Some people might call us hasty. Others might say impetuous. We like to call ourselves decisive. Rob and I put an offer on a house exactly one week after touching down in Missoula, Montana. If all goes according to plan, we’ll move in to the new digs on May 8th, less than one month after returning to our mountain home.
Yeah, sure, we only looked at one house, total, before signing on the dotted line. But to be fair, we’ve actually had our eye on it since February, when a rainy day in New Zealand found us surfing online for real estate options in Missoula. We found it immediately: grandma’s house. A 1970s rancher that hasn’t been updated. Ever. It has wallpaper and a laundry chute and a carpeted bathroom. It’s a perfect fixer-upper for Rob, who loves nothing more than having projects to putter through. And the only home within our budget in the fabulous Rattlesnake neighborhood near downtown Missoula.
Why did we leap in and buy a house so fast? Well, Rob and I have been discussing the best way to keep our cost of living low while maintaining the quality of life we’ve enjoyed the past year. For us, the biggest monthly expense is shelter. We wanted to find a place we could settle into while not breaking the bank. Renting seemed like a less desirable option, since we’ve been homeowners for years.
Luckily for our budget, crewing on other people’s sailboats was an extremely affordable way to travel the world. We were able to use the money we saved by not buying our own sailboat to buy a new nest of our own. Sometimes I feel a little queasy about the fact that nest is landlocked. But having a lower mortgage will allow us to travel more easily when the longing for the sea strikes again.
We feel unbelievably fortunate to have found a new home. A place that we can rent out when we’re ready for the next big adventure. A place our soon-to-born son can toddle down the street safely, wander the woods at will, and walk to his grandparents’ house in a jiffy.
Now all we need is a vehicle so we don’t have to move our belongings via bike. Anyone in Missoula have an old car, van or truck they wanna sell? Give us a shout if so!
Here it is: the video for part two of our week-long motorcycle trip through northwest Thailand. This one features fly fishing footage from our trip on the Yuam River, guided by NG River Guides (partly run by Montana Fly Company). Check out the nice mahseer I caught. It also shows tai chi in the park, daily snapshots, and some serious twists and turns on the road. We rented the Honda Phantom for 500 baht/day (about $16) from Tony’s Big Bikes in Chiang Mai.
The video for part one is also below. Stay tuned for Bri’s next Mamalode article on how it felt to ride on a motorcycle while four months pregnant.
Last week, we put the two-and-a-half of us, one small duffel and our beat-up Panamanian guitar on a motorcycle for a week-long road trip in Southeast Asia. We were ready for smaller towns and some Thailand scenery. The 800 kilometer Mae Hong Son motorcycle loop has over 2,000 turns. Most of them are hairpin. It climbs and then descends an astonishing 1,000 meters (3,000 feet) in 20 kilometers (12 miles) … several times. We had planned to spend about five days on the road, but ended up riding for eight.
This video was made entirely on the iPhone using iMovie. It features Bri as the star during the first half of our trip, which included visits to Buddhist temples, birding at the highest peak in Thailand, and playing guitar with locals in the street.
Stay tuned for Part Two in a few days. Also, watch for Bri’s post next month in Mamalode about riding on a motorcycle while pregnant.
Sailing the Pacific already feels like a distant dream as we navigate the crowded streets of landlocked Thailand. This video from our first bluewater passage vessel,Llyr, brings back sweet memories of swimming and sailing (and, yes, a few seasick memories, too!). Well done, Island Reach, and thanks for the shout-out to Rob and me!
River ferries, food stalls, woks, kids, temples, bright lights, fast motorcycles, foreign alphabets. Bangkok has been a blur of activity and culture after the past year of our slow-paced South Pacific Ocean explorations. I tried to catch the vibe of Bangkok in this 60 second video. Check it out.
After a week in Thailand’s largest city, we’re heading north on the overnight sleeper train to Chiang Mai. Looking forward to seeing the mountains again, and a few adventures out of the big city. To see more photos from Bangkok, click this link to see our recent Thailand photo album.
