My wife Peggy did not tell me, nor did I see it. So I pushed on oblivious to it. The discussion about her not being adventurous did not come up until after we came back to the states, out of which I learned how scared she was sometimes, scared and plainly stretched at the same time. After traveling around the world for over five years, she felt a very strong need to put down roots and not be dragged around anymore. (It took four more years and moving across the country by bicycle for her to dig in her heels.) Still she says she had “some very exciting times that she fondly remembers”. And she’s “glad we could travel relatively safely through such places” as Iran, Afghanistan, and the Sulus, when today even crossing the border between Malaysia and Thailand, as we did then, can be dangerous. Truthfully I had the adventure and became too engrossed in it to pay much attention to her.
The astonishing thing to me was how well she held up, which was sometimes very trying, especially when we navigated jungles with tigers, jumped from boat to boat, and went to places where people acted as if they hadn’t seen a white woman before. She was groped, touched, and had prayer beads flicked in her face. Yes, she survived: it had to have been a stretch for her. People back home would’ve been amazed. She amazed herself. It was fitting that she wanted to set down roots afterwards and surprising that she didn’t resent it more than she did. But perhaps, more remarkable than anything else was the way she always got along with people wherever we went; how she would relate well, extremely well, to people everywhere. It was as if she were trying to set down roots at each stop that lasted more than week.
I was as removed from her needs as I could be as I plowed ahead, often pumped, filled with adrenaline, always looking forward, determined never to backtrack. I was living a fantasy that I hoped would never end; if need be I was willing to pick up cans to keep going. It didn’t matter that I didn’t have a destination. The journey was what was important, and to justify it or confuse everyone, as if more hocus-pocus were needed, I’d say, “I’m crossing borders to unite the world and promote peace. As long as borders are open, we all have a chance.”
Yep, Randy Ford