Musings, Tidbits About Us

It’s The People.

January 7, 2013

I was recently asked to name the most valuable part of our 2012 Round the World Trip.

I suppose I could’ve wax poetic about life lessons, changed perspectives, clicking puzzle pieces, and the priceless benefits of beyond-the-classroom continuing eduction…

…but before my mind could tie my tongue, the answer jumped quickly from my heart and skipped across my lips: “It’s the people.”

Me and my sweet little friend Andre…on Day Four of our journey.

While it’s true that we’ve seen and done amazing things this year, I’m the most humbled and grateful to think of all the paths we’ve crossed, the smiles we’ve exchanged, the conversations we’ve shared, and especially the new friendships we’ve grown during our pilgrimage around the planet…

When I was a kid, I read the book Orlando’s Little-While Friends over and over and over. The main character is a young boy who learns how to overcome his shyness and make “little-while” friends during his family vacation. As his confidence grows, he introduces himself to new people and experiences the joy of finding new playmates, interesting and different from himself. The bittersweet emotions of goodbyes are tempered at the end of the story when, as life would have it, the girl he met on the playground far, far away moves into his neighborhood and becomes a “long-time” friend.

Temporary relationships are part of long-term travel.

And so, too, are the seeds of life-long friendship planted in season…growing as they may beyond the limits of borders or timezones.

Our year-long Daily Travel Journal is now finished, and to celebrate I’ve lifted the list of People to Remember and shared the gems scattered below. I don’t expect anyone in their right mind to read every line, but it makes me infinitely happy to scroll through and ponder the riches of experience behind every bolded name…

Haphazard as the Daily Travel Journal itself…listed mostly in reverse chronological order:

{The U.S. of A.}

The blonde on the plane home to Portland.

Debbi the Christmas Day stewardess.

{New Zealand}

reunited again in New Zealand at the last-possible-moment after our 2004 Christchurch fun and whirlwind 2011 Stumptown foodie weekend.

, Paul, Nathan, Jared, and Cameron. (Photo with me & Lesley… Such a sweet chance to reconnect with an old friend.)

John and Helen and their girls.

Shonagh and Margo, friends from Lincoln Uni days (and Margo’s terrific husband Jonathan, who kindly took the picture), and a C1 Espresso breakfast visit at the front edge of the Christchurch earthquake re-build.

The Southland roadside worker in his short shorts, wool socks and boots, orange vest (longer than his shorts!), and a jaunty little Santa hat. Oh, New Zealand.

Erin and Me, making good on the long-discussed plan of a good New Zealand adventure.

Erin‘s parents Lynn and Phil: primary school teacher and sheep farmer, based for 30 years in beautiful and rugged Te Anau.

My parents, Cam and Susan, who joined us in New Zealand for the final leg of our trip…

Tim and Colette, our hosts at The Arrow; hospitable and good natured. Love that Colette has a one-year stash of Marmite squirreled away since the quake took out the Christchurch factory. It’s the little things that keep you sane.

Fly fishing expert Wayne and his endearing mom, Cheryl, at Te Wanaka Lodge.

Brent and Robyn; Kiwi smiles and a kind welcome to Christchurch.

, Colleen, Sian, and Brad. Family-away-from-home.

Patient fly fishing guide John and fellow teacher Aaron.

Cathe and Steve, our hosts at Brown Cow B&B/apartment rental, who sweetened the stay with plates of carrot cake and vases full of roses from the garden.

Mark and his tales from seven years roaming abroad before settling to run a cafe in his New Zealand homeland…

Jeremy, brewmaster, food-swapper, and fellow locavore selling ruby ales at the Ohau small producers market.

Airbnb hosts Kikki and David

Kelly Jean
+ Sheree (who could forget these fine Lincoln ladies?), and Chet, Weta-Water-Artist-Extraordinaire.

Diane and Rex: she’d been single and farming and spent 27 years working in youth ministry; his wife lost her life to cancer. The two met and married in seven weeks’ time, four years ago and began a new life together.

Fiona, Bruce, and Margy.

G. + family: Peter Jackson’s lawyer, soaking in Rotorua and headed toward Red Carpet fun in Wellington.

Mel, another inspiring friend from my 2004 studies and Christian Fellowship circle at Lincoln University.

Graeme and Katrine in Manurewa.

Peter and Bridget, my friend CJ‘s parents, who raise cattle and horses and share entertaining stories in Cambridge, New Zealand.

Pip, the polo playing farmer from across the way.

Maree, who wondered what side of the sky the sun rose on in our part of the world.

at Purangi Winery: Mr. million jokes and hour.

A pediatrician and cherry farmer from Oregon: wife from the states, husband from NZ, and their two teenage daughters.

