Deb asked how this came about, so I thought I'd tell the very non-linear story.
Blame it on jet lag. I was in Dublin, Ireland a few Christmases ago and couldn't sleep. Fortunately, despite having radio stations that only played music from the 1980's, the telly did get the BBC. There was an episode (or marathon - it must have been several episodes) of a what I now know to be a very popular show, TOPGEER(sic). The premise of the show is normally to show the latest and greatest in cars, etc. The three hosts of the show were given $1000 ( I can't remember if it was UDS or pounds) to buy a motorcycle and ride the almost 1100 miles from north to south. The scenery was spectacular and the history was interesting. Obviously, there were some "challenges" along the way, hence the pirate ship on the back of the pink bike.
I am young enough and lucky enough to have not have been directly affected by "the American war". It didn't even come into our home on the news every night because, frankly, we didn't watch the news or even get a newspaper - I lived a pretty isolated life in that regard, as Mom had virtually no interest in the world outside our immediate surroundings. So I don't have any particular feeling about the place, other than some curiosity. And the British show piqued my interest. VN went to the top of the list of places I wanted to visit. Until I saw a travel show about Istanbul. Then it became "should I go here or there? Which one first?"
And because it was a "we" at the time, VN came out the winner. We began to make plans to go - even asking another couple - the man having served a hitch there - to join us. And then we weren't a "we" anymore and since I was still going to make a big trip in honor of my 50th, I chose Istanbul, as it felt more doable solo. And then Pebbles opted to join me. But the southeast Asia trip continued to percolate.
So then came the whole humanitarian trip option - and I was onboard - until I found out the details - and there just wasn't enough time for me to see anything outside of the villages we would be working in - so that was out. When I was relating all of the new information, along with my decision not to go, to Pebbles and Slater - it was Slater who was immediately like "I want to go. Let's go. We can do this." I don't know his motivation to go, but I suspect it has to do with his desire to do some really hardcore backpacking travel through really remote parts of the world - India, China, Nepal, etc. which is interesting, as I don't believe he's been abroad - only out of the country to Mexico - oh, and Puerto Rico, but that's one of "ours". After hearing how Pebbles fared in Istanbul, I suspect he wants to see how she will do on a trip like this, which will be a combination of adventure travel coupled with affordable luxury. She says she doesn't think she will be as intimidated by the VN people as she was by the Turkish. I think it will be an even bigger culture shock. It will be interesting to see how she/they/we do. I think she went into full blown "must protect Mom" mode while we were traveling (although I was perfectly fine and don't recall feeling really uncomfortable ever) and that played a part in her unease. Although, of the three of us, she is by far the most experienced traveler. Traveling with them might be the biggest adventure of them all!
Weekend was fraught with frustration - AC went out and was repaired late Saturday. I managed to completely flatten the tires on Inez, while trying to air them up. I think I may have an air pump that is failing, as I can't seem to get it to "latch" on - and air just seems to be leaking out from the side. Of course, every time I try to attach the hose, I leaked out more air. I ended up throwing the cover off of Cha-Cha and hauling her to Weatherford to ride the rails-to-trails by myself on Sunday morning. Now I have to load up Inez and the bike pump and take them into the lbs (and face my absolute humiliation at having done this) to get this taken care of. Sigh.
Headed out for spin class this morning with Mr. Beautiful, followed by a busy week at work.
Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Adventure is out there!
Take good care