Intro: Decompressed yet? The adventure continues

We are back from the Scott Fam Odyssey 8 weeks now.  After blogging and spraying about our trip and adventure every day for 5 months it was time to decompress/re-compress . . . let it soak in and as mentioned prior see what sticks, what resonates, how we are changed and (maybe more interestingly) how we are NOT.

I have some perspective.  Some, but it’s an ongoing process.  Lot of observations.  I promised myself and others to start blasting them out after 2 months not knowing what was in store wrt taking up our so called lives again as it were . . .

The mix of elation and celebration in the first ~2 weeks back was amazing.  Hugs, downloads, luxury of 1st world, sleeping, trying to get well (me) GI wise, etc.  And the mad wonder and fascination of the 1st world we live in.  It’s like adventure travel in reverse – we got so used to the se asia/indo program that being back in the U.S. was it’s own adventure travel zone.

Like all the best stuff I’ve learned and seen, this was not predicted.   Not good or bad just interesting.  I was in a travel fog at home!  Love it.  Reverse culture shock in full effect.

So many observations and questions and highs and lows, life.  I’ve distilled the relevant journal bits into 10ish observations (ok, some are opinions :) — around the first 8 weeks back, and by popular demand will spray em out over the next few days. Take cover.


Journal: Fri Jul 26. Home but still trippin’

Twilight Zone.  Planet Luxury.  

Are we really home or still in Asia . . . 36 hours apart


FW: Last day Kuta shot

We are officially “Home” but still trippin, between worlds, and so much of our reality/context is Odyssey not “home”.  We are here physically, but it is not the same as when we left, the full impact of things is settling in.

The day is a fog still of jet lag and culture shock and decompression and re-assimilation or something.  We have so much stuff.  We have so much space. We have so much “comfort” We are so secure. We are rich and live in paradise.  Planet Luxe.  I want less stuff.  I want simplicity.  My toyota feels like a Bentley.  My 3 bdr house feels like a palace.  High speed internet and business / professional life and all of what is next is jacking in.

I want to stay grounded.  My friends and family bring me to tears with each hug and smile.  We are so blessed.

Catching up with friends and family live and on the interwebs and things have changed but haven’t changed.  We’ve changed, but haven’t changed.  It is all still soaking in . . . we are on cloud 9 all around.

We live in luxe paradise.  What we take for granted daily is amazing.  How long until I take it for granted again. How long until I’m disgusted and bored at the same old/same old blase relative to daily adventure and discovery as a fam.  This is the challenge, make it balanced and right and present and real — don’t forget what we’ve learned across the board, build on it, keep it in perspective — above all tend to and keep weaving the fabric and take nothing for granted.

Journal: Thu Jul 25. Bangkok to Tokyo to HOME.

You can go home again (we think?).  Let the next phase begin . . .

And we thought we had a tough layover — here is how the HARDMEN sleep in airports!

photo 2.JPG

Love the scale of the Bangkok airport, you could put Truckee in it.

photo 3.JPG

Asia — where all the fifties live.

photo 4.JPG

Ahhh, cool clean waters of Donner Lake . . .

photo 5.JPG

3:30 AM double alarms in our last fam camping room, all bed and 4 of us sprawled across a queenjammedintoasingle.  I’m gonna miss it.

The blur and fog is on, but we get the airport and end up at our gate by 5am.  I’m ready to mission to change out last of money as possible (this kids have small money from all countries).  But of course we are at some “secure” gate area and I have to talk my way back out and not miss the plane.  I find the SCB Bank window and it says open and I’m kinda bumming cuz I don’t see anyone — right about when I think I’ll be toting $100 USD equivalant of random asian back to the U.S. (where it will be worth about, uh, nothing) — I start saying “hello” in Thai and generally braying . . . still nobody and I’m ready to seek another exchange but then suddenly a lady who has been fully racked under the desk appears, looking none to stoked that some dude actually wants to change some money at 5:15 in the AM.  Crazy/Idiot/Americans!!  Yah, that is me.

