Big Changes! Big Dreams! And a Peek at What We’ve Got in Store. A Personal Note from Nik and Dusty

[Posted September 23, 2021]

Hey guys! So we’ve been sort of teasing a big announcement for the last couple of weeks, and here it is. It’s finally time to let the cat out of the bag! A handful of folks – particularly family, friends, partners and some our neighbors here in the Texas Panhandle – know what we’ve been up to lately. But we’ve kept it all pretty close to the vest. It’s big. It’s exciting. Slightly terrifying. And now we’re ready to let everybody in. So here goes…

So. We are firm believers in the notion that life has a direction – maybe not so much a plan, so to speak – but a direction, a path, that the universe lays out for you. A path that guides you through the ups and downs in life and ultimately, into what may very well be your purpose. And if you make the right decisions, follow your heart, follow your instincts, and trust and have faith in that idea, or that path, then the universe rewards you with something fulfilling at the end. Something great. Know what we mean? Essentially it boils down to the idea that what you’ve done with your life – your experiences, your decisions, and the actions you take – are leading you toward something. The trick is to stay on that path, to recognize the signs along the way, and to stick with it, even though at times none of it seems to make any sense.

That’s deep, we know. But it’s that kind of thinking that we believe has led us to where we are now. And we’re going all in on it.

First and foremost though we’d like to say that Two for the Road is not going away. At least we really hope not. That’s absolutely not part of the plan. And in fact, we’d still love to be out there today, traveling to new countries, experiencing new cultures, meeting new people and shooting new episodes. And that was, and always been, part of our grand plan. Or so we thought.

Then came COVID-19. And everything changed. For everyone.

The pandemic has been extremely hard on us, like it has been on everybody. All things considered we’ve been very blessed to this point with the fact that neither of us have caught the virus (knock on wood) and that although several of our friends and family have contracted and suffered from the nasty effects of COVID-19 they’ve managed to fight it off and are, for the most part, healthy and happy today. So many people have had it so very much worse.

But we certainly haven’t been immune to the lasting effects of COVID. As you might imagine it’s been impossible for us to travel since the pandemic began some eighteen months ago. So it’s been impossible for us to keep shooting the TV show. And even though things are beginning to open up again to some degree as far as that goes, we still haven’t felt comfortable with the idea of getting back out there and shooting new shows yet, particularly given Dusty’s lifelong fight with asthma and Nik’s now 9-month ongoing fight against the world’s nastiest and most resilient sinus infection. We are both fully vaccinated and healthy and eager as all-get-out to start traveling and shooting the show again, but even today it feels as though it would be a reckless thing for us to do. We’re just not ready. We WILL get back out there. And the show will continue! But only when the time is right. And we’re fully at peace with that.

It’s complicated though, of course. Not being able to travel and do what we love has been absolutely devastating. Not just to our spirits and our psyche – which in itself has been a really, really tough thing to overcome –  but to our bank accounts as well. For the past many years we’ve been making 100% of our living from our ability to travel, whether it be from the TV show or from video production jobs we’re able to score on the side. And that income has vanished. Gone. Poof. The pandemic has been a painful and prolonged financial punch in the gut, just as it’s been for people and families across the country and around the world. And without getting into the gory details – and with every acknowledgement that so many people have been hurting far worse than we have – it has still been an extremely, extremely difficult time for us.

But that’s just the bad news. Like any storm, as they say, this too shall pass.

So now let’s get to the good news. And what happens next.

When it became clear early in the pandemic that our ability to travel and generate an income would very likely evaporate, we decided to do what so many other folks have done during this unprecedented and difficult time: pivot. And we have been using the last year and a half to chase a big new dream, one that’s actually been lingering and growing in the backs of our minds and the depths of our hearts for several years now. And one that we hope will not only allow us to keep doing what we love to do in a sense, but one that will also shine a spotlight on the part of the world that we so deeply love – and help make a positive, lasting impact on the little towns in our area.

We are off on a new adventure guys! As we mentioned It’s equal parts exciting and terrifying, but if we do it the right way it’s going to be an amazing, amazing thing. And we can’t wait to finally get it up and running!

So here we go. We are building our very own adventure tour company here in the Texas Panhandle. And we’d like to formally and officially introduce you to our new dream: the Saints Roost Expedition Company!

Sure enough! You may have seen it mentioned at the beginning and end of our season four shows, and/or you may have seen the few things we’ve posted on the SREC social media accounts over the past year. But the Saints Roost Expedition Company is 100% us. It is our new chapter. Our new dream, as we said. And it is getting closer and closer to reality with every single passing day.

The idea for this company began at least four years ago, in the thick of our travels for the TV show. As we adventured around the world we were extremely fortunate to have worked with literally dozens of amazing tour companies, operating in literally dozens of countries – from China to Iceland to Africa to Antarctica to all those incredible places in between. And as we shot each new episode in each new country, we made a conscious effort to study and learn from these fine companies and their guides. How they work. How they operate. How they design their tours. How they treat their guests. What they do right. What they do wrong. And most importantly: how can we take what all these amazing tour companies are doing, bring it home, and make it work here in the Texas Panhandle?

