "what the hell have I gotten myself into?!"

A little later, as we rode away on the wrong side of the road, I was terrified of my gigantic bike, having never ridden it fully loaded (I purchased front panniers right before we left, in the dead of Minnesota winter). It felt awkward, heavy and unbalanced. I was feeling so excited but also very scared and vulnerable.

Now, all of that feels like ancient history. It almost seems as if the first year was just practice for the one before us. As we rode into Serbia yesterday, I was giddy and excited like the real adventure was just beginning! And, in a way, it is true. We finally feel like we know what we're doing. We are fit enough to cycle long distances if we choose to, and we know when we to push ourselves and when to give in. We know how we like to travel and what we want from our trip. Now we just need to pedal off into the wild blue yonder!

We've come a long way this year. Here are some highlights:


Tara with Lamb

We managed to make it out of England and into beautiful France where we felt like we were on vacation in comparison! It didn't rain every day! There was space for our bicycles on the roads and drivers took care going around us! And best of all, it wasn't so friggin' hilly! There were (almost) always several campsites within easy reach. We had Fresh baguettes delivered to our tent in the morning. Pretty swank. Oh and I climbed my first mountains!


Switzerland was expensive but we had loads of fun riding to Zermatt, and had a truly memorable ascent to Julierpass. We also got to float down a river in Bern with Bettina, and see our dear friends, Ingrid and Yves, again!


In Italy, I really felt like we came into our own. We free-camped nearly every night, enjoyed the ocean, and fell madly in love with all things Italian. We met some wonderful new friends, ate a ton of gelato, and sipped away on many a perfect cappuccino. Oh and the food!

Amalfi Harbor View

Tunisia was a shock after our posh time in Italy. Though it was difficult in many ways, we ended up really enjoying ourselves. The best part was definitely when we bought Habib, our little scooter, and rode around the country. We also saw the festival of the Sahara!

Us on Chott el Jerid Salt Flat (on Habib) Beautiful Old Woman

Greece was really nice. We loved the wildness of Crete, as well as the music and friendly people. The flaky pastries sold everywhere were also really good!

Southern Crete

And most recently, Macedonia. I knew nothing about it whatsoever, but I quickly fell for this little country. Really warm, friendly people, beautiful scenery, nice paved roads with very few cars, cheap delicious food, and a small, manageable size. I'd come back in a heartbeat.

Tara & Shepherd

And now we're in Serbia. I'm sure it will be as full of adventure as all the other places we've been.

Finally, in this little scrapbook entry of our first year, I want to include some things we may have neglected to write about over the last twelve months. I don't want them to get lost in the shuffle.

Odds n' Ends

  • We eat an entire chocolate bar every day, sometimes more than one.

  • We eat more butter than anyone probably should.

  • In Greece you put your used toilet paper in the garbage can instead of flushing it.

  • In Tunisia, there is no toilet paper, but there is always a little hose with a nozzle to spray your butt with.

  • We carry our garbage around with us in bags we save from when we go grocery shopping. It dangles from the rear end of Tyler's bike until we can find a garbage can.

  • In the hostel in Remla, Tunisia, Tyler went on a mosquito-killing spree, using a wad of balled-up socks to throw at the wall. The ball would bounce off the wall, and he'd catch it and throw it at the next one. It was hilarious and very sweet, as otherwise I would have been eaten alive during the night.

  • We now pick our socks based on feel—those that feel like socks instead of moccosins (from all the crust) are the ones we covet. Those that don't smell like cheetos and fresh parmesan cheese are even better!

Phew. Goodnight.

Tara Sleeping/Journaling
Previous Entry
Hello Serbia


Wow, I can't believe I've been living vicariously through your adventures for a year now. Ever since I saw the article about you in the Champaign News-Gazette. The work you all put into this site, your journaling, and photography are really incredible. I hope year two goes at least as well as year one!
Posted by Greg on April 3rd, 2010 at 8:04 AM
Congratulations, guys!

