Gratitude for Community

“We are called to be strong companions and clear mirrors to one another, to seek those who reflect with compassion and a keen eye how we are doing, whether we seem centered or off course…we need the nourishing company of others to create the circle needed for growth, freedom and healing.”
Wayne Muller

This month last year we laid out several goals we wanted to achieve, in addition to cycling around the world.  This is the 3rd of 3 posts in which we review the goals we set back in June 2012 and give an update of where we’re headed next:

Post #1 = Goals of “Continued Travel Blogging” and “Writing a Tiny House Book”

Post #2 = Goal of “Planned Breaks from Cycling & Coverage of Projects Important to Us”

Post #3 = Goal of “Digital Dandies & Creating Community”

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Goal :: Digital Dandies & Creating Community

First a review of “Digital Dandies” or changes and additions we made to our website.

 

Digital Dandies

As seen on our new video page.

We updated our Video Page and divided videos by category:  ‘Traveling Around the World by Bicycle’; ‘The Building of our Tiny House’; and ‘Community-Driven Events and Activism’.

We reorganized ‘Our Tiny House’ section by adding a ‘Tiny House Posts’ page listing our posts in chronological order, updated our ‘Why So Small’ page to explain our reasons behind building small, and spent a good chunk of time re-organizing our Tiny House categories so that others can find Tiny House specific information more easily.  We also started a Tiny House Newsletter, in which we’ll share information about our Tiny House build as well as our forthcoming e-book.

We added a SiteMap link to the footer of the website to also help folks quickly find what they might be searching for and we revamped our category list to be more descriptive and specific (found on right sidebar on journal page and posts).

We started filling out our ‘Galvanizing Hope Series‘ and ‘Turn About Series‘ posts which we now showcase under our ‘Other Projects’ menu.  We will be adding more posts to the Galvanizing Hope Series soon, as we’ve met a ton of every day people doing amazing things. So, prepared to be inspired!

And, finally, but not least, we updated both our Fundraising Page and our Sponsor Page, which leads me to the following update.

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Our Latest Sponsors

We are very excited to have recently received some fantastic donated gear and clothing from a few new (and one repeat) sponsors. Check out their links below and on our ‘Thank You’ page if you’re interested in learning more about them.

Ibex Outdoor Clothing

 

We’ve been loyal customers of Ibex clothing for years and we love that Ibex’s headquarters is based in our home state of Vermont. Not a day goes by that we’re not wearing at least one item of Ibex Outdoor Clothing.  We consider wool clothing essential for long-distance cycle touring but the main reason we support Ibex is because they are a socially responsible business. Most of their clothing has been manufactured in the U.S. since it’s inception & they boast a goal of 100% domestic production by year 2014. Ibex generously offered to replace our very-well-worn wool clothing at the end of 2012 and since Kai’s parents were planning a visit to see us in Mexico, several great folks at Ibex went out of their way to make sure they had a box of goodies for us when they arrived. Special thanks goes out to Ibex’s Keith Anderson & Jessica Moschetti.

Our Ibex clothing drying under the flowers of Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico.

At the March Against Monsanto in my RuuMuu.

 

 

 

My clothing must be reliable & durable and because of our extremely limited space, it must also be functional and lightweight.  When the time came to replace some of my original and well worn clothing, I searched for replacements from socially responsible companies and discovered the Made-in-USA Nuu-Muu!  I am in love with the classic styling of the Nuu-Muu and think it is the perfect piece of clothing for a global and active traveler like myself.  Since I received my RuuMuu (a NuuMuu with a handy5” deep and 4” wide pocket on the back) I wear it almost daily on the bicycle, off the bicycle and even as an impromptu swimsuit or nighttime cover-up.  I love the story behind how NuuMuu was started and I am inspired by their admirable business philosophy.

 

Italee Optics, based in Los Angelos, California, distributes high-quality eyewear, including the revolutionary 2.5 Eyephorics brand.  Kai purchased a pair in 2010, as part of his cycling kit, specifically for their lightness (2.5 grams!), their hardiness (they’re flexible!) and their comfort (no slippage, no pressure points!).  They seemed ideal for long-distance bicycle touring and Kai hasn’t been disappointed – he loves them!  Thanks to Steve Han, Senior Vice President of Italee Optics, Kai is now the proud owner of a generously donated backup pair of 2.5 Eyephorics.

 

Unique & plastic-free packaging.

