We kicked off May with a lovely week and a half in Colorado. The first part was attending a Global Explorers staff training in Fort Collins to prepare us for leading expeditions to the Grand Canyon and China this summer. While Casey has led trips for the organization since 2006, Matt now gets to experience firsthand the inspiration of being part of it all as well.
We finished our Colorado trip by renting a house in Winter Park for Matt to celebrate his 40th birthday with some family and friends. Yes, May is “mud season” there, but it was an intentional getaway to somewhere with nothing to do except eat, drink, and be merry in the hot tub even as a late season snowstorm rolled in.
Mid-month, and back in California, we threw a farewell-to-us-while-we-say-goodbye-to-our-stuff party. After some late nights of detailed possession sorting, we set up an indoor yard sale with curated thematic displays and a silent auction for the major pieces of furniture. Matt’s last batch of homebrew, a porter with a hint of chocolate, was on tap and proved as effective as serving complimentary cocktails in a high-end department store in promoting a shopping frenzy. It was a bit bizarre to see people claiming our stuff, dragging furniture out the door, and trying on our clothes, all while simultaneously socializing, but ultimately the event was very successful. While the profits from our friends' generous shopping spree at our pop-up thrift store have been set aside specifically for the humanitarian and environmental aspects of our travel, we were even more touched by the surprise of a departing gift from our community of an essential modern day adventure storytelling tool: a GoPro camera!
Our last weekends at home were spent wrapped up in a three-day long Wilderness First Responder recertification course, then leading an all-day preparatory retreat in Oakland with the awesome students we will be traveling with in China. The packing was forced in to every spare moment in between our commitments and somehow it all got into the Uhaul trailer by our last day of work on June 10th.
Saying goodbye to our house, work, and community felt very surreal, and difficult to comprehend how six years had flown by since we arrived intending to stay just two. We were both ready and not ready for this moment, but there was really no option to turn back from the multi-staged departure that lay ahead:
Stage One—We drove almost non-stop from California to Colorado, where our dear friends Eric and Julie have generously shared a corner of their basement for our remaining belongings.
Stage Two—We flew to Wisconsin for a wonderful celebration of Grandpa Ivan’s 90th birthday and a fun and festive reunion of the widely-dispersed Fagre clan.
Stage Three—After returning to Colorado briefly, Matt flew to New York to spend time with family and friends while Casey flew to Arizona for an incredible experience rafting in the Grand Canyon with a unique and hilarious bunch of teens. The hike out from Phantom Ranch on the Bright Angel trail made for an epic day on so many levels—the beauty, the challenge, and the compassionate teamwork of the group will never be forgotten!
Stage Four—We reunited in the Marin Headlands once again for a few days of recovery and final preparation based out of our friends Pete and Lauryn’s house. More sorting, final packing, and the real goodbyes. Then, somehow, we were boarding a plane to Beijing and beyond…