Home For A Rest

By Jane Mountain | April 5, 2014

12,424 km so far.

As I look around our slightly grungy fleapit of a motel room in the even more grungy border town of Aranyaprathet, I have to face facts.

I am homesick.

But I’m not homesick for home. I’m homesick for our camp stove; I miss our tent.

When we were in Europe, these two things kept us grounded. They made us feel like each day, no matter what exciting or bizarre or scary things happened, each night we would return home. No matter what patch of ground we found to set it up on, as soon as we were zipped inside the tent each night, it felt like sleeping in our own beds.

Home, sweet home, way back in Croatia.

Home, sweet home, way back in Croatia.

The routine of nosing around the local grocery store or market to find the right ingredients for a nourishing dinner was comforting.

mango sticky rice thailand

Home comforts from a restaurant.

Setting up our tent, laying out our sleeping bags, and spending the evening chopping and cooking acted as an anchor for our days.

Buy This Book

I recently got my first look at Bike. Camp. Cook: A Bicycle Touring Cookbook.

The author is Tara Alan of Going Slowly fame, whose trip around the world with her husband Tyler, and their web journals and photos, inspired our journey and our site.

The recipes and pictures are so beautiful, I felt a little like crying when I started to read it.

pad thai stall in thailand

We ate here because it was the only place in town to get an almost vegan meal.

I immediately wanted to try every recipe in the book, and I know I won’t be able to for who knows how long. If you cycle tour, or camp, or travel by sail boat, or just really want some amazing simple recipes to try out at home, you should definitely get Bike.Camp.Cook. It is breathtakingly awesome.


Now that we are in Southeast Asia, where a tent just wouldn’t make sense, we sleep in a new bed almost every night. Sometimes our bed is a comfy mattress dressed in sparkling white sheets. Sometimes it is so hard, we might as well be sleeping on the floor. Sometimes it is a lumpy monster, with threadbare and grungy sheets, like the one I’m sitting on now.

run down hotel in aranyaprathet

The Market Motel was probably really cool once, now it’s a little uncared for.

To mitigate this ongoing daily strangeness, we have subconsciously developed a routine to home-ify our surroundings, no matter where we end up.

As soon as we arrive in each new hotel, we unpack our storage sacks of clothing (Pack-It Specter™ Cube Sets) and set them out on whatever flat surface is provided. Then we dig into our clothing panniers one more time and take out our rolled-up Thermarest pack pillows. We loosen the toggles and shake them around until they puff up into pillow shape again. We drop them on top of the hotel pillow, so our heads have something familiar to rest on.

They aren’t even close to clean, but at least the dirt is ours.

Depending on the cleanliness (or lack thereof) of the sheets provided, we then find our silk hostel sheets and remove them from their carrying case. When they’re both spread out on the bed, I can pretty much forget about the icky-ness of sleeping on sheets and beds that have seen far too many bodies and far too few bottles of bleach in their years.

Next, I peel my sticky cycling clothes off and get into the shower. If the bathroom is nice, I take my time, making sure every inch is soaped and rubbed clean. If the bathroom is grimy, leaky, smelly, or all three, I get in and out as quickly as possible, doing just enough washing to remove the day’s work from my skin.

Then it’s laundry time. A quick scrub and rinse of the today’s dirty clothes means fresh-smelling, if not exactly clean, clothes to put on tomorrow.

After all this is done, we can kick back and get to work, writing and editing photos to share with you.

It might not feel exactly like coming home, but until we’re reunited with our camping gear, or we finally hang up our bike helmets, it’ll have to do.  

Want to see the route map? View it on Ride With GPS.


  1. Comment by Tara

    Tara April 14, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    You got pad thai from the same guy we did!?! That is so awesome!! Also, thank you so much for the glowing review! Mind if I quote you on bikecampcook.com?

    If I could do it all over again, I’d flipping bring our tent to SE Asia. We did have our stove, but didn’t use it nearly as much as we could have. I think if we camped, we’d cook, too. Anyway, next time, I will camp and cook my way around Asia. :-)

    Hang in there–I know exactly how you feel. Seriously.


    • Comment by Jane

      Jane April 17, 2014 at 6:25 pm

      Yes, the pad thai man is still there. This is really the first time in a year of travelling that we have been on the same path as you did, so we’re doing a few T&T activities here and there.

      Of course you can quote me on bikecampcook.com. Love love love the book.

      I’m not sure we’re hardcore enough to camp around Asia, especially in hot dry season. We’re showering like three times per day at the moment!

  2. Comment by David B.

    David B. April 8, 2014 at 7:36 am

    GoingSlowly and FiveAcres are, from my POV, the best cycling blogs I have read for a one day RTW traveller for showing us everyday life on the road! One day, one post must be so much work and good team work seem to be the essential way to achieve this huge task!
    Keep up the good work, always inspiring!

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane April 8, 2014 at 4:21 pm

      Thanks so much David! That’s the biggest compliment you could give us, since those Going Slowly guys are kind of my heroes. They really gave me the confidence to decide to go for it. I hope your dreaming and planning for your own tour is coming together.

  3. Comment by Kimberly

    Kimberly April 8, 2014 at 7:35 am

    I can’t imagine the feeling of your tent-home sickness and look forward to seeing the joy of the reunion between tent and Stephen/Jane.

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane April 8, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      Definitely an odd feeling, longing for a tent. Have to say, the guesthouse we are staying in right now is pretty awesome – much better than a sleeping bag on the ground!

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