My cousin, Sam, who joined us in New Zealand for a tour of the Coromandel and Nikau Cave & Cafe.

Keith the former footballer turned B&B proprietor; a living claymation character, if that makes sense?

Lovely red-headed Sarah from England and her baby daughter Florie.

Cathy, Laura, and also Francis, a fellow landscape architect who studied at Lincoln University.

and Hugh, gracious hosts at Tide Song B&B, friendly folk who’ve paid a visit to our homeland and proudly sport a Green Heart in Oregon sticker on the back of their car.

Prada Americas Cup team member and coach Franck and his girlfriend Perrin from France, and their friend Andi from Slovenia.

David,the cycling Dutchman!

Sue and the friendly bikers; the Turkish rider and his accounts of changing tides in his homeland’s government.

Brian, Judy, and Jeremy at work in the wool shed; Shanna and baby Harrison, serving up tea and sandwiches.

Philip and Anne, their daughters Emily and Kathleen and sons in law Sam and Frode.

Pauline, fresh from Canada for her sixth season on the sheep farm, and Margeaux, all spunk from Germany.

Jessica and Natalie from the U.K.

Clive, the Nikau Coopworth fellow there for his 35th auction, and Jim Peacock, auctioneer extraordinaire. ; )

Philip and Jim – two friendly kiwis from the country…

Di, founder of Elevate, and the cheery crew of staff, volunteers, and drop-in center participants at the program for the disabled in Auckland, New Zealand.

Shane. Peter’s parents and sister, Anna, and brother in law Duncan.

Maria and her husband and their little boys: three-year-old Matthew and two-month-old Connor.

Patricia and her husband, who’d just been to Corvallis, Oregon, not too long ago.

Rogan, Nessa’s assistant hearing dog. A good-natured charmer.

Fish & Chips with Jade and Nessa

Nessa and her cheery flatmates, Jade, Julie, and Peter.


B. our tuk-tuk driver. A former history teacher who couldn’t continue to support his family on the $30/month salary. He now works at a restaurant near the Killing Fields and borrows his boss’ tuk-tuk to make a few extra dollars. He apologized for his weak English and then proceeded to share his sorrow about how many important sites of Cambodian historical significance are not presently tended by the post-communist government. History teachers driving tuk-tuks and mourning for their country’s forgotten memories. Food for thought…

Jenny’s co-worker Chris and his shared love of travel and far-off places.

Na – the cutest kiddo ever. Nine years old and all fun and games. More than happy to help with the work, be covered in paint, then dive in the cistern for a quick lap-swim and rinse at the end of the job.

Yvonne, Ruby, Derrick, and Vishna.

Sam, Bob, Crystal, Sou, Som Aut and Srey Yinn at Foursquare Children of Promise.

Dinner with Jenny, Crystal, Bob, and Sam


Vanh and John, a couple from Laos and Australia working with the U.N. to help with local tourism initiatives. Also: terrific Lao BBQ instructors!

Arvin and Rafi from Toronto and four other bus-ride-to-the-falls companions: two friends from Spain and a couple from England/Australia.

Alex, Susan, Brett, Sara, and Erasmus. Kiwi, Kiwi, Kiwi, Swede, Swede. And these two charmers smiling from the head of the table.

The woman and her nearly-one-year-old traveling on our bus; made us miss our nephew Carson (the little Mr. Rydmark we haven’t gotten to meet yet!). The crazy driver who didn’t seem to mind copying Bolivian road skills. Fellow passenger Chris and his stories from around the world.


Nok, our kind and helpful hostess at Nern Chalet.

Our terrific Urban Adventures guide, Ly. Sok Khgang, and fellow traveler Narelle from Australia.

Yui and her husband Kwan and Thai Cooking School classmates from around the world!

Tosh, Vi, and Mr. X.

Peter and Alix from the UK and Thomas from Belgium via Singapore. Eager to chat flavor, culinary therapy, and Belgian beer.

Karen, Vivian, and all…

Terry and Nancy, who spent thoughtful time offering thoughtful guidance.

“Jimmy” from south of Oaxaca.

Olga and Robin, our street-food-dinner-table-companions from Portugal and Germany, with their tales of hoodwinked travel in China.

Ted’s new “friend” who was all to happy to sell a “real” Rolex for a few bucks, and said friend’s “friend” who got Ted’s old busted rubber watch in the deal… Shady times in Bangkok.

Across the aisle from us in Car 2, a few weeks into an extended trip and just married a month ago, Andy and Christina from Switzerland.

and Ric
(above), Felicity and Luke. Thanks again to Twitter for making the world just that much smaller…

Simon and Linda, resident international school principle and teacher who affirmed our choice in dinner joints and offered suggestions for our itinerary.

