By Zach Watson
Editor's note: This corresponds with Alex's Thank You Blog below.
Those were our days, the days on the bus. I think back, now that it has been two months for me without bus, and I think about how incredible it all really was, how those stories will never be matched. Is there a way to ever top it? I think the answer is no, not in the way we did it. No mattter how much we struggled with it, we invented it. It was our moment. And the best part was sharing it.
The bus really started with just A&A and I on those streets of Quito, yes, but it didn't become the bus until the others rode it. I remember sitting with Alex and Alaena in the Centro Del Mundo Hostel at the infamous rum night and saying to the other travelers who sat around drinking, almost as an announcement, that we were buying a bus. In that moment, with the confused stares from the audience, I knew that what we were doing was different. It snowballed then after that, especially after we actually bought it. And we were never alone, even when the bus was broken last summer.
The bus inspired something in Matthias and Mike. They believed in it. They waited for us to figure it all out for a month while they could have been traveling, hooking up with chicks, and drinking beer. I know after they read this, they will say that they wouldn't have done it any other way (and that they still got to hook up with chicks and drink beer.) And I know they wouldn't have. They were just as much a part of it by that point as we were. But it meant a lot to me and A&A to have their never-ending support. Because in those days we really needed it, and we at least knew that two people were just as stupid as we were. Thank you guys for waiting, I told you it would be worth it. haha. Thank you guys for believing in the bus the way you did, unconditionally.
And while we waited. A&A were the real heroes. Trekking back and forth from Quito to Santo Domingo, test driving the bus around Ecuador, getting matriculas and number plates. Alaena with non-stop phone calls to Ivan and late night karaoke parties. You guys were the best. Really I think there might be something wrong with you.
Who does what you did? No one. No one goes to borders and bribes the guards so they can have more time to get a number plate for their broken bus. No one goes illegally across another border to find a cabezota for their broken bus in the backseat of some strange Ecuadorian's car. You guys were the operational nerve center of the bus, the bleeding heart. As much as Alex isn't a bleeding heart in any sense of the idiom, his heart bled for that bus. That made me smile to write. Thank you both for changing my life.
I feel like I am making a speech at a wedding...anyway...
Tom, thank you for supporting us when we needed beers those days in Quito and for your always appreciated words of wisdom. Oh yeah, sorry for bumming cigarettes off you. Thank God I quit. Please, Tom, write me a fucking email. I know you are in the normal world now, but even in the normal world people return emails within 3 months.
Marta,thank you for making me a happy man on three different occasions in South America. I know you dreamed of the Gypsy Train while your nose was buried deep in quantum mechanics, and I know that every second you could have been there, you were with me and even when you weren't you were. Plus, I don't know how to be alone.
Monkey, where the hell are you? Thanks for being a good dog and for pleasing Matthias sexually when he needed it.
T and B you rode bus. you love bus. you were bus. bus was you. I miss you.
Ben and Jake it's too bad you couldn't have bought the bus in Ushuaia that would have been a fairy tale ending to know that the bus would have kept going. Good Luck anyway. Jake I added your picture.
To the gypsies I haven't mentioned, Andrew, Lucas, Tor, Tabitha, CC Boom Boom, Nick, Kate, Karen, Kerry, Hilla, Charlie, Cesar, Mike O’Sullivan, Huburtus, Kate Weatherbee, Bacci, Roa, Hannah, Heather, Bianca, Carla, Chelsea, Johnny, THANK YOU!! Without the gypsy donations, we wouldn't have been able to move.
Also thank you Mom and Darrell and Dad and the Ginger and Brittany Watson for cutting my hair before I left. And Thank You to the other parents of the Gypsy Train who without you giving life to us and providing us with such great nurture we couldn't have realized the Great American Dream.
I don't want to forget to thank you, all of those farmers who let us sleep on their farms, those people who warned us when we needed to be warned, the mechanics, those helpful strangers in passing, and the farmer who gave us the fresh milk that time. Just to let you know, I chilled it later and ate cookies with it. Thank you.
If I have forgotten anyone...Alex and I did this together, so if I hadn't mentioned someone, it is because he had in his. And if he hadn't, then blame him.