I leave three weeks from today, and things are crazy.
First of all, I bought a new (to me) motorcycle on Saturday! Yup, I've been working on mine for two years and now I have to get rid of it. It turns out that Peru has a law where you cannot import any vehicle more than five years old because of emissions. My motorcycle is a 2003. So a quick trip to Warsaw, Indiana on Saturday and I bought a 2007 (Thanks Troy!!). I definitely have my work cut out for me getting the new one ready in time and getting the older one sold.
John and Emma came over today to take pictures for the Bucs Blade and the Tribune. It was fun as Jeff stopped over and we rode trails at his house. Emma's face was priceless and she sat on the back of a 4-wheeler trying to get the perfect shot. Those two stopping by inspired me to put in about 6 hours working on the new bike. I'm actually almost done!! I did discover the choke cable is stuck, one more thing to fix...
I still have a million little things to do, but the major pieces are in place. My house is rented for the year. I have been granted a leave of absence. Plane tickets have been purchased and the shipping is all set. I also have been trying to spend as much time as possible with family and friends, which has been great.
Yesterday and today I presented at Rotary Club's two weekly meetings. I showed a powerpoint summarizing the trip and highlighting the Sacred Valley Project. Monday I received the biggest surprise imaginable. Grand Haven Rotary named me as a Paul Harris Fellow!!! This is a big deal. I am so humbled and honored to be recognized by a group that I hold with such respect. When I wear the pin during my journey, people will recognize it and I can build connections. This is amazing. Also, many Rotarians gave me advice and information about possible connections. I really feel supported by my community, now I have extra incentive to actually make it through the entire journey!!
Now is a good time to mention that if you haven't watched the girl effect video I highly recommend it. I have been reading research on the effects of education on girls in developing countries and the results are astounding. I think so highly of the mission of the SVP and can't wait to get to know the girls better and help them with their education. I have a stack of six TI-85 graphing calculators I am bringing. I think they will enjoy learning how to use them. (Okay, as much as anyone can enjoy math.) My students also suggested I bring some scratch and sniff stickers, good call!!
My highlight of the day today was the fundraiser that Interact students (mostly Kira and Lauren) did. They sold HOT KOOLAID at all three lunches. It was a big hit, of course.
At this point I need to really reach down and think about what lies ahead. I can't believe what I have planned for myself, but at the same time I am excited for all of the possibilities. Most people's reactions are about 50/50 so far. For every person excited about the plans, there is someone who is certain I am going to die. It kind of messes with your head a little bit. I do understand there are risks, and I want to be as responsible and safe as possible. Maybe this is a good time to clarify.
These are NOT reasons why I am planning this trip:
1) It is on my bucket list.
2) I have a traveling itch.
3) I seek adventure.
4) I am a natural risk-taker.
But, at the end of the day, it is all still just plans. After last week discovering that I couldn't ship my old bike to Peru, I am now expecting anything to go wrong. Let's just see if I can actually make it to Peru with a motorcycle in tow...