The Motorbike in the Middle of our Kitchen

Tomorrow in New York our family is telling a short story about our travels. Lots of weird and interesting things have happened to us in the 25 countries we have lived in over the past 18 months. Sometimes these serendipitous and random situations seem quite normal when they happen but then there are times when you suddenly stop and say ‘WOW that’s really weird!

Like a few weeks ago. We were driving through Germany with a motorbike in the kitchen of our 4×4 expedition vehicle. An olive green 1966 German Zweirad moped, to be exact, given to us by some lovely people at the semi-legal punk squat we were staying at, and my wife suddenly exclaims  . . “There’s a motorbike in the middle of our kitchen!”

That became the joke of the week and also the beginning of our story.

The reason we need a motorbike is because we are driving into very poor countries as we explore the world that God loves and try to make a difference. Our next big trip has us driving from Europe to India and all the interesting countries in between and then probably more of Asia before we turn around and return to Africa and Europe.

Motorbikes can be really helpful if you break down, run out of diesel, or need to get someone to the hospital quickly . . . like earlier this year in Morocco when our 15 year old diabetic daughter, Abigail, sliced her leg open in a freak blue-mud jumping accident where the Sahara desert the Atlantic Ocean. It was the same day I got taken out to sea in a rip-tide and scared the heck out of our 12 year old daughter standing on the beach.

This is Abigail, the world’s most adventurous diabetic kid. And this is our dog, Inigio Montoya, who was given to us at a hippie community in Spain and is currently staying with friends in Prague where our truck is stored.

Ahhhh  . . . but I should stop here because the story is already unfolding in this blog post and we are saving it for the dinner party tomorrow in New York.

Oh yeah its a small intimate private gathering and not really open to the public but our kids [and their parents] want to tell this story in other cities around USA over the next 3 months, as we go coast to coast. Already some people want us to come and tell it in their homes and so people in Atlanta, Montgomery, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Denver, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles should be able to hear our story.

The point of the story is not that we have cool kids or an interesting lifestyle  . .  although we do . ..  but rather that weird and wildly random things happen to those who choose to live a missional lifestyle, a life lived out for God and for others, and its those wacky, unpredictable, unforgettable things that make life worth living.

If you ever were curious about our family’s adventures, there is a family travel blog where my wife and kids occasionally write to. Its called because our family travels the world full-time like the Wild Thornberrys, and because the dad, Nigel Thornberry is a bit of a geek with a big nose and nasal voice and apparently there are some parallels with Yours Truly. In fact, I will probably finish up the stories with a short boring geeky summary about what I see is going on in the world around us and why I think we are entering a new season of involving whole FAMILIES in our adventures, and of sustainable social enterprises that makes sense and don’t cost the earth, and of a new breed of ordinary individuals and common families that live without an office or a home, but, through couch-surfing and crowd-sourcing, through following the wind of
God’s spirit, through making friends and giving gifts and throwing
parties, are able to change the world with their stories.

Something like that.

And if you wanted to sponsor our family’s tour across USA then some friends started a fund to help us get a vehicle for our furlough. But an even greater challenge for us to to get sponsors who will help us get across to India and beyond. We live really cheaply coz we don’t have a house and don’t have to pay rent or utilities and we avoid hotels and restaurants so the money goes further. But we still need diesel and food and Abigail needs insulin and test strips each month which can cost a lot in some countries. Tell you about it more another time.

Related: Tallskinnykiwi’s Top Ten Adventures in North Africa.


Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name "Precious" :-)

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