As we pack our bags for Europe, the feelings of February 2020 come flooding back. We were in Idaho, visiting with family, storing our limited belongings into a cargo container, and preparing for full-time motorcycle overlanding. Our two mules were with friends in Germany, patiently waiting for us to arrive and load them up for the next adventure into Morocco, Africa. We had just barely reached the border of Spain when the COVID pandemic quickly changed things for us (and the entire world). Morocco closed its borders. Spain declared a ‘state of alarm’ and locked down the entire country for three months.

Two years later, we are once again in Idaho, preparing to return to Europe. Our mules are in Spain waiting for us to arrive, load them up, and ride them into Morocco. However a new concern is on the horizon. War. More specifically, war in Ukraine. Although the recent fighting seems to be isolated to the independent country of Ukraine, there is no guarantee that it will stay that way. Previous wars throughout history were started in a similar way. Who knows what the future holds.

Illustration by Ankita Gupta: @illustation.ankita

There are many moment when guilt creeps into my thoughts. Guilt for the luxury we have of traveling when there is such dark days for so many people all around this world. My heart aches for the citizens of Ukraine, the thousands of Russian citizens who are being detained for protesting the war, or the Russian military who go and fight their comrades over a false narrative.

A poem by Mari Andrew has been circulating around lately. I’ve modified it a bit:

I am packing my bike for a trip while a country is on fire. It feels dumb to pack, and dumb not to. It has never been this way, and it has always been this way. Someone has always clinked a cocktail glass in one hemisphere as someone loses a home in another while someone falls in love in the same apartment building where someone grieves. The fact that suffering, mundanity and beauty coincide is unbearable and remarkable.

Original poem by Mari Andrew

Our hearts and prayers to the people of Ukraine.

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