James and his brother Peter and Peter’s girlfriend Joyce: we swapped taking photos of each other in front of Wat Arun and ended up discovering common roots in Oregon. Love it when the world seems small.

{In Transit in the Addis Ababa airport: Ethiopia}

The couple from Indiana and their three newly adopted kiddos, headed, at long last, home.


Penny and her husband from Auckland, NZ: perhaps we’ll get to say hello again in a few months?

Emerson Skeens, Emerson Spice owner and man-about-town.

New friends who invited us to join their table on our night above the Stone Town rooftops: Sandy, Mike, and Laurie, fresh from life changing experiences on mainland Tanzania. Dinner conversation was charged with insights and challenges, reminders and blessings, perspective and passion. Perfect crossing of paths on another perfect night.

how could she be forgotten?

Ilsa from Namibia, Salama’s beachside neighbor, working on her Dive Master Certification and sharing stories of life and travel and new paths…

Niccolina from Holland and her boyfriend (never got his name! friendly guy, though); living and working at Bellevue for the season.

Sahim the littlest prince of the beach.

Andre, the Australian headed for Paje.

S. the teenage gardener.

Ahmed, our kind Zanzibarian friend who took us with him to the game.

Step, an American from D.C. who joined in for the soccer fun as well.

Saif and his nephew Nassir, the chillest boat crew on Zanzibar.

Daphne and Guillanme from France, visiting Zanzibar on their honeymoon adventure after hiking Kilimanjaro and spending time on safari in mainland Tanzania.

Alya, showing two Oregonians around while taking offers from businessmen and investors in England and Lebanon.

the genius farmer starting fruit plants in the soil underneath the dripping air conditioners.

Claudia (German from Turkey); Justin (San Francisonian!?), and the whole gaggle of payees jammed into our two touring vans.

Kevin, our dazed and confused taxi driver: cheerful and willing, but woefully lacking basic navigation and maneuvering skills. James, our greeter at the dock.

Jamal, our cheerful host on board the M.S. Babu (“Grandpa”).

German-American Kristin, and John from Switzerland.

The three (not-really-nameless, but nameless-to-us) Australians who chilled for a sidewalk chat in the shade and fueled Ted’s desire to drive coast-to-coast across their island continent.

Abdul, our friendly host, who quickly whipped out a smart phone to demonstrate his technologically advanced booking system. Third world meets 21st century in Tanzania.

{South Africa}

Clive, Antoinette, and Fezonah, who joined Susan, Aneen, Ted and me for our Servas farewell dinner in Cape Town.

Maria: Ugandan landscape architect trained in the U.K. and returning now to work in her home country, serving on the local council to help enact policy and management to govern new projects and development.

Ted and me with fellow Servas members Aneen, Susan, and Antoinette

Susan, our Servas host and the newly appointed Servas South Africa president, and her sister Aneen and daughter Christine. Susan and Aneen are both educators teaching Xhosa language studies in Cape Town, and we received a mini-tutorial in “clicking.”

John: a 1981 University of Oregon landscape architecture alumni now practicing in his home country of South Africa. Ducks around the world.

Aiden the South African landscape architect (who’d -unfortunately- been an Ohio State Buckeye!) who now oversees work at Oyster Bay Reserve.

Henry, Christopher, Themba, and Graham, local rangers working at the reserve: friendly and full of smiles and passion for conservation and tourism.

Doctor Peter Nilssen, head archaeologist overseeing work at Pinnacle Point Caves; another passionate professional bringing discoveries and education to the local community and the world.

Brett, cooking food and serving it to guests for the sheer love of it at the Veg-Table.

Shannon who opened Trogon House one month ago and is well on her way to building a lovely B&B business in the serene forests of the Western Cape.

The manager at Lombardini game farm. He’s busy constructing an entire Alice and Wonderland setting for the owners’ daughter’s wedding. Giant stone mushrooms. A glass-house-conservatory. Enormous beds of rosebushes… He regaled with stories of shipping microchipped South African plants off to developments in Dubai. He’s worked in Belgium and Germany and the middle east…and he loves calling South Africa home.

Kobus and Marietjie, our Servas hosts, and their friends Lydia and Hank, Johann and Susan. We sat round the table, listening to the six of them plan a grand road trip to Namibia. They’ve been friends for decades and still have endless fun together.

Lene, a South African clinical psychologist who’s just returned to live in Jeffreys Bay after thirteen years in the U.K.

, selling wares to support her family.

Caroline, the gorgeously, graciously, genuinely hospitable host at Brahman Wine Estate. Plus, her husband’s been to Oregon – so she’s one degree of separation from our favorite place on earth.

Robyn and Vivian at Teniqua Treetops: ex-technology-industry-professionals now conservationists and friendly hosts in the woods outside of Sedgefield.