Before I discovered Commando, I wasn’t the type of person to publicly discuss my unmentionables. But my Commando girl shorts changed all that.  I’ll be honest, I’m super picky when it comes to underwear, and since I’m most comfortable riding in normal clothing without padded undies or shorts (I can’t stand the suffocating feeling of those spandex diapers!) my underwear has to be breathable, durable and, for the love of all things sacred, comfortable. Designed and manufactured in my home of Vermont, USA, Commando is cutting edge underwear. With invisible edges and a nylon-spandex stretch fabric, commando feels and looks like nothing, but it is better than nothing.  Seriously comfortable (& sexy) underwear.  Thanks to Kellie of Commando for sending me off with snazzy bottoms in 2011 and for replenishing my supply in early 2013.

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SWISSFLEX eye glasses, made in Switzerland, are very lightweight and flexible, resulting in unrivalled wearing comfort and ensuring no skin-irritation or pressure marks.  Several people from around the world helped to secure a donated pair of CHAMP sport activity eyewear for Kai to use during our travels.  A sincere and special thanks to Mr. Caviezel, founder & CEO of Swissflex, for approving the donation, to Annika Aebli, of SWISSFLEX world headquarters, for coordinating the donation, to Raul Paredes, SWISSFLEX distributor based out of Cuernavaca, Mexico, for preparing & shipping the prescription glasses, and to Benjamin Garcia Ocampo, of Optica Scientifica, of Mazatlan, Mexico, for receiving and holding the glasses for us.

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Our Klean Kanteen bottles are extremely exposed and heavily used – quite frankly, we put them through hell and high water.  There were many reasons why we chose the Klean Kanteen Bottles in the first place: stainless steel is a safe, healthy alternative to plastic, BPA-free & leak-proof caps, the steel doesn’t retain flavors & is easy to clean, functional & large mouth openings, and they can take a beating.  We were very pleasantly surprised when Klean Kanteen’s Account Manager, Sarah Geyer, contacted us to find out how our bottles were holding up!  We told her we were impressed with the robust nature of the bottles but that we secretly coveted their new Classic All-Stainless Loop Caps, we fretted over not having spare gaskets for the lids (in case we ever lose or damage them) and we wondered out loud if Klean Kanteen’s upcoming 16 oz Stainless Steel Food Container might be usable as an olive oil container.  Within a couple of weeks we received a package full of all the goodies we mentioned above, plus a couple of their new silicone spouted sport caps!  Above & beyond Klean Kanteen.  Above & beyond!

Our bikes are loaded with Klean Kanteens. Stopping for the day to wild camp on a beach in Sinaloa, Mexico.

 

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Creating Community & Gratitude

We are inspired and awe-struck by the amazing community around us.  Everywhere we go we find enthusiastic and generous support from people we refer to as everyday heroes.  Not only does this strengthen our hope that people around the world are just as concerned as we are about global issues, it reinforces our sense of community and gives us motivation to continue making changes in our lives.  We want to highlight some of the people who have gone out of their way to help us over the last year (this is not an all-inclusive list & if we miss mentioning you here please forgive us but don’t doubt for a moment that we aren’t grateful for you):

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Basil & Alexandra from !El Tour bicycle touring company for helping us plan our initial route through Mexico & offering supportive words along the way.

Cris & Fred, for opening their home to us upon our arrival in mainland Mexico, for helping us navigate applying for visas, and for their continued friendship and valuable advice.

Cris & Fred

Cris & Fred

Sichem, for being a vibrant example of how small businesses can make a difference in how we treat the world, for helping us translate our Cumbre de los Pueblos video, for educating us about federal election and for offering us his friendship.

Sichem, owner of Suitel 522 Ecological Hostel

Sichem, owner of Suitel 522 Ecological Hostel

David and family from a small town off the Sinaloa coast, for providing us food, a shady place to rest and a wonderful afternoon filled with family and conversation.

Wonderful Family we met in Pozole?, Sinaloa

This smiling, gentle stranger, for waving us down on a brutally hot day to offer us fresh-from-the-tree coconuts:

Given a fresh, green coconut as a gift from a man harvesting.

Martha

 

Martha from Tepic, for reminding us that ‘family’ includes everyone around us, even those thousands of miles away that we have never met, and for being a great mama to the cutest little girl ever.

Jorge and son, for stopping in Nayarit to help me as I struggled with a flat tire in the dwindling dusk’s light on an extremely busy highway and giving me a lift to reunite me with Kai.

Maqui, unknown to us at the time, for pulling over in the evening’s rush-hour traffic and a torrential downpour to give us Bernardo’s phone number so that we could arrange to stay with Casa Ciclista folks while in Guadalajara.