Of course part of the exchange involves a USD fifty, which is like the USD $100 in Asia, land of the $50, where all $50 bills go to die.  A FIFTY!  These thing are very pop here while we almost never see them in the U.S.

I make my transactions and have been smart about exchange and not getting overly jammed for the most part over these past 5 months — but my one shank is assuming the Lao bank would be open at the airport at 3pm on a weekday.  Nice one.  I have $50 in Lao Kip which is actually technically “illegal” to have and (surprise) everyone else thinks of Lao Kip like toilet paper so hey, I guess we have to go BACK!!

The flight to Tokyo is rad, we are steerage/miles tickets but have some bulkhead seats and personal screens and movies galore and coffee and well this is the last morning on what we think of as our ‘timezone’ and it’s just a good six hours all are still stoked despite the hour and entertained and it just works.

In Tokyo we actually have to change planes (same flight number !!!) and go through an hour of walking around and re-security and its fine to move and interact.  We board and roll but on an older (but giant and fast) plane 747 that unf does not have a screen per seat.  We are in famous per seat guru (always love it)  row 49 in the middle four seats together w/ a bulkhead and 40 inch screen staring us all down which will be cool (for when watching a movie) and suck (for when not).   11 hours to SFO.

It is 4pm Tokyo time and we are wheels up (2pm bangkok time) . . . the math on the days and hours and sleep and whatever I don’t care.  All I think is if we can get some rack and show up at 9:30am PST in SFO, cool!!  Not gonna happen.  Keira sleeps 3 hours good for her.  Megan maybe a smidge but me/Aili about zero.  I think a lot of it is that the crew is so stoked to see AMURICA!!

And we do, a beautiful bay area summer morning or sun and fog and crisp but pleasant.  Soak it in, breathe it.  My Mom and Hersh pick us up around 10:30 at the curb and emotions run wild for everyone.  I do literally kiss the SFO curb.  We are in a fog from the travel and timezones and just settle in and Hersh drives (on one HIP dammit!!).

I get a Peet’s on the drive, wow.  Doesn’t taste as rich/deep/strong/good as most of the coffee I’ve been drinking the last 5 months, but is undeniably packed w/ way more caffeine!  Nuts, for more exploration.  Half a small and I’m kinda wired despite being awake for 44 out of the last 48 hours.  Hersh and I skull a ton of stuff re the trip.  Amazing. Kids/Megan finally pass out.

I make it to Donner Pass and hit the wall.  A glimpse of Donner Lake and the Sierra’s and then I literally pass out for 10 minutes until we are home.  Wake up nausea.  I kiss the siding.  See the house and town and stoked but torched.  2pm.  We are all zombies and spazzes and the re-integration / decompression/ dealing / whatevs is on.  Let is come, don’t rush it or fight it or freak, let it come and happen.

I am in the twighlight zone, we all are.

I am seeing my “house and stuff” and mixed bag of feelings is going on.  So much luxury and comfort and stuff!!  But, so much stuff!!  This is the thing, we have not had much stuff, and this has been good.  Balance points.  Decisions to come.

The Allroad is dead battery.  I work it / jump it from the Sequoia and drive around for 5 min and then, dead again!!  I can’t get it jumped another time until 30 min later when about to give up sort the right contacts I guess damn.  So now it is running, I am not turning off. I drive to car shop in town — I run into Lacy at the shop (crazy on much levels, but just love the small town you are back program).  Mark is awesome, net is I have some time to kill w/ this car running.  OK, I roll w/ a chair and flips and boardies in the car all times, and this travel wasted piece of dusted garbage is ready to find god in the depths of Donner Lake so let’s plunge it up.  Ahhh . . . so good.  Yeah, that is my car running up there, I’m just a dude sitting on a dock doing lake plunges and playing w/ his (functional now!!!) iPhone and soaking it in praying that his audi car batter charges :)  The norms.

