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Skott and Shawna – R.I.P.

Oh don’t worry…..we’re not dead.

In fact nothing could be further from the truth….Shawna and I have been on the road for a month now, and we are both feeling pretty damm alive! We have finally got our travel legs about us (we think), and we are ready to ride! (quite literally, but more on that later)

However, over this past month it hasn’t always been easy. We have definitely had a few trying times…

Throughout the United Kingdom, and into Liechtenstein, we had friends & family hosting us, catering to us, and planning for us every step of the way. Seriously…from the moment we landed in London, till the day we left Marlene and Gerold in Liechtenstein, there were very few situations where we had to plan….or even think for ourselves.

It was beautiful!

However, as Shawna mentioned previously, all of sudden it was time to leave our friends’ place, and the day before we were set to go, we recognized that we didn’t actually have a clue what we were going to do next??? Head to France? Italy? House-sit in Spain? Stay close by in Austria???

We hadn’t planned a thing.

Add to this the fact that, shockingly, Central Europe is rather busy and booked up during the summer, and we were feeling stressed. Feeling lost.

It’s funny. We spend over a year planning, dreaming, anticipating this round the world journey…..and then we leave Canada, and it is like…

“Well…now what?!?!”

I realize there are worse problems to have…trust me, substantially worse, but I suspect that if you for whatever reason, care enough to read this blog, than you likely don’t want to just hear about the joys of travel, but also some of the real moments which weren’t always pretty.

Anyways, after a lot of wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth, we did finally decide to stay in Lienz, Austria for an additional eight days. Yet, we did not feel as though we really had found what we were looking for… the first few days were spent just exploring the city of Lienz, and catching up on the blog. have you noticed the ton of posts this week?

We were still a little directionless, almost as if we were going through the motions, but not really getting anything out of it. And maybe we were even a wee bit homesick.

However my friends, this tale of woe does not end in sadness and misery….oh no…don’t you worry.

Recognizing we had a problem, we tried to figure out what was missing. How is this trip so far, different from my previous years in Australia, or Shawna’s past travels in Ghana or Finland?

First and foremost, we realized that we were travelling too fast. Over the first 23 days on the road, I think we slept in 13 different beds…(sluts!) Not only can this become tiring and expensive, it also prevents you from getting into any sort of a real routine. You don’t even have time to feel settled in a place and you are packing the bags and on the go again.

Secondly, we realized that we really weren’t meeting any NEW people. We were staying with friends and catching up on what has been going on with them, but outside of that our conversations were basically limited to speaking with each other….and although we love each other to death, we were both needing opportunities to talk with new people, and really feel involved; interacting within the communities we are staying in. Again, tough to do, if you are moving too quickly.

Finally, we realized that we hadn’t really felt as though much had been accomplished so far on our trip (with our “conquering” of the Alps being the one exception).
We realized that we are not the type of travellers, that will be able to go long periods of time without a goal or purpose. We admit his is a tricky one, because there is a need for balance…it is important to have a goal, purpose, or mission, but it is also important to learn to just “be”, without requiring some sort of finish line.

So, there you have it:

R – Routine
I – Interaction
P – Purpose

This is what we believe will be the secret to our travelling happiness! And the easiest way to start on our Mission – RIP?

Just slooooow down.

And so we will….or at least plan to….soon.

But first, we are looking to fulfill the ‘purpose’ component of our journey for a little while….

What are we doing?

Well, we have just purchased two bicycles of questionable road-worthiness from Papin Sport, a local bike rental place here in Lienz. And beginning tomorrow morning, we are cycling southwest towards, eventually, hopefully, Lyon, France!!!

The total distance is about 850kms, and we are not certain whether or not all areas have a bike path to ride on, and we also realize that there may be times where we jump on a train to avoid small hurdles like…oh…the Alps, but our goal is to somehow, spend the next few
weeks enjoying the Italian and French countrysides (and wines) as we push our pedal to the metal!!!

So off we go – but before we do….we would like to make an introduction….

We would like you to meet our new compadres….Harriet and Waldorf!

What do you think? Will we make it???

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16 Responses to “Skott and Shawna – R.I.P.”

  1. Jodi July 19, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

    Skott, there’s something on your face;) Have fun biking!

    • Skott July 24, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

      Like I told Rob…it’s puberty!!

  2. TaraLee Houston July 20, 2011 at 1:22 am #

    Hello Skott and Shawna,

    I love reading your updates, they crack me up! I love the RIP mission. You 2 are fabulous. I am living vicariously through your journey this year and learning all about your travels. You are inspiring and Jaosn and I hope to explore eastern Canada soon, then maybe venture globally I would especially like to go to Europe. Things I would not want to miss are: Monet’s garden and gallery house in Giverny, the Eiffel tower, Louvre in Paris, Sistine chapel, Burgundy France…did you know they only export 1% of their wines OMG there would be alot of new wines to try there! I would also like to help harvest the grapes in Champagne, I think stomping in all that fruit would be messy fun. Anyways, with your inspiration and travel tips we hope to make our travels soon. Just wanted to let you know I think what your doing is awesome and I look forward to reading about your journey this year. Harriet and Waldorf look like great travel companions, drive safe, have fun and thanks for the updates! Your Friend, TaraLee

    • Skott July 26, 2011 at 12:30 am #

      Hey TaraLee – Thank you soooo much for saying hi – you are such a sweetheart!