Our guide, Steve; Dorothy (“not from Oz”) filling in for her granddaughter, and Chris – the crew at Eden helping make our visit welcoming and fun.

Kate and Vivian: preparing to sail around the world.

Gavan and Ally and their three young boys: Adam, James, and Michael. Gavan’s a renaissance man: running operations at Carmel while holding a black belt in cooking (not really, but kind of); Ally’s a Lego instructor (um, how awesome is that? Mother of three boys certified in Lego robotics, etc., etc. and teaching in the schools?); and the boys are shy and adorable. Ally was trying to explain where we came from – I heard it boiled down to the “land of Barney and Spiderman.”

Rhona and her lovely smile; she’d been traveling slowly from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town and serendipitously stopped in at Carmel and ended up staying for their week-long Celtic Retreat and then some…

So many names and lovely hearts from our visit to Kidstop: Katie, Phulama, Nadia, Leisle, Betty, Judy, Cornelius, Greg, Jacqueline… Jacqueline in particular: tall and thin, bright eyes, a ninth grader. Seventeen years old. Pink leggings, pink shirt, pink headscarf. Returned to school and working hard. Two siblings in tow; I wonder what she carries on her shoulders…

Marlene, who just launched her new salon business in the city of George. (Pictures + stories of her blue-eyed sweetie, 11-1/2 month old Earnest = too, too cute.)

David: YWAM Germany, printing press work, married at 49. Story about his wife Sarah giving Hellen Keller flowers on her visit to Port Elisabeth in the 1950s… Sarah’s deaf and can read accents while reading lips.

Esther and Richard from Port Elizabeth.

husband Peter and his songs of faith and stories of Pepsi Pools.

Barbara and me at Carmel’s garden grounds on the coast of South Africa…

Patrick, the friendly taxi driver. Note: when I originally arrived at Cape Town Station after dark on Friday, I asked for a taxi to my hotel, since it was a ways away and on the outskirts of town. The kind desk agent called a trustworthy driver. Patrick drove to the station to pick me up, took great care of me, charged a more than fair price, and came again to give me a ride on Sunday morning. Lesson from the road: when you find someone trustworthy and helpful, keep in touch!

The two women in pink (pink purse, pink hat, pink scarf, pink Blackberry cover) sitting next to me on the bus. Animated and talkative and oblivious, but having so much fun…

Brian and Mariana and their smiles and scarves and stories of work and life and Emmaus Walks.

Dean and Laurie and life in S.A.

Ric, our table-mate; former CEO of Mercy Ships Southern Africa and current consultant working in the world of finance, aid, and charitable giving. Excellent conversation on the ethics of responsible giving…

Mark, former Mercy Ship resident (small world at Carmel) and YWAM DTS’er; he’s middle-aged now and working to establish an African L’Abri of sorts, a spot for sustainable agriculture training and life-improvements for township families, outreach and ministry for kids, and lodging for guests and visitors.

Chris and his mention of friends in Zanzibar… Alan and his Irish humor.

Bev and Andre from Johannesburg, at Carmel to lead the weekend’s seminar.

Carol, Esther, Estelle
#2… (ready for a hike with Piers, Ted, and me)

Beryle, Andrew, Estelle, Barbara, Louis, Piers, Ellen, and Camilla.

Mavis, a guest at Carmel who smiles like Jane.

and Susan, staff members at Carmel who became terrific friends.

Nils, Maureen, Simoné, Svenja, Daniela, Jonathan, and Evelyn…

Orange-haired Jan and scissor-friendly Guy.

Martine, our Belgian guide at the Diamond Museum.

Alistair and Janine and their sons Matthew and Michael; Matthew’s friend Rochelle, and Michael’s friend Dean. A house full of stories and laughter…

Pauline, and Bronwynn and Chelsea, our friends for the morning who led us to meet the children and share joy in the simplest ways.

Wesley, our personal wine steward for the afternoon at Groot Constantia. Such a funny character, happily slipping us extra samples of this and that and telling stories of his years behind the counter meeting visitors from around the world.

Tia and Sonia, the two kind and friendly middle aged women running Beanz coffee shop and sharing herbal remedies.


Hussam and his stories of activism and water resource management. The wine tasting crew: J+M, Samantha, and Lindsay.

Zora and her world of food and language, travels and love of home.

The little orange-shirted boy learning how to run the till alongside his shopkeeping father. Intense eyes. Pride and uncertainty, both.

Nailah, Christine, Drew, and Cole. Fellow temporary dwellers in the city and companions at the Bread Republic table.

The smiling man behind the pastry counter, rooting for Sweden over England during the Euro Cup match.

Nick and his stories of Rio and too-trimmed-lawns and hope in light of the ever repeating patterns of civilization.

at 961 Brewery.