Don't know how you've managed, but it's been great to follow along. I'm incredibly impressed by you two.

Here's to another year! And then I expect to see you in NH come the American leg of the journey.
Posted by Ali on April 3rd, 2010 at 10:18 AM
Happy anniversary, guys! Thanks for a great year of stories and photos. Keep on pedalin'!
Posted by Mary Niedenfuer on April 3rd, 2010 at 11:42 AM
Greetings from B. Hill. Mark and I have been re-living your recent adventures. The sun is shining and it is a beautiful spring day here. We miss you. Much love, take care. Gramma Jeanne
Posted by Gramma Jeanne on April 3rd, 2010 at 2:04 PM
Great entry and summary of the last year! And how cool that you now get to add "a year ago today" to all your posts :) Hope you are well.
Posted by LIZKELLEY on April 4th, 2010 at 2:57 PM
Congratulations!! I think and talk about you guys all the time! Thanks for a year of inspiration!!
Can't wait to see you when you fly into Seattle after Southeast Asia (hint Hint). Sending big hugs!

P.S. Tara I think about you every time I listen to Le Vent du Nord. Do you remember dancing at LEAF? love ya!
Posted by Eliza on April 4th, 2010 at 6:58 PM
I am having such a lovely trip alongside you, I hope you feel me there all the way! My kids are now used to me saying "Tara and Tyler ... did this ... went here ... saw that..." and you feel like part of the family.

Lookingforward to the rest of our journey ;)
Posted by YvetteDownunder on April 4th, 2010 at 7:29 PM
Thank you so much for sharing your adventure. Fritz and I wish you another great year and look forward to traveling along with you. I had my hip replaced three weeks ago and I'm doing well. My Doc promised me biking is in my future. We're planning a trip to Belgium in Sept.
We had our bikes coupled so they can go as free luggage. No rentals this trip.
JoAnne and Fritz
Posted by JoAnne Jones on April 4th, 2010 at 8:12 PM
You guys are terrific! Good luck in your second year on the road. Peek into http://www.mathman.biz/html/map.html and click on "square numbers" to see you math work from a long time ago, Tara.

Love, GP and GM Cohen
Posted by Don Cohen-The Mathman on April 4th, 2010 at 8:30 PM
wow..one year and one to go? that is amazing... I think about you guys all the time, really I do. How fantastic! I truly belive you are more than an inspiration, and I feel as if my travels are bo-ring. hehe.. best of luck, and peddle on!!
Posted by Naomi on April 5th, 2010 at 4:06 AM
Happy anniversary! Every couple of days, I think - time to check in on Tyler and Tara! Thanks for vicarious journey...
Posted by Okir on April 5th, 2010 at 6:30 PM
Congrats you guys! Nothing brings me such a feeling of joy mixed with sadness as checking up on you!
Posted by Alex on April 6th, 2010 at 9:46 AM
Good to see you are still going strong and that your site is still so alive! We met you in a field in near Wallington in Northumberland almost a year ago (April 18 2009 I think)and gave you a couple of beers. keep enjoying your trip.

John and Pauline
Posted by Anonymous on April 6th, 2010 at 10:48 AM
Happy anniversary y'all! Its been awesome to read about your journey.
Posted by Mark on April 6th, 2010 at 5:07 PM
Thanks so much everybody! It always makes our day to hear from so many great people! :D

John & Pauline - We remember you! That was at the campsite where we weren't allowed because we had a tent, not a campervan. Thanks for those beers :-)
Posted by Tara on April 9th, 2010 at 10:42 AM
It has been wonderful to watch this journey's transformation over the past year (or rather, the changing ways you have related to it). I've enjoyed learning about the places you've been, but also about your process and personal development--learning how to handle a life on the road with just what you carry with you and can find as you need it.

Looking forward to continuing the journey with you from afar. And I second Ali's request for a visit on a domestic version of the trip!

Congratulations for all you have accomplished thus far,

Posted by Julia on April 10th, 2010 at 6:11 PM