Nels’ Notes: Currently Sedentary Shenanigans

Countries: United States of America

Miles Driven:  Parked outside Shoppman’s house, awaiting the push north to Alaska

Song of the Week: “There Is So Much More” –Brett Dennen

Book of the Week:  “Walden; or, Life in the Woods”-Henry David Thoreau

Walden; or, Life in the Woods: With “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience”

Quote of the Week:  “No, man. Alaska, Alaska. I’m gonna be all the way out there, all the way out there. Just on my own. You know, no watch, no map, no axe, no nothing. No nothing. Just be out there. Just be out there in it. You know, big mountains, rivers, sky, game. Just be out there in it, you know? In the wild.”-Christopher McCandless from the movie “Into The Wild”

We have been in Denver for thirteen days.  This is the longest our crew has been in one place in a long time.  Faces and places are familiar, there’s no longer a language barrier, and the food meets the needs of my simple palate.  The contents of the trucks find their place in the garage, and our packs occupy a corner of the rooms where our heads rest.  Two makeshift offices, one in the mud room where Shoppman works, and one in the dining room has Craig’s computer and mine.  To-do lists scatter the tables, and pieces of paper with names and numbers are in stacks on the table.  There is a lot to do, and a lot of money to be raised if we are going to depart on our goal of May 15th.

We’d really like to thank Club Vinyl for hosting our welcome back to Denver party, and to all of those that braved the blizzard conditions to support us.  It meant a lot, and I know everyone enjoyed being able to catch up with all the friends and family that were there.  Each crew member has been on this expedition in varying lengths, and I, personally, along with others know the effect it has had on many of our relationships.  The goodbye’s are hard, and the time between seeing each other goes from days quickly to months.  That’s not easy on anyone, and takes its toll, but most see our goal.

I’ve heard and been asked many times, “Why?  Why are you doing this?”  It’s a great and fair question.  We strive and try to make a difference.  There’s huge world out there filled with beauty, adventure and the unknown, and needs to be seen.  From the beginning, the expedition has been dedicated to showcasing the diversity of the people and the cultures of the world.  The intent of this journey is to generate, educate and promote awareness to challenge traditional beliefs of the global community via the road less traveled.  It is also the goal of the expedition to promote humanitarian, environmental and other aid organizations on a wide range of issues from USAID, to the Bulgarian Anti-Human Trafficking Initiative, to showcasing Eco-Tourism in Costa Rica.  This, in turn, promotes these organizations’ beneficial work to increase support, education and awareness of their worthy causes that otherwise would remain unknown.

Our means of travel also gives us a unique look at the world in which we all live.  The road enables a person to see the entire spectrum of what a place has to offer, and you can witness firsthand the triumphs, hardships and differences of a country.  It also gives a person a chance to combat misconceptions.  The danger of Mexico comes to the forefront, but merely relies on common sense.  A family isn’t going to pack up the van and say, “Get in kids, we’re heading for a little family vacation in Juarez.”  On the other hand, however, a mother wouldn’t say, “Alright kiddos, get in the Pathfinder, it’s time for you to experience South Central L.A.”  If you want to talk about danger, just send an email to the expedition’s own Steve Bouey.  He has successfully circumnavigated the world, and pretty much has been out of harms way.  That was until he went to get some food, right before our welcome home party, at Taco Bell on Colfax Avenue here in Denver.  It was there that he sat among the homeless people in the restaurant, just in time to watch a male walk in, pull out a gun, point it at the cashier’s head, and demand all the money.  We’ve heard all of these stories about the dangers of the world and saw nothing, but it wasn’t until we got into our own backyard that one of us actually experienced true danger.  One has to chuckle at the irony.

The road is a grind, as is the little break In Denver we have gearing up for our push north.  The current state of the economy is not conducive for sponsorship or donation, as we know, but we will continue to try, for our push to Alaska is the last frontier of our journey.  It will give our expedition the title of the first expedition ever to drive to the most distant reaches north and south of the 6 continents we drove on. This last segment will set our journey apart, giving us the uniqueness we need to achieve our ultimate goal, to change people’s minds about the realities happening in the world today.