The jovial girls at the lunchtime stop who happily played pass-the-baby with Jane for the better part of an hour.

Georgina, our culinary school teacher and her motherly chastisements and humorous, mischievous eyes.

Phil and his Monk stories.

Fabio with roots in the south of Italy.

and Jimmy.

Lauren the baker of sweet black cherry goodness…

Emily, also from Oregon.

Lindsay and her love of good coffee and photography projects

Samantha: curly hair and fiery ways.

D. and her second grader, M., with his mastery of Greek and Roman mythology that would keep even my ancient-literature-teaching mother on her toes.

Wade, Megan & baby Jane.

Three lovely ladies: Megan, Madeleine, and baby Jane

Arrival in Lebanon: reunion with Jodi.


Lucas, the Cypriot airport vacuum operator, and his stories of “making” life in the village versus “buying” life in the city.


Roxanne, in her green dress and summer shades, welcoming us to Thessaloniki with stories of perseverance and optimism.


The short little man with a limp who served amazing food at the corner bar and his posse of servers, willing to work with sign language and iPhone photos to decipher our orders.


And his mother.


Mira, of course.

Ahab, an Egyptian transplant living in and running a beautiful hotel in Old Town Dubrovnik. He and his Ukranian wife immigrated to start a new life in Croatia after last year’s revolution…

and Ivana from Secret Dalmatia and Igor, the hospitable and ever-smiling fellow serving up cheese, seafood, wine and stories at his (loosely translated) “Club of Gourmands and Hedonists.”


Our sweet friend Anna: reunion in the little picturesque peninsula town of Sirmione, Italy.

Jennifer, an Australian Audrey Hepburn who led us on a private boat tour in Venice.

Our kind B&B host, a cross between Jerry Lewis and Robert De Niro.

and Alessandro
: we met Kinzica at Travel Bloggers Unite in April and were so glad to connect again on their home soil in Pisa. We hope to return their hospitality when they make a visit to Oregon someday soon…

Our early-morning goodbyes with Nick, “Master of the Blogville House”

Nick’s mom Karin, girlfriend Roberta, and hometown friends Davide, Martina, Mattia, and Giulia – all quintessentially Italian and genuinely cheery to meet. Alfredo the slobbery basset hound really stole the show, though, and now Ted’s convinced he wants one as a puppy upon return home.

and her friend Emiliano: we met up for dinner and drinks after our Lamborghini adventure and shot the breeze about sports and photography and Patagonia…

Alessio, our guide who is living his dream: working for Ferrari after visiting the museum seventeen times on his own before eventually being hired as an employee. Talk about passion and knowledge!

Blogville housemates  Angie, Kash, Jodi, and Jane (and Asgeir, Niccola, Vago, Michael, Bianca, Tom, Jess, Erin and Brett, too!)

Lucia and Alina, two beautiful women of Italy devoted to their land, their family, and their life’s work.

The pink sweatered Italian godfather and his hippie tales.

Patricia and Leonello, our B&B hosts…

and Laura and their stories of life and food in Italy and around the world…

A friendship on Twitter and a coffee date in Portland turned into a reunion and adventures in Italy with my sweet friend Kirsten.


Jason, who left Michigan for Normandy, France in June of 2011 and trekked the entire Atlantic and Mediterranean coast from there to here with nothing more than a 12lb. sack. He’s on his eleventh pair of cheap tennis shoes, he caries his two walking sticks, a tarp for shelter, and a tablet with solar charger. He trekked the Appalachian Trail and he started north from Mexico on the Pacific Crest Trail and stopped off in the Sierra Nevadas just shy of reaching Oregon. He plans to make it from here to the Pyrenees by May and then cut back across to the Atlantic to see what adventure is around the next corner…

The fellow who served us lunch and spoke bashful (but terrific) English…and Catalon, and Spanish, and French that he learned in immersion school and practiced with the local Senegalese immigrants.

Mike and Tracy, great friends from Oregon who invited us to join up and travel together for two weeks of springtime in Spain.

The bow-tied book store owner exclaiming with passion his praises for “incredible!” gardens in India, calling home for his wife to help him remember a name of a hotel, and running to the back of the store to look up the English word for “cabbage.”

and Taunesha, travelers from Oregon on the Barcelona walking tour, and M. from Portugal.

{Trans-Atlantic Cruise}

Orlando, our host in Cape Verde.

Our waiter, Wilner from the Philippines, who surprised us with his incredible knowledge of the Portland Trailblazers’ players, coaches, and news from the nineties until now. He leaves the ship to fly home this weekend; he’s been working out at sea for six months and his wife’s having their second baby girl in just a few days

the funny fisherman off the coast of Natal…

Rita and Felix and their stories of life in Ireland, the Philippines, and Delaware.