Bernardo & Margarita (of Casa Ciclista), Dinner in Guadalajara at Marina's House

Bernardo & Magui

Marina & Ernesto of Guadalajara, for inviting us to dinner in their lovely home.

Marina's husband, Margit, James, Marina's son & grandson, Marina & Kai, Dinner at Marina's Home (Casa Ciclista Folks)

Ernesto, Margit, James, Marina’s son & grandson, Marina & Kai

James & Margit, for hours of endless conversation in Guadalajara and for allowing us to live vicariously through them (as we stay stationary to write our book) as they continue cycling the path south toward Argentina.

James & Margit

James & Margit

All the people who offer us smiles, honks, peace signs, thumbs ups, and even blown kisses as we cycle about:
Via RecreActiva Guadalajara
Chad & Toni, for warmly welcoming us to Ajijic, for providing us a safe haven to do our work and for supporting us with continued and countless acts of kindness.

Enrique M., a Facebook follower whom we had never before met in person, for stopping to verify our directions when he spotted us cycling on the way back from our bike overnight to an eco-fiesta.  Thank you so much for taking the time to stop and say hello.

Anna & Alex from Slow It Down Magazine, fellow global-sans-flying-travelers, for contacting us with supportive encouragement and for patiently waiting for us to finish an article for their e-zine.

Jesús López Vega, for making beautiful art, for your commitment to helping children find their creativity and for the multiple invitations to your studio to talk about art, politics, environment and life.

Jesús López Vega, beginning of mural

Jesús López Vega

Carolyn & Charles, for offering us a rental with a gorgeous view, for taking us out to lunch and for your continued supportive words from afar.

Carolyn & Charles

Carolyn & Charles

Hans & Suzy (Kai’s parents), for EVERYTHING.

Hans & Suzy chatting with Ajijic youth

Hans & Suzy in Ajijic.

Sara Satz from Ping Chong + Company, for allowing me to download a copy of  Secret Survivors (since we couldn’t order the DVD) to share with Kai, a gift we’re both extremely grateful for.

Ramona, who was vacationing in Mexico, and whom we met on the Chapala malecon, for sharing a ton of information about work exchanges and co-housing contacts around the world.

Ellie & Rich, for being awesome neighbors and helping us when we locked ourselves out of our rental unit (!) and for storing our food in their fridge in between rentals.

Doug & Gail in Ajijic, for helping us secure housing at the last minute & to Guillermo for providing us housing and being so flexible with our schedule.

Tom & Sue, for providing us refuge for a week and for providing guidance when we needed it.

Judy, for driving us and our rescued cat (now named Carlito & happily in his forever home) to the vet to get checked out.

Kai, Judy & Karlito (under the bench) at the vet’s office.

Dawn & Peter, for giving Carlito a forever home, for allowing us to cat-sit and stay in their home while they were out of town and for delivering emergency bike parts to us.

Carlito at his forever home.

Gabriela, for her friendship, for correcting our poor translation of our ‘letter of presentation’ in Spanish, for gathering last minute bicycle supplies and a computer replacement part for us in Guadalajara and then delivering it to us in Ajijic!

The amazing Donna M., for providing us much needed guidance and counsel at a time we needed it most and for couriering us important items from the U.S..

Martin O’C., a stranger we met on the streets of Ajijic, for sharing some book writing tools & publication resources with us within the first five minutes of meeting him.

All the people we’ve met through the Eco-Fiesta, the Ajijic organic market, the March Against Monsanto and the group meetings we attend for extending their friendship to us and for providing daily inspiration.

Corrine, Sheila and Ken for offering us accommodations with breath-taking views while we finished writing our book.

View from our ‘work desk’ at one of our house-sitting assignments.

Andrea & Bill, Ann, Dawn, Rebecca, Hans & Suzy, for helping us keep all our things in order back home in Vermont.

Tiny House enthusiasts and supporters, for offering comments, emails and notes over the years, for cheering us on, for joining us in embracing the simple life and for patiently awaiting the release of our e-book.

Einar M. from Seattle/Spain, Arturo from California/Mexico, Greg & family from Sayulita, Rolf from Finland and countless others we’ve met as we travel (again too many to list here), for offers of accommodation/camping when we cycle through their neck of the woods.

For all of you who continue to join us on this journey, through Facebook and our blog, to everyone around the world who left comments on our website or sent us private messages (usually when we needed it most):

THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!  

THANK YOU for being such a supportive community.

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