The reality of people can be very different from the way they live in our imaginations...even when you see as much of them as you see on a medium such as Youtube. However, I feel very fortunate to say that we met some very awsome people that I would be proud to call my friends.
Jake and Craig of Orangegoblin82 were great fun to hang out with. Craig kept us laughing all the time, even when it was just pure sarcasm. Jake...while being the quieter of the pair, was also the mountain man of our group. He waded out into fast rushing, icy streams to collect wood for the fire. He was also the lead person on any hike no matter how treacherous. During the trip we discovered that Jake has backpacked alone to several countries. In them I found nerd buddies who always understood the wierd Star Wars and Scifi references that most people miss entirely. I also get bragging rights for defeating Craid in a no holds barred Star Wars Trivial Pursuit grudge match....lol. Both of them just left in the car for San Francisco airport and we almost didn't let them go....they are missed already. Oh well, at least they won't leave their underwear laying around the bathroom anymore or crow about the superiority of all things in the U.K.
Brad Froener aka ScottNeumann82 is another Youtuber who met us from our coming out videos who was inspired to do his own. He has discussed some very intimate topics in his videos dubbed "the life of a single gay guy", including the story of his adoption and arriving in America from with only single box of belongings. His videos always reveal a little more of his continuing journey through life. Meeting the real Brad was much the same as we shared stories of his home of Nebraska and what it means to grow up gay in a rural town. So many corn jokes went around the campfire I lost count after a while.
Our friend Wolfie cooked amazing meals that made the other campers look on in envy. We truly had the best outdoor meals I have ever had. Jake and Craig were introduced to smores which didn't sit well with Craig who went on about how they don't eat things like that at home....meanwhile Jake inhaled an entire bag of marshmallows.
To soon the trip came to and end and we had to take the long drive back. We said our goodbuys to Brad and his friend Ashley and headed back for home but our adventure didn't end with the end of our camping trip. We still had a week with the Goblins and Tom in California so we took them on a lot of day adventures. We took them to see our coast and touched the Pacific ocean. We went to local towns like gurneville and attended the gay parade there as well as hiking Armstrong woods. We went to healdsburg and had a lesson in wine tasting (something I've never done in all my years here). We went to San Francisco and saw Alcatraz, the Castro, an A's baseball game, rode cable cars and lots of other touristy stuff.
We finished with a trip to six flags marine world in Vallejo and had an amazing time. Craig hates roller coasters so we had to drag him on at least one I've never seen an Englishmen turn that particular shade of green...it was great fun.
But after roughing it in the wild and sharing our home with friends from Youtube, it was time for everyone to return to our everyday lives. It all came too soon. Our overfilled house now feels quiet...even with me and five kids in it. The orangegoblins, Jake and Craig, should be back home after their 16 hour flight. Brad and Ashley drove 29 hours to return to Nebraska, and Tom aka fruityteen09 is on a plane to Chicago as we speak.
I was surprised to have so much fun. I already miss everyone and look forward to the time when we can meet again. A meeting of internet friends can be funny that way, you never know what you will encounter. I feel very fortunate to have met everyone and made friends that I think will last for many years to come...unless the goblins read this, in which case they may sever all diplomatic relations....but for now we all return to our regular lives...I.T. departments, pastry kitchens, grocery stores, sherrifs depts.....and for me a return to regular blogging. but one thing is for sure....like all great travels, the experiences we shared have changed me and for a while I will have trouble getting back into regular life when I truly wish I could go back and do it all again....
until next time and new adventures....