Vicki from L.A. who practiced Entertainment Law in L.A. (as past head lawyer for the Screen Actor’s Guild; I can only imagine!) before retiring and enjoying life with her husband.

Ray and Rita from Scottsdale, Arizona: investment funds manager/economics teacher and a retired middle school teacher with lovely stories of children and grandchildren.

a sweet woman who worked for Air New Zealand many years ago as a ticketing agent in Los Angeles. Her favorite route to fly for free as a perk of the job: L.A. to Honolulu on Friday nights and the easy return on Sunday evenings. Wells did his best to be enthusiastic about tea with two crazies from Oregon.

and Marie from Montreal sharing stories from their current trip around the world and long history of international escapades.

and Debora, an architect and a journalist working on the ground to revolutionize the social, political, and urban landscape of Salvador, Brazil. They showed us around their city as Servas Day Hosts during our cruise ship shore leave – I’m certain we had the best tour of anyone on board.

Tibero and Camilla, also Servas Day Hosts, making our shore stop in Recife tasty and memorable. Over a meal of Filet com Fritas – delicious beef and onions with fries, tomato salsa, and manioc flour – we shared interesting conversations about Tiberio’s work as a lawyer and professor assisting with non-profit work in Brazil. He’s been instrumental in working on changes to Brazilian law to allow for micro-finance development projects in the historically impoverished northeastern part of the country.

Sharon, Hugo, Ken, and Faith who recognized us from the blog.

Judy, the on-board history lecturer and Ted’s fast friend on the upper deck. All the Canadians on board! Elaine and Darleen, our coffee companions from Victoria, British Columbia. Josette, a friendly painter from Montreal and our kind wine benefactress.


Meeting with the current president of the People’s Central Institute, an organization serving the communities of Rio for over 106 years…

Ted with Diego, the kayaking Igazu Falls guide, and Jeremy from the U.K., (fascinating talks about the Falklands).

Jackson and Nicole, two newlyweds from Australia three weeks into their long adventure around the world.

Diego, our laid back tour guide and his stories of kayaking the river…


our warm hostess at Jueves a la Mesa.

Joe, the traveling Californian working at the hostel, sharing Toms Shoes history and selling dinner tickets.

My online friend Stephanie and her Buenos Aires expat boyfriend Chance; great company, intelligent conversation about Argentine politics.

Our football fellows: Dan, Sam, Jonathan, Adrian, Alex, and Alex two who joined Kaylea, Ted, and me for a night out to watch the Racing-All Boys match.

The grinning old man plunging papas fritas in a vat of oil, serving cones of fries and entire rolls of paper towels at the stand outside the Reserva Ecológica.

our landlady and owner of the stylish little shop, Mercado.

Our waiter: frizzled hair pulled back in a pony-tail, scruff on the cheeks, patient eyes, and impeccable timing.

The evening’s featured performer, Sabastian Prada, and the kind German couple offering directions at the venue.

Beatrice and Javier, and the retirees in Parque Lezama.

Mike and Stephanie, Tony and Meg, Leah and Leanne: Twitter friends turned real life travel pals.

Ande and Arial: met for cribbage on the rooftops.

Vilja, our charming Finnish conversationalist at morning cafe. Bright eyes, bright stories. Confirmation on the things that truly matter…

Our two smelly but kind fifty-something northern-Italian-cyclist hostel dorm roommates who would exclaim, “buon giorno” at all hours. Our park bench neighbor, the retired German who used to work for Lufthansa when they flew direct to Portland…


and Rocio, an incredibly kind and friendly Chilean couple we met on the trail. They invited us to join them back in Puerto Natales for beer at a local microbrewery, which turned into beer and food, which turned into terrific hours of conversation about life, family, work, and Chilean slang. Ian is a communications consultant focused on international development and Rocio is an Architect with experience in community resource projects; we were so impressed with their kindness and excitement for life. Connections like this are exactly what makes travel so impactful: in each of these conversations, our lives and our outlooks are changed, forever, for the better.

Anna and Alexander from Switzerland, David (from Chile) and Devon (from Colorado), and so many other kind and interesting people on the trail…

Erratic Rock staff from…Salem, Oregon. What a small world.

Adolfo, our Chilean Beaver friend. I’ve also dubbed him the Nate Currier of South America. Such a friendly guy; he did his masters studies in fisheries at Oregon State University in the 80s, and we had great fun talking college sports, Hood River, Mt. Saint Hellens, The Country Fair, and the Willamette Valley. He works in the commercial salmon farming industry and was just returning from business in Rome and Denmark. Fascinating conversation about the industry’s future in answering to rightful criticisms, improving, and going forward in a sustainable manner.

Pamela and Luis of La Casa Escondida – kind and generous hosts for our first night in Patagonia.


