Hiya Friends! What a crazy past few months it has been for us. Let me catch you up...
For those of you that have known us a long time, know that we have been doing public speaking since 2011 when we thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. After we returned home to Bend, we volunteered most of our time speaking in schools; elementary to college including alternative schools for troubled youth. Our motivation was to inspire others. Neither of us loved standing up in front of a crowd (especially as critical as kids can be), but we deeply believed that 'good comes to those that pay it forward'. So we shared our story. A lot.
When we began the next wild adventure, riding bikes from Alaska to Argentina, we were asked to return and share more of our story. As word spread about our willingness to speak to classrooms, it grew to include community centers, rotary, newspapers, magazines and TV. When we completed the ride, we were asked to speak on Princess Cruises and packed their auditoriums. When we returned home, we spoke for as many classes and audiences as we were willing to. I will be honest, it was exhausting for a couple who had been living two years on the road. But it was also incredibly rewarding! When a child would thank us for sharing our story, a teenager said we inspired them to begin living their own dreams and a teacher took her kids camping for the first time after listening to our presentation, we knew it was worth it.
Then, Ville and I spent last winter (mid-November to mid-January) riding our bikes around Spain. While we were there, an old roommate and friend, Darius, reached out and asked if we would come to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and give a presentation at their Gathering of the Titans (GOT) event this last April. Of course we said, "YES". What an amazing opportunity and an honor to be invited! GOT was a four day event; sun up to beyond sundown, invitation only and packed with a list of talented professional speakers. We were scheduled to speak on the last day of the event, the grand finale, which was stressful, but great for meeting and befriending all the attendees beforehand. What an incredible bunch of people!
Speaking at GOT at MIT was like taking the stage after U2, Bruce Springsteen and Adele performed. Nerve racking as hell! However, we just needed to inspire one person to make it worth it and we felt like we did just that. We had the audience laughing, cheering and crying. It was surreal. We were and are both unbelievably grateful for the opportunity to have been there. After the event ended, we took the train to New York and then Washington D.C. to see the sights. Upon our return, we were asked to speak again. A Titan who had heard us speak at MIT invited us to Vancouver, B.C. to speak at a conference for InvestX. There, we met more incredible people, walked around the city and walked under the Lions Gate Bridge (the bridge we rode our bikes over when riding from Alaska to Argentina).
From there, Ville flew to Croatia to celebrate his long-awaited 40th birthday with sixteen of his closest Finnish friends for five days. What happens in Croatia, stays in Croatia, right? Right. And after a reported fabulous time, he flew to Finland and spent a month with his family and friends. He spent time with his Mom, helped fix her cabin, traveled to Helsinki to see Hampton and then finished the trip with a visit from his Brother and his family. While he was there, I did many back-and-forth trips between Bend and Portland for real estate. I also flew to Los Angeles with my best pal, Natalie to visit my girlfriends, Dani, Kristyn and Kaitlyn. Dani and I use to be roomies in S.F and Kristyn and Kaitlyn are my kids I use to babysit growing up in Bend. L.A. is far too chaotic for me, but spending time with friends was a blast.
Then, another Titan invited us to Ocean Reef in Key Largo, Florida to speak at GOT Family Event and we met even more cool people and families. Since we began our speaking journey in schools, we knew just what to say to keep kids engaged. We stayed for the three day event; learned more about what it takes to be an entrepreneur, we snorkeled, played ping pong (Ville taught Rick a thing or two about how to be a champion ping pong player), learned how to paint, enjoyed a scavenger hunt on golf carts and made some great friends along the way. Each family set a goal to work on before all of us meet again next year. Our goal is to visit each family along my book tour next year!
Then, my brother, Jordan, and his now wife, Ami, got hitched! We are pretty damn excited for them. Our friend, Tim, gave us his place to stay in San Pancho, Mexico (what a great friend!) and we spent a week down there with Jordan and Ami a day before flying to Boston for MIT. Our good buddy, Marc, finally visited us from Vermont and we got to spend some long awaited time with Tommy Ford Teen Heart Throb Fan Club (Olympian extraordinaire). There was some Mom and Dad time, split-boarding time, niece and nephew time (Braydon and Skylar), sister (Lisa) and Sean time, Natasha visit, kayaking, hiking and a Kentucky Derby Party. We were busy!!
What about the Book?! I know, I know. I am sorry gang for taking so long with an answer to this question. Here is the scoop. I finished the book! Which is not the end, but the beginning of making it a published book. All along I had intended to self publish it. Then, I received four different offers from publishers to publish it. Exciting, right?! YES! However, I am now in negotiations with one of those publishing companies currently and will not know a timeline for publishing until we have a signed deal. As soon as I know a timeline, you will know it also. Promise.
What about Ville's Documentary? It is almost finished and he is waiting on my Book launch timeline to get it out into the world. As soon as we know when that is, you will know. Fingers crossed for us that things move quickly!
What about Speaking? We are for hire! If you have an event coming, hire us to come and speak at it. If you are a non-profit, please reach out and we will always make time for you as it works into our schedule.
What about the Next Adventure? Where are we going next? Well, Ville just got his new bike built and we are planning the next trip as we speak. Stay tuned to see where we go...
And what about me? We love you. All of you. Thank you for loving us, for following our journey, for spending time with us and just being your cool-ass selves. Please stay in touch, we love hearing from all of you. Until next time, keep on keepin' on ya'll!
K.G. & Ville
In New Zealand on bikes.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” - Hunter S. Thompson