      I would love to travel Eastern Canada….maybe if we have money back when we get home ;) Yeah, things just might work out okay with Harriet and Waldorf….we have only had a few minor mishaps so far….nothing too bad.

      Wow – you have done more research on French wine than we have!!! Well done! Thanks for the heads up…keep in touch – talk again soon!

  3. Pete Heck July 20, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    Like the acronym :)

    Wow, that is a lot of beds in 23 days. Glad you are finding out what works and what doesn’t. We much prefer the SLOW travel lifestyle, although I am certain that it is going to pick up in the short term for us…

    Good luck with the ride, sounds fun! Are you going to haul your packs with you or have them transported?

    Regardless, my vote is you will make it.

    • Skott and Shawna July 26, 2011 at 12:52 am #

      Everything we have is bungeed corded to a basket behind our seats. We look like idiots, but are having a great time!

      Thanks tons Pete for the vote of confidence – it means a ton.

      After the Camino, we are definitely planning on staying somewhere in Morocco for a month or so….let me know if you hear of any sweet house-sitting opps :D

  4. Mike Lenzen | Traveled Earth July 20, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

    That’s just how we felt our first day on the road. “Now what?” We did something similar, and made our way to a beach for 5 days where we could just chill out and figure out what the heck we were going to do.

    As far as meeting new people, we’re having a tough go at it. We did spend the better part of a week with a Californian couple, but other than that English speakers have been tough to come by (unless they are trying to sell us something). Right now our hostel is full of French high school students.

    I’m really wishing we had some Spanish classes under our belt… all in good time.

    Good luck with the biking, sounds awesome.

    • Skott and Shawna July 26, 2011 at 12:49 am #

      We hear you Mike….knowing a wee bit of another language helps so much, but we admit….other than “please” and “thanks”, we have nothing in Italian or German, the countries we have encountered language issues.

      We are also fans of the short term planning….nice move….get somewhere, book a week there and make a plan for after….it seems to have cleared things up for us, at least for the time being.

      Thanks for the warm wishes on the cycling….so far…so good! More to come on that later!

  5. Alouise July 20, 2011 at 10:30 pm #

    I love the RIP acronym, very creative. I definitely think having a little routine when you travel is important. Cycling to Lyons, France sounds like a pretty amazing experience. I’m sure you’ll do great. At least your willing to hop on a train if you need to, I think cycling up and down the alps would get way too tiring.

    • Skott and Shawna July 26, 2011 at 12:43 am #

      Yeah, the Alps may indeed get in the way, and we will most definitely jump on the train if need be….do you have any suggestions as to an Alp-free route?? Or at least a route that is as un-nasty as possible?

  6. Duane Hunt July 22, 2011 at 1:27 am #

    HI! I like R.I.P., I like the slow it down concept, you’ll find a million ways to make your heart sing and race in due course. ENVY YOU>>>>>You guys are sooooooo smart to be doing this thing.

    So, you know how the Roughriders never REALLY replaced George Reed? Well, I have a feelig Rawlco will be feeling the same about now, and they have 25 years on the Riders.

    Things ok. Had a heart attack June 21st and lived to tell about it !! Im doing just fine and getting better by the day. Closed Vic Ave store 28 days later. Researching less stressful means of work. LOL. Maybe I will see you on the road!.

    Keep blogging, whatever that means. Seriously, what does blogging stand for? Why not stregging, or floning, or misagagoshing?
    Peace and Love

    • Skott July 26, 2011 at 12:39 am #

      Thanks Duane for the compliment – you are a good man!

      Geez – a heart attack!?!?! I do really hope you are doing okay…we are sending you tons of positive Italian vibes! Seriously though, look after yourself. I think you are right, two stores is probably more stress than a guy needs…and yes it would be awesome to see you on the road….pack your bags!!!

      PS. Blogging, is apparently short for web-logging…I think. That is about as nerdy as I get.

      PPS. Seriosuly – look after yourself.

  7. Nomadic Samuel July 22, 2011 at 2:40 am #

    This is a great post. A lot of backpackers embarking on their first rtw trip (myself included) try to take on too much at once and travel too quickly. It’s great that you’ve realized already that whizzing around from place to place defeats many purposes of your journey (to meet others, interact meaningfully with locals, see more than just the tourist sites, etc).

    • Skott and Shawna July 26, 2011 at 12:41 am #

      Thanks Samuel – It is true, and I think we both knew this before we even left, but it just takes awhile to find your groove. We believe we have officially found ours!!

  8. Megan July 23, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

    Wow! What an awesome challenge this is going to be. Can’t wait to hear more about it – I want to do some bike touring in Asia and you guys will be my inspiration!

    • Skott July 23, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

      Thanks Megan – we will let you know how it goes….so far 4 days in…my knees are creaky, but holding up!! We have heard cool stuff about Asia cycling as well….

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