Our Bolivian tour mates – Pablo and Roderigo from Brazil, Saerom from South Korea, Alale from Spain/Iran, and our driver, Edgar.

Our dear host family, Rolando, Emma, Bell, and David and Karen, too, and volunteers Karen, Maria, and Liz.

Fiona, Karen, Karin, Marcella, Sonia (of Knitting Peace), and so many other fine ladies…

Our heroic taxi driver who forded raging flooded roads to reach Jupapina.

The Swedish polyglot running her newly-opened cafe, and our charming Australian companion on the ferry ride, a.k.a., Anthony Hopkins’ twin.


Mary and Jonathan, train ride conversationalists. Such fun hearing about their visits to Oregon, their life in Hawaii, and their travels to places like Kathmandu…

The Inca Trail/Machu Picchu family: our guides, Freddy, Jimmy, and Juan, and our trekking buddies Sam, Latitia, Felicity, Chenelle, Gabriel, Ryan, Justin, Sjoerd, Sarah, Michelle, Hans, Christina, Caz, and Kristin.

Ingrid, the charming French woman who married a Peruvian and opened a boutique handmade jewelry and vintage clothing store on one of the narrow streets down the hill from our place. Such a lovely lady.

Dadi, Ramon, Jonathan
and Andre, and their extended family, living in the outskirts of Lima.

Fernando and Fernando: a father and son from Spain exploring Peru together.

Anna and Eva, two German sisters retired and living in Lima after working around the world. Stories of Jewish life in Germany. Stories of outlasting Katrina in New Orleans. Stories of sweaty, sticky heat of central Africa and modern conundrums of Lima, Peru.

Anna, our first host of the trip…waving goodbye with a smile…

Like the children’s book character, I’m grateful for the little-while friends we met along the way. I’m grateful, too, for the long-time friends who cheered us on and for the new friendships that grew from chance encounters.

To those of you we met on the road: thank you for sharing your lives with us.

To those of you who kept in touch as we traveled: thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your notes and prayers and shared sorrows and joys and everything in between.

We are all travellers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.
-Robert Louis Stevenson

You never know exactly who you’ll meet when you step out the door…who you’ll see once and remember always or who you’ll connect with at life’s crossroads and end up knowing forever…

Whose name would you share when listing memorable people from your travels?

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Angie Away January 7, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    I LOVE this post! I relate to it so much… especially seeing this massive list of folks and experiences you’ve shared with them. It’s just… overwhelming and humbling to process. I’m SO glad you two lovely Oregonians came into my life this year! It’s highly possible I’m going to have to schedule a visit to see you in 2013 =)

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians January 9, 2013 at 11:57 am

      It’s highly possible that if that happens I might just jump up and down with joy! : ) It would be *fantastic* to see you again and share in a few antics ; )
      xx Bethany

  • Reply Bronwynn January 7, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    It was such a blessing to meet you & Chad, sorry Ted! hahaha
    Looks like you had an absolute blast on your trip and I have enjoyed my armchair travelling with you. Really an inspiration to us all. xoxo

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians January 9, 2013 at 11:58 am

      Haha, you know…it’s the people, not the names ; )

      So great to meet you as well, Bronwynn, and inspiring to watch the story of your new little daughter unfold. Isn’t it the best when our lives cross paths and we are opened up to entirely new stories of God’s goodness in other parts of the world?

  • Reply Megan January 7, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Great post! We’ve loved keeping up with your post-Lebanon adventures. Thanks for including us in this post! Fingers crossed that your future travels will bring you through Atlanta.

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians January 9, 2013 at 12:01 pm

      Megan, so, so great to hear from you. It’s a little silly to think of how short of a time we actually shared with you guys, because you’re such a big part of the memories! I bet Jane is looking so much bigger now… I hope you and Wade are very well, and I know that we’d love to see you again someday. Let’s look forward to someday sharing a cold 961 and a big bowl of hummus in Georgia!

  • Reply Cindy Buck January 7, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Not scroll through every one – how could we not? Although it was you who lived the journey, thanks to you all of us were along for the ride. To places we’ve never been but only dreamed of. You brought them to life almost as though we were there with you, with your words and pictures. We are all (I’m sure) so grateful. I hope you will publish the story of your year-long trip around the world so the people, circumstances and opportunities for the greater good will be spread. I love you both. <3 Aunt Cindy

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians January 9, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      You win “Most Dedicated Reader” award! : ) I’m so glad you’ve loved the stories and photos this year. Thanks for being such a great cheerleader! xx

  • Reply Liz Nichols January 7, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Heartfelt thankyou for taking the time to write and photograph your amazing trip. What are we going to do now..your journey has come to an end for now??? And yes I will read each and every story related to each people photograph and take it all in….your so talented how you almost paint the stories with your inspiring words…Thanks for sharing..the last two lines of your ending post are so true…kind regards Liz from Tasmania Australia

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians January 9, 2013 at 12:04 pm

      Liz, that means so much. Thank you for that. It’s been a joy and an enormous project to try to share even glimpses of our jam-packed year… So many more stories are still under the surface. I’m excited to share a few in particular in the next few months, so keep an eye out.