The concept for our company leapt from the idea stage to reality a little more than a year ago, when we made the decision to actually make it happen. In spite of the incredible hardships we’ve all faced since the beginning of the pandemic, the big silver lining of COVID for us has been the fact that it’s given us the time and ability to fully invest in this new idea, and to once and for all get it off the ground. It’s a ridiculous thing, really, the thought of building a tour company in the middle of a pandemic. But that’s exactly what we’re doing. And we’re so far into the process now that there’s absolutely no turning back.

And the really cool part? Despite the pandemic, despite any doubts we may have had, and despite the fact we’re completely new to this sort of thing… the Saints Roost Expedition Company is not only happening, its coming together in ways we never could have imagined.

Your first reaction to the thought of the Texas Panhandle being an adventure tour destination is most likely a chuckle, maybe coupled with a heaping side of disbelief. And we understand that. Most folks who drive through here see our part of the world as a big, long stretch of flat and dry nothingness. And to be honest, growing up here we were always inclined to agree. Probably safe to say we all take the places we live for granted, right?

But since we settled back here in the Panhandle roughly seven years ago, and after having the benefit of traveling the world and being able to put everything in clearer perspective, we have wonderfully re-discovered our lifelong home. In reality, and once you’re able to see past the whole “it’s flat and there’s nothing to do there” mentality, you’ll discover that the Texas Panhandle is a place of epic landscapes, abundant and amazing wildlife, and incredible and fascinating history. And being back here – and re-discovering our lifelong home through new eyes – has been one of the greatest joys of our life together. And we cannot wait to help you discover (or re-discover) our part of Texas through that lens as well!

Follow this link to a write-up here on our website that also appeared in our local paper the Clarendon Enterprise a couple of weeks ago, which talks in more detail about our plans and what we’re doing. Yes! We bought and are renovating an old Texaco gas station! Isn’t that crazy? And yes, through the Saints Roost Expedition Company we not only hope to re-imagine the tourism model here in the Panhandle, we hope to do it in a way that supports our small towns, protects our environment, and spreads love and appreciation for the Texas Panhandle around the world. Because it is absolutely deserving of that. And we hope to prove that to you!

As the article states, we hope to be fully up and running in the spring of 2022. But so much of our timeline and our ability to open for business depends on COVID. Not just a reduction in the spread of the virus, but an improvement in the overall supply chain as well. There are many things we need to get going as a business that we simply cannot get because they’re in incredibly short supply, which is incredibly frustrating but the way of the world these days.

In the meantime though, we are working. We are designing tours, troubleshooting, renovating the building that will be our first headquarters, and working with our team of local partners – all of whom have been incredibly supportive and enthusiastic about what we’re doing. And we will be doing some “soft” tours over the next few months to help us iron out all the wrinkles! So we’d love it if you followed the Saints Roost Expedition Company on Facebook and Instagram, where we’ll be announcing those soft tours periodically and inviting you – our guests – to join us.

As for the TV show? Again, the show will go on! Season five will happen, and we’ve already got some great ideas for where we’ll be going and what the new season will look like. But for the time being, our health and our new company are our priority. And once we feel comfortable getting back out there, rest assured we’ll be getting back out there! Because we sure miss that open road.

In closing, a personal note. We are so very, very grateful to all of you who have been a part of our journey these last many years. And we mean that. Traveling and shooting the TV show is actually a pretty lonely affair, and it’s been an honor and a great pleasure to have all of you – our extended family – keeping us company at every step along the way. We’ve never felt that we shoot the TV show for you – it’s always felt as though we shoot the TV show with you. And your support and love and encouragement has been the thing that’s always lifted us up and given us the motivation to keep going. So from the bottom of our hearts, thank you guys so very much!

So that’s it! In a nutshell. But holler if you have any thoughts or questions! And if you live in the Panhandle, drop us a line if you’re interested in joining our team as a driver and/or guide, or if you have ideas of your own for an excellent tour in the Panhandle! We have some amazing tours lined up already, but we’re always looking for new ways to show off our beloved home!

Otherwise, stay tuned as they say! And the next time you’re passing through this part of the world – or if you’re thinking about making the Texas Panhandle an adventure destination – be sure to keep us in mind. Because we would love, love, love to show you around!

Cheers guys! Love and hugs and happy and healthy wishes. More to come!

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. I LOVE your travel show and hope that you will be able to get back out there at the capacity you wish for. Like you…I don’t want your show to end. It is SUPERB!!!
    Best wishes for your new adventure. I know that it will be just as great or even better than your travel show on PBS! And if I lived in the panhandle area….I would consider it an honor to have you both serve as my tour guides because I know I would be enjoying the adventure to the upmost!!
    I enjoy what the both of you show on screen….your honest, truthful, and authentic selves in all those wonderful places on earth.
    So the very best as you start your new adventure. It’s gonna be a great thing!!

    • Hey Meg! What an amazing compliment! Thank you so much! I means more to us than you know. And please if you’re ever passing through the Panhandle and would like a tour drop us a line and let us know! It would be our pleasure to show you around! Thanks again so much, and take care. Cheers!

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