The evening and night go deeper into twilight zone.  We are all spanked and pass out at different times.  Only Megan is not up half the night.  The kids are wide awake at 2am.  I actually am too so we just get up.  I work on stuff, they play, at 5:30 we attempt more sleep.  All good, they know we are tripping, but also sense the luxery and richness of our surroundings and just straight COMFORT as way diff from the last 5 months.  The education continues for us all.  What day is it again?  Whatevs, the sun is coming up, that is what day it is.

Journal: Wedn Jul 24. Bali Day 9 –> Bangkok

Happy b-day Miss K. One more wave. The last Gecko and being TOGETHER!

photo 2.JPG

photo 3.JPG

Keira turns 7 today, of course I’m biased but what an amazing daughter I have.  How does she start her b-day?  By staying in bed until 8:30, alone, reading her book on the hand me down Kindle (my first) that we loaded up w/ her books yesterday.  She loves reading in the morning.  Reminds me of my bro growing up, images of him reading his book upon waking.  These are deep thinkers and feelers.  Feed your mind first in the day, then let the rest come. Readers = smart.  Love it.

Aili and I are up, of course.  And as became Bali tradition so many months ago, we make banana pancakes on travel days.  Use up what is in the fridge and pantry, have some good travel/gluten free food for the fam that at least we know what is in it (indo recipe usually equals rice flour, tapioca flour, butter, egg, milk, vanilla, baking powder, salt, — and then if hanging around cooked black rice?,  coconut cream?, peanuts? sugar? (from coffee/tea bars) . . . and always, random gear to cook on and with and whatever I’m going to miss the challenge I guess — somehow these pancakes always come out amazing, like food cooked backpacking or even car camping somehow always does too.  For the same reasons.

Now, this morning the birthday cake is of course (pan)cake based.  We will be on a plane to Bangkok tonight hon, sorry your b-day dinner will be on a plane and who knows what. And this is no normal travel, we are starting the trip home.

We wash some sand toys and make shapes from the huge pancakes for Keira.  Starfish b-day cake.  Megan scores a candle and lighter from our place (and 2 fresh eggs too!!)  The little things, amazing.  FINALLY the smell of the cakes and prattling of me/Megan/Aili pulls the bday girl out, and she is radiant.  We sing happy bday, put in the candle, and away we go.  As always the Odyssey instructs.  Be together, present, mindful, thoughtful, loving to each other and ourselves and it trumps all — the bday not about huge parties or presents or big expensive bday dinners — I might propose our family does this style for all bdays going forward, do it in the morning, do it simple, recognition and effort and time from loved ones over presents and money (including money thrown at restaurants or bakeries or whatever) — yeah more of Daddy’s goony rules formulating here!

We have time for a morning beach and surf session.  I roll down first and unf still pretty flat but whatever.  Actually get a couple nice waves right away and then the mother all dragon chasing sessions begins.  I don’t know when I’ll surf again — let alone in warm Indo style waters and scenery.  I really want one more wave and the ocean is flat and I am sucking when it rises up the sets are super far apart and time and energy are waning.  I don’t press.  And the last wave comes.  It’s an ok wave and ride, not the best but not the worst, and I cut back into the whitewash to take it to shore — and see Megan and girls standing on the beach RIGHT in front of me they’ve been watching.  It’s kind of special and cool for me knowing how many times they’ve seen me flail in the water or just heard me pout after some combo of bad session/being hurt/getting worked by waves/getting boxed out by big line up/wussing out vs. too big surf and/or scary reef and tides/dealing w/ boards and my bag stolen and blah blah!!) — just hearing Keira say “Daddy that was a good ride” and what not — having them see some of the progression and results.

