Toronto is busy with people and traffic jams, expensive food and even more expensive housing. It seems to have changed quite a lot in the time that we've been gone. We don't really like it.
We do like our friends though. We miss them so much and they make it all worthwhile. They fill the short time that we're here in the city. We're invited to lunches and dinners, and we see two, sometimes three different sets of friends every day. All the time eating, talking, eating, laughing. And eating. My waistline is expanding and I've already given my tuxedo measurements to my brother months ago for his upcoming wedding. I wish now that they had a draw-string pants option...
"Where are you guys from?", "How did you get your bikes here?", "How long have you been traveling?", asked nobody to us the entire time we're here. Our friends don't want to hang out with Neda and Gene comma world travelers. They call us up and want to hang out with Neda and Gene period. Neda and Gene, the same two people who left them three years ago. Nice.
Neda goes to Yoga classes. I jam with my old band. I even try learning the cello. It's very nice.
There's always room for cello!
We revel in everyone's company and catch up with each others lives. The last time we visited Toronto, only 12 months had passed in our travels. We'd observed no discernible change back then in the people and the city that we had left behind. But now, the trajectory of their lives had progressed much further, those paths yielding new jobs, new weddings, new cars, new houses, new human beings that didn't exist back then who are now walking and talking around us!
We used to travel on similar, parallel trajectories before our trip. But now comparing their lives to ours, it feels like that tangent, that fork that we took three years ago has led us further and further away from the direction that life normally moves here. We don't notice it at all while we're on the road, but this Divergence is so much more evident when we can see it in stark contrast to the echo outline of where our path would have led.
Being back here now is like putting on clothes you haven't worn in a long time. It feels so familiar, but yet it doesn't fit quite right. Probably because of all those damn lunches and dinners. Thanks a lot, guys... :)
My little brother Nick and his bride Diana, on their wedding day!
Our family hopped in a car and drove across the border. A little road trip to Illinois where my brother and his bride-to-be live. This wedding is yet another reminder that the lives that are connected to us are constantly in motion while we are away.
I am very honoured to be standing beside my brother while he says his wedding vows
Remember that needlepoint that Neda was working on in Europe? It's a wedding gift for Nick and Diana!
2 months in the making in 10 different countries!
I can't remember the last time I wore a suit!
Neda and I spent our third anniversary of our trip with our old family and our new family in the United States. It was a fitting way to celebrate, to still be on the road somehow.
I was in the wedding party, so Neda took over photographing duties!
Test ride back in Toronto. Contemplating a switch to Team Orange? Nah.
Our hectic schedule continued in Toronto. We've been corresponding with a few travelers who have contacted us through the blog and they were going to be in the area, so we made plans to meet up.
Where else, but at the most Canadian of motorcycle rendez-vous spots: Tim Hortons!
Stephanie left her life in Rhode Island behind in May 2014,just up and sold everything. See, we're not the only crazy ones! She's been traveling all across the US ever since on her Vespa scooter. She's dipped into Baja Califonia, Mexico and now she's crossed into Canada so we're giving her a friendly Canuck welcome. On this leg, she's traveling with her friend Davide. He's got his own motorcycle, but you wouldn't know it from the picture above.
And then another traveler from the US meets up with us!
Brent is from Virginia, and he's on a 12-day tour up to Canada, which you can read about here: http://lovinglivingadventuring.com/. When he heard we were in Toronto, he made a special pit-stop to see us on his way to Ottawa. We're overjoyed that so many people took time out of their travels just to hang out with us. We hogged a table at the Timmy's and chatted for what seemed like hours about travel, logistics and life on two wheels.
Stephanie gives us a sneak peek at future blog entries
I've been reading Stephanie's blog for a while. Because she's an illustrator by trade, she accentuates all her blog entries with a cartoon about her trip. She's done one for every single day she's been on the road, over a year's worth of drawings! So neat! You can check out her blog here: http://250superhero.blogspot.com.
We've met a lot of "digital nomads" on our travels - people with jobs that are location-independent, and are able to continue working while traveling. We've met accountants, translators, web programmers etc., but Stephanie is the first two-wheeled digital nomad we've met.
As we were all saying our farewells in the Tim Hortons parking lot, a lady in a car was backing out and almost ran over Stephanie on her scooter! OMG, I would have felt so bad inviting her to Canada and then having her long journey end right here!
Brent says goodbye as he continues his trip
There is a tribe out there. The people in this tribe don't all live in one place. Though they may be scattered all over the world, they all share a dream of wandering across the face of it, discovering all the beautiful and wondrous things in it. Once in a while you will meet another member of your tribe. You'll recognize them by the far-away look in their eyes and their restless disposition. And you will talk and exchange stories and inspire each other to dream of new places to visit, new people to greet and new things to experience.
Over 70 people fought their way through horrendous Toronto rush hour to hear us talk about our trip, they made us feel so special!
Our friend Ehren asked us to do a presentation about our travels. He organized the venue at the local BMW dealership and we were so amazed at the turnout! Some people in the audience traveled great distances just to attend our talk. I think we only had an hour scheduled, but we stayed for over two hours because everyone had so many questions. Thanks to everyone who came out that day! We had a lot of fun meeting everyone and reliving and sharing our stories with you!
Also a big thank you to all the people who read our blog, who have sent us an e-mail, a PM, written a note to us or commented online.
Thank you for being a part of our tribe.
[And now, back to our regularly scheduled travels!]