Joe and Erik

Joe (L) and Erik (R)

Joe (now known as “Pepe” to his Spanish-speaking friends) grew up in Wisconsin but moved to Minnesota for graduate school.  He was an orchestral conductor for 13 years, working with opera companies and orchestras, including professional, youth, and civic ensembles.  He loves to cook and bake (and eat) and read either non-fiction (like biographies) or classic literature (especially Charles Dickens).  Leaving a career in music was a huge emotional conflict for him, because he loved the people with whom he worked and of course loved making music with them.  But when Erik presented this scenario to him, even though it would completely eliminate any notion of a “comfort zone,” he knew that it was too special of an opportunity to pass up.

Before departing on this trip, Erik worked for a large financial institution (rhymes with Belle’s Cargo).  He grew up on a farm in Minnesota, raising cows, sheep, and turkeys, and participated in 4-H.  Straight out of high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force (hoping to find himself) and served in Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf War.  After the Air Force he tried a multitude of occupations including running his family’s fast food franchise businesses, attending auctioneering school, running an inn in a small town in Minnesota, and he even worked at the calling center of an organization in which he called people and asked for money.  Although he really enjoyed the excitement and the challenge (and his colleagues) of the world of finance, he still felt that something else was still calling to him.  In 2001 he spent five months in Costa Rica, learning Spanish and absorbing the culture, and it was that experience that kept resonating inside him – calling him back.





19 Responses to Joe and Erik

  1. jenn waite-kane says:

    Drive carefully and enjoy the Mexican holidays! As I said earlier, u 2 are in our prayers! Tell us some good stories as you go along…I’m sure there will be many! Xoxo jenn

  2. Don & Alicia says:

    We wish you good luck on your jurney and hope to follow you
    Don and Alicia from Nakoosa

  3. emil decou says:

    Joe, Erik I finally figured out how to do this! It was so wonderful to see you both yesterday here in Washington and I can’t wait to see you again very soon in the Northwest! Lets chat soon and make plans for San Francisco too!!! Much love, Emil and Leif

    • Joe says:

      We are so, so grateful for your generosity! It was a whirlwind, super-packed day but we loved being able to spend time with you both and seeing the maestro be the star that he is. Next stop: Seattle! (Did you find our calendar page?)

  4. Robert Crowley says:

    What an exicting journey. Matt and I wish you all the best. Stay safe.

  5. Hey guys,

    Wow, you started off with a bang! Now I have to drive to Wisconsin for awesome pizza! ha ha

    Safe journeys. I look forward to sharing in your adventure!


  6. Gordon Rausch says:

    Dear Joe and Erik,

    I look forward to following you on your adventure as it progresses.

    It has been my pleassure to get to know you a little and I do want you to know that I really admire the courage it has taken do what you are doing. I am sure that not only you will discover much about the people and places you will encounter, but also a deeper meaning of self and purpose.

    I know Joe, that the TC music community will miss you your special talent; you have given much and are so greatly respected.

    I was sorry to have missed your last concert at Como but had six friends arrive from Switzerland that evening. Pam told me it was a very memorable event. I also heard the sa me from many of my friends who weere there