Megan goes for a walk, the kids and I just sit in the sand and at water’s gentle edge. Then we do a couple final pics (shout out Megan for motivating and making it happen!!) and back to pack and travel — and the girls grab a final pedi/toe paint.

6 hours of travel has us at an airport hotel one room job in Bangkok at 20:30. A final night of family camp zone all in one bed (well, a queen and a twin shoved together)  It is dark and steamy and wet outside.  We are tired and worked.  The local Thai food is still delicious but all minds are on the 3:30am wake up call for a 6am flight in the morning to Tokyo then on to SFO where my Mom and Hersh are picking us up.  I scope “one last gecko” outside our room and know it is a sign.  The “this is the last gecko you will see for a while” sign :)

Will the checked baggage actually make it through the 10 hour layover / airline change / blah / blah?  Will we get to sit together on the planes in seats that don’t stink?  Will I be able to change money and get back to full USD at the right time / right rate? Seriously?  Who CARES.  Tomorrow we are going home. And we’ll be together.


Journal: Tue Jul 23. Bali Day 8.

Riding the Shai-Hulud. Give it away now.  INDO WARUNG.


photo 2.JPG

photo 3.JPG

photo 1.JPG

photo 2.JPG

Should have gone to Canguu break despite the expense and hassle just that cocky now on the surf tip.  Kuta/Legian zone finally flattened out, even too flat for me!! But still, the upside is many easy rides :)

Some big time work oriented dealing this morning but all good I’ve been focused that direction more rolling my “home” program now but subbing in surf mission for ski or bike.

We start the journey home tomorrow.

How do I feel?  Physical, mental? More to come, but well probably not exactly how I thought I’d feel.  I probably thought I’d feel like crazy rested or something.  That is not how I feel.  I don’t feel like that.  I feel pretty worked FWIW.  This has been the hardest mission I’ve ever done.  Done.  I actually had no idea that would be the case, that much of a knucklehead as now it seems obvious.  And I made my / our own bed, to be sure, but wow.

So, physically many things are good.  Large break from steady cycling or climbing or skiing is good.  Lot of yoga, core work, stretching, good.  Dynamics of the ocean and surfing — neutral.   This has not been a vacation.  Different set of issues going on :) Upper body/shoulder/back oriented.

And the mental to the physical . . . wish I could say “no stress” or whatever but just a change out of stress, different stress.

Know, the biggest deal is internal.  GI related.  5 months going on whereby things are not normal.  Plans in place to address when we get home.  Not unusual by any means but the bottom line is I am somewhere between IBS and a tapeworm and probably closer to the latter! Food is not digesting, the wasting diet has taken it’s toll.  Nuts.  Eat/drink more and just that much more bathroom time.  I’m just physically weak most of the time.  Maybe I just need to drink more Coke.  I am laughing as the best I’ve felt in 5 months is when I was drinking a coke at the end of Rinjani . . . damn I should probably listen to that.  All good, all part of the broader life/body hack and learning.  I’ll get better, it’s ok. Yeah, and I’ll continue the Dune analogy, I’ve ridden the Worm.  Ingested the spice.  The wave, the travel, the ocean, the family bonding and adventure . . . all there.  Safe, satisfied, fully enlightened?  Nah, far from it.  But come on the SPICE!!!

We package up a ton of give-away for our beach fam.  Awesome.

The surf is way down as I said should have gone Canguu but too late now and just mellow enough to make me even more cocky and I’m sure ready to get worked tomorrow the last day for surf potential for a while :)  Ahhh just the feel of riding the worm, the spice :) DUNE fans come on now.

I get a final Bali Massage $5.  Good one.  Legs are STILL not recovered from Rinjani a week ago, and shoulders are surf and stress torqued.  But happy for it.  Another send off.

And then finally, a fam warung final final and of course WARUNG INDONESIA where else.  This place really is amazing.   I will miss the food here bigtime, even if it contributes to keep me GI dusted.