This is what we do on the average Tuesday in Tonga. No, we weren’t on drugs, and no, this was not the result of a dare or a lost bet. We spent a week on Tapana Island with our new friends, Billy and Magenta, perfecting our band’s repertoire and running around the island in costumes.
It felt a lot like a “Glee” episode — someone would sing a random snippet part way through cooking dinner, and the rest of us would pick up nearby instruments to accompany the remainder of the song. We even wrote a couple of originals that might appear in later videos.
Fun, right? We think so.
If you like Riff Raff’s first music video, please share it. Spread the love. Send the barnyard animals and synchronized swimming scenes into the homes of your friends, so that they, too, can laugh at Rob’s amorous goat-petting and stylish swimming shorts. Enjoy.
Disclaimer: no sheep were harmed during the making of this film.
Why did we leave good jobs, a wonderful community and a comfortable lifestyle to sail off into the sunset? This video of swimming with mantas in Bora Bora explains why more eloquently than words ever could.
NOTE: This video is about five months late. But better late than never, right?
Llyr and her crew were halfway through our 33-day crossing of the Pacific Ocean from Panama to the Marquesas Islands. Specifically, we were somewhere west of the Galapagos Islands by about 6 days. We hadn’t seen any wildlife of any sort for a week — the middle of the ocean feels a lot like a big empty desert. We also hadn’t had a good rainstorm since we left Panama City.
First, the rain came one afternoon. Not just a piddly drizzle, but enough to go on deck and soap up, maybe even break out the shampoo. After the boys all finished their rain dance showers, I went up last to enjoy the freshwater blessing. As I reached behind me for a washcloth, I caught the unmistakable sight of a giant eyeball looking up at me from the water.
My brain flashed instantly through the brief image: black and white markings, smooth skin, big fin. My mouth took over before my brain caught up, screaming at full volume: “Holy shit! Orca! Orca! Omigod! Everybody on deck. Rob! Rob! Whoa!”
I saw Rob’s face look through the porthole toward deck with a terrified expression … and realized he was looking out at sea, as he assumed my screaming meant I’d fallen overboard. Repeated “orca” screams got through, and the whole crew piled out to the stern, where we got to watch this lone killer whale check us out. She/he swam under our stern several times, rolling over to look at us with a big, beautiful eye.
It was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had in the wilderness.
We didn’t see any more wildlife for over a week during that crossing. And I still had soap in my ears that night, since I was too distracted to rinse after the whale encounter.
We’ll be writing more posts about our underwater adventures soon. Meanwhile, check out this video that Rob put together. The music is from a jam session in our Missoula living room this winter … thanks to Cassidy Randall and Ali Soloman for their talent!
A fellow Montanan — and friend of our friends — Tyler Bradt is about to set sail across the Pacific on a similar voyage to our own. Only difference is that he has a boat already, while we’re crewing on other people’s boats. Oh, and also the fact that he has high-profile sponsors and partners 😉
Tyler is a famous whitewater kayaker and adventurer extraordinaire from Stevensville, Mont-ucky. Check out his recent interview on the National Geographic Adventure Blog, and the video below that explains his newest adventure: sailing the world over the next 5 years. Tyler’s answer to this question is almost exactly the same as ours would be:
Nat Geo.How did you pick your course? Are there places in particular that you are most eager to explore?
T.B.This is the hardest part for people to grasp. We don’t have a course! The idea of this expedition is to let it take its own course. By having predetermined destinations and exact ideas of what we are going to do only limits us and what our experiences will be. The idea is to allow this journey to find its own flow, its own route, and what we do and where we do it will be determined by decisions we make in the right moment and not before. This will help keep the boat and crew safe and allow our explorations to be limitless.
Hope to catch up with you in Tahiti or beyond, Tyler. It’d be a blast to sail on Wizard’s Eye and swap tales of Montana rivers while we cruise distant shores.