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  • Writer's pictureCarlos Arroyo

Amie and Olli

I met Amie and Olli in 2013 on a Japanese cruise ship called Peaceboat (I highly recommend you check it out.) It's been a while now, but I think about them often. I don't know where they are currently, how to contact them, what their life is like, or if they're still together even. But I want to dedicate some paragraphs to my memory of them and how they made a big impact on my life.

2013 was a very peculiar year in my life. I was 27 years old and going through important personal issues that I was able to manage by pouring myself into work. When I say "manage" I mean "keep under control by not thinking much about them". Work can do that for you: if you become a workaholic, there's little time to really pay attention to what hurts inside you. On the flip side, making work your priority allows you to save money to hopefully at some point take a break and travel. Which is what I did. I created a travel budget and found a way to travel the world for a year. The first step of this plan was flying to Japan to get on the Peaceboat.

There is a lot to be said about how Peaceboat changed my life. But for now, and to add context to this story, I'll just say that it is a Japanese-based NGO that promotes peace education, disarmament and human rights around the world, and they do so by travelling the world on this cruise ship and invite international speakers and experts to educate, inform and even entertain the Japanese passengers. One of such speakers on the 81st Global Voyage were Amie Thao and Olli Tumelius, a young couple bike touring around the world, making connections and documenting people, stories and cuisines on their website: International Supper Club.

Listening to their story and sharing time and meals with them was very impactful for me. This was the first time I met real people doing some really amazing and cool things with their time and energy. By just being their kind, gentle and interesting selves, I realized that's what I wanted for my life. Their stories and personalities made their way into my subconscious and they became a big inspiration for some future decisions I would end up making that and following years. I never had the chance to tell them that. So this is what this is, a thank you note to these wonderful beings.

When I decided to take this Sabbatical I just wanted to take distance (went as far as I could) from my usual life and problems in hopes of gaining some perspective. And I can't believe how lucky I was to meet so many interesting people that informed and inspired my life that year. By the end of that trip, when my budget was dwindling, I found a cheap ticket from London to Mexico with a long layover in Anchorage, Alaska. I was in no rush, so of course I decided to buy it. This could give me some downtime to reflect on my trip before coming back home and a funny thing happened.

The place where I ended up staying in this random layover in Alaska had a bunch of cycling magazines laying around and I decided to pick up a couple of them. When I opened the first one there it was: an article on Amie and Olli! A year had passed since we first met and this re-encounter in Anchorage made it all come full circle. I brought this magazine with me back home as a reminder of that very special year.

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