So, tomorrow we start home, flying to Bangkok at 16:30.  Plenty of time for final surf and beach and pool and chill and manage the mold clothes/bag and what may come.  I won’t REALLY start thinking about the USA and the mission style burrito as big as my face until the 25th :)  And, most importantly tomorrow is Keira’s 7th b-day!  So stoked

And how are we going to finish this big beach/pool/doing it up work style day?  WAMPUM ZOMBIE STYLE!!!  Aili and I invented this a few days back and Keira gets into the mix for the first time w/ us . . . the near nightly dance party is a straight riot must keep it going and carry over :)

Journal: Mon Jul 22. Bali Day 7.

Old Surf Brudder. Beach exit.

Sand Fortress, IN HONOR OF GARNER (feel the shout out!!)

photo 1.JPG

Back to just us. Missing the Garner’s big time already and more tears from the kids.

Hit a crazy milestone of sorts — make our final hotel booking and (hopefully) having to deal w/ mad logistics thing (regarding our trip home in 2 days w/ a 10 hour overnight layover in Bangkok — hey we used miles!!)

Megan and I can operate like one now on this stuff.  I love it.  It will carry over I know and our teamwork/bonding/dealing capability I love — all sans power/goon trips just us getting it done.

We roll for (maybe?) the last true fam beach day?  Again the surf is good and consistent.  Of course right about now — like when we are leaving INDO — I’m starting to actually want BIGGER/LONGER/LESS CROWDED waves :)  Pipe down grasshopper.  But I’ve had my first surf dreams these last few days like just feeling rides — not as intense as my biggest ski dreams in terms of the sensation but wow  . . . it is muscle/brain memory of course.  Yeah, rides are longer, the wave selection better, the take-offs cleaner, the paddling easier/more efficient — like I’ve actually turned a pretty big corner.  Garner deserves a shout out.  My competitive jones and inspiration at him going for it at double overhead Mawi on Lombok (he’s 6 years older than me!!) and his “final oomph” suggestion (I knew this, know this —  but it did help having him ram it into my head on an observatory basis :)

Anyway, what can I say there are more good waves than peeps to ride them and I am dust after 2 hours.  In the meantime Megan and the kids have hit the beach and built a mad sand fortress.  Rivals the one w/ the Garners.  So awesome.  Megan goes for a big beach walk and we work on buffing it out and they want pics, and want to make sure the Garners see ’em, shout it out!!!

I’m already thinking about when I’m surfing in NorCal next, comedy.  I can’t say I turned into some kind of expert on this trip and was ripping 2x overhead barrels sorry far from it (in my dreams). . . but gasp it is nice to at least be in intermediate/improver zone and I’m laughing at where I was at 5 months ago, like all my prior surf experiences amounted to ZERO.   The wave is some dangerous drug yo.  Not gravity fueled, not petrol fueled.  Surfing is WAY harder than skiing or boarding or climbing or riding mt bikes or whatever.  To just be in the zone of being able to (safely) assess the ocean and break and paddle out and know what it takes to catch a green water wave is to me amazing.  For some, maybe not true.  For me, true.

Surfing is not chill/chillax.  Surfing is violent, aggro, aggressive, powerful.  To taste it there is no bunny hill.  Surfing needs power and skill and IQ.  The best make it look easy.  It is not.  Learn it young, learn it young.  Log the 10k hours and wave patterns and yeah it gets “easy” — all relative — but to think in 60 surfing days on this trip X 1.5 hour average surfing per day that is 90 hours of surfing I am making a dent for real at 42 years old . . . yeah less than the 1% required to be expert at something all good :)

The good news is you can make a dent.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be at the expert level surfer wise, just don’t know.  But I know the magical opiate of reading a break, getting out, picking/finding a wave, that magical planing take off, a clean pop up and down the line angles and bottom turns and even a cut back here and there and the green face/sweet spot :).  I am lucky, lucky, lucky.  Will I progress beyond this to major moves and/or balls to go deep in hollower and larger breaks TBD :)


Journal: Sun Jul 21. Bali Day 6.

Test of Strength. Chasing the (wave) dragon. Goodbye tears. 

photo 1.JPG

photo 5.JPG

photo 1.JPG

photo 3.JPG

FW: Bali Sand castle

Kind of a crazy transition day, we’ve been rolling w/ the Garner family the last 10 days and now saying goodbye.  But they are on a redeye so we have another day to rock it.

We’ve all moved into “our room” at 10:30am cuz these guys have to check out all good.  John and I get a late morning session in on the surf, clean and simple the GO we both love when solo surfing (a few bones in the shorts, and flip flops on the beach) . . . so clean, 5 min walk each way.  More awesome skulling for both of us on what is next, living, professional, fam.  And then, we paddle out and nothing else matters. The surf, the scene, the sort.  John is Mr. Outside.  I am Mr. Inside.  He’s on a 7 foot mega fish and only wants big long quality waves and rides.  I’m on a 6′ 2″ ‘fat’ shorty — happy to grab the inside program and really want more waves and frequency and little workable shoulders for a few turns are fine  And my NZ flag on beach takeoff spot  stll right it’s ok . . that peels for me, sometimes.

We are back by 1pm a couple hour super efficient session and we launch the lunch game and then hopeful for Revell nap in our kids’ room at 1pm cuz lord knows a red-eye awaits!!

So, test of strength on the bag we picked up yesterday and have stored for almost 3 months. Not surprising, but mold is running rampant through the clothes. The bag is dust, this is a duffle I bought w/ Will in NYC 15 years ago and it’s done.  Garbage.  So, the stuff in the bag . . . we didn’t/don’t need it on this trip (but for my freaking volcano Rinjani mission!!!) — really it is the stuff we overpacked and left behind when we went SE Asia.  There is some nice stuff, But just stuff.  So how will we roll.  TBD. More to come.  Our “comfy” place now is all of Garners baggage, exploded mold bag and clothes, 7 peeps, OK!

Megan and I end up peeling out for errands — including vinegar and big bin acquisition to try to treat moldy clothes — for me I am just stoked to go walk in this area w/ my WIFE, some 1:1 time, rad.  We sort, through rainstorms whatever, it’s ok . . . ATM’s, markets, here we go.  Megan has the bin and vinegar she wants to tackle a few super mold pieces and the net is crushes it.  Vineager is not cheap like $5 for a medium jug so wow, TEST of STRENGTH.  We skull it, a bag of moldy clothes.  All material stuff, can we let it go  . . . or can we, TEST of STRENGTH, right, actions louder than words. Can we let it go . . . Damn my favorite skull cap was in that bag!! Time will tell whether we are throwing all this stuff away.  I’ve already let it go, whatever is salvaged is a bonus.  We buy a huge duffel for $8 that we can quarantine the moldy stuff in and see what happens when we get home.  In the meantime Megan proves she can save some stuff, amazing, good piece of mind I think.

The evening / sunset surf and fams session is rad.  I am so tired that for the first 10 minutes it’s all good and a couple waves then just chasing dragon.  Conditions dictating at low tide a tiny take off spot, and it the eve and the local ripper crew is out off work or whatever and I’m competing w/ better surfers straight up but at least the vibe doesn’t do south it’s all good, it’s beautiful.  Right down to the final sunset w/ fams on the beach.

7pm the Garners are showered and ready to roll from our crib and the goodbyes are intense – for the KIDS!  Aili has a tough time — well we all do but she is just real enough to rock the tears (which continue on for 24 hours!!). John, Sylvie, and Revell really have had a super big and positive impact on our kids, just amazing.  I am not one of those guys who can ‘just connect’ with other little kids, but John is, and the whole departure for our kids is kind of rough.  We are all tired, it’s ok.  We are going home, in a few days, and it is back to just us.