Lockdown Tales: Life On The Olympic Peninsula – A Year Later
Sophie DeGroot has worked as an Assistant Tour Director on the 2018 Tour d’Afrique, the 2018 West Africa en Vélo & the 2019 Bamboo Road. She previously checked in back in May, 2020.
One year ago today I woke up tucked into the mountains on the Baja Peninsula on day 30 of the off-road route called the Baja Divide.
This morning I woke up to snow collecting on the roof of my tiny house on a small horse farm on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington. While the last year of my life is nothing that I could have predicted, it has brought a lot of things that I’ve always wanted. I completed my Master’s Diploma in herbal medicine and spent my Spring foraging in the mountains near my new home. I grew vegetables that fed my community as well as put in hundreds of hours volunteering with my local food bank. I adopted a dog who stole my heart. And I slept 8 hours every night.
I also started working at a rare plant nursery in our small town. While the learning opportunities are endless, my favourite part has been learning the origin stories of many of our plants. A lot of them are native to parts of Africa and Asia. Finding their origin on the propagation tag can often bring back a swell of memories. A few weeks ago, while doing the plant shuffle in one of the greenhouses, I found a plant from Northeast Vietnam. It turned out that the owners had collected it from a mountain near the Chinese Border at Lang Son, the same one that I crossed with the Bamboo Road in 2019.
With every passing breath that perspires in my mask, I have become more thankful for each trip I did with TDA. The memories I have from trips in Africa and Asia can always bring a smile to my face. Remembering the fantastic places I got to pedal through is one of the biggest lights I have these days. I know I didn’t waste any time while I had it. I hope that when this is all over, you jump at the chances you want to take because you never know when you might be quarantined and missing the ones you didn’t take.