ISTANBUL, Turkey – At about four in the morning with no shuteye to our names, Brian and I were sporting some huge grins. Supremely tired, with the sun brightening the horizon and a lone rooster beginning his morning routine, we were still banging away on our keyboards. Six – no, make that seven – days into the trip in Puebla, Mexico, we were about to launch LongJaunt. An idea years in the making was minutes away from coming to fruition with the first round of posts. Publishing the first pieces from the road, we couldn’t help but say it out loud – “This is wicked.”
It’s a memory that will stick for a long time.
Since the beginning of the journey, we didn’t exactly know how long Brian Rogers would be on board. He was definitely in for the Central and South American hauls, bringing his expertise in Latin American culture and fluent Spanish to the table.
Four and a half months since we first jumped on a plane down to Mexico City, the day where we would have to say goodbye to him finally arrived. Straddling the divide between Europe and Asia, realities of the trip came down on the shores of the Bosporus River in Istanbul.
Despite having financial backing for this trip, splitting our monthly budget three ways became a near impossible equation.
Chomping on Burger King hamburgers at the Istanbul airport, our last meal with Brian before he headed, ironically enough, to Hamburg, Germany, where he hopes to do the expat thing and become a Hamburger for a couple months, the table was fairly quiet.
Perhaps adding credence to a cliché, but it’s hard for guys to express their emotions.
It was difficult to imagine that our companion for more than 25,000 miles and 18 countries, with his aqua green backpack and guitar in tow, would no longer be along for the ride any more.
Memories ranging from misadventures like walking with our Couch Surfing hosts in Mexico City to a gas station of all places for our second night on the trip to fill up an inflatable bed, partying it up at a late night aquatic concert on the beach in Brazil, to getting addicted to delicious açaí will forever have Brian as an integral part of them.
To be honest, working on the road while moving is a tough order, and having to say goodbye to a vital member of the team is going to make it tougher.
And without Brian, this project couldn’t have launched the way it did.
So here’s to you Brian, thanks for everything – the next taco in Mexico, glass of Gallo in Guatemala, ice cream in Buenos Aires, cup of açaí in Brazil, slice of Antonio’s pizza in Amherst, currywurst in Hamburg, focaccia in Italy, stroopwaffle in The Netherlands, kebab in Turkey, or whatever the local delicacy is wherever we meet next is on me.