      Hope you are very well in Tasmania – what a treat it was to end our year in southern hemisphere summer ; ) Thanks for keeping in touch! xx

  • Reply Alister and Janine January 7, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    What a wonderful journey – thank you for sharing it with all of the posts and pics! What a joy to have met you guys and to have participated in a part of this experience! Ditto to the comments that others have left. May the foundations that God has built in your relationship – and probably tested a few times – be the basis for a life of unbelievable significance for His purposes and His kingdom!

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians January 9, 2013 at 12:05 pm

      Thank you to your family for welcoming us to South Africa with generous, open arms! Our ten weeks in your beautiful country were life-changing in so many ways… Much love to all of you! B&T

  • Reply Steve Whitty January 7, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    It looked an awesome journey. The people you meet along the way can enhance the experience. I wish you all the best for 2013.

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians January 9, 2013 at 12:06 pm

      And all the best to you in 2013, too, Steve! Thank you so much.

  • Reply Lindsay January 8, 2013 at 1:00 am

    Wow! What a truly lovely post and tribute to all of the amazing people that you met. Happy that I was fortunate to be one of them :)

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians January 9, 2013 at 12:07 pm

      The pleasure is all ours : ) So great to get to know you a bit, and to continue to get to see Beirut and your life and travels through your camera lens. Someday, we’ll have a great reunion over another delicious cup of coffee xx

  • Reply Kenin Bassart January 8, 2013 at 7:56 am

    What a brilliant post! I absolutely love this. For us travel has always been about the people, but you’ve put together an amazing tribute. Well done :)

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians January 9, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      Thanks so much, Kenin. I wish I had photos of each and every one of these people. I wish I remembered even more names. I wish that I possessed better words to tell the world how rich of an experience this year was… I’m grateful to know it successfully scratches the surface, anyway : ) This year has been full of so many wonderful gifts.

      Safe travels to you!

  • Reply Joel January 8, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    I love this post. And Orlando’s Little While Friends.

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians January 9, 2013 at 12:11 pm


  • Reply Maria | January 8, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    That’s a very thoughtful post. Nice way to end one year and start the next.
    Liked all the photos but Lynn/Phil: primary school teacher and sheep farmer, and Danny at the winery were my favs.

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians January 9, 2013 at 12:13 pm

      Oh my goodness, Danny at the winery was 100% one of a kind! My cousin (who was with us on the visit) asked me recently if I had taken any video of Danny. I’m still kicking myself for missing that opportunity. What a comedian… : )

  • Reply Sheila January 9, 2013 at 3:43 am

    I love that – it’s true, isn’t it? It is about the people when you travel, or even when you live abroad. That’s my response when people ask, why Botswana? It’s the people. The relationships, how those random meetings talking politics change your perspective. Great post :)

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians January 9, 2013 at 12:15 pm

      Absolutely, Sheila. That’s exactly it – and maybe even especially while living abroad and not just traveling through? The new faces that become familiar, the new people you lean on, the new friends you laugh with over (new) shared memories… I hope your new year in Botswana is off to a great start!

  • Reply Hogga January 9, 2013 at 6:20 am

    It’s true, you meet some really amazing people when you travel

  • Reply Stephanie - The Travel Chica January 14, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    I couldn’t agree more!

  • Reply Susan Buck January 19, 2013 at 8:07 am

    I am in awe of how the little things become the big things. You’ve mentioned so many “little” things over this past year that have all influenced you to do (and become) the big thing. I’m glad we read stories like Orlando and it encouraged you to write stories like these blog posts. Anticipating a new year of continued grand adventure and more thoughtful, joyful stories from wherever you are.

  • Reply judy Loucks April 7, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    I was surprised how many of these people I remember from your posts over the year. But hot dogs in Cambodia. Really? Welcome home and congratulations! Can you tell I am catching up on the blog?

  • Reply That time I was pregnant in Hawaii - twoOregonianstwoOregonians February 27, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    […] I reconcile so much with this thought: Ted and I were never guaranteed the outcome of our travels before we departed. There were many, many hopes and desires, many surprises and blessings, and more than a few rough roads, too. But at the very end of it, the very time when we were being asked what the most valuable part of the journey was, and how we could sum up the year, we concluded quite simply, it was all about the people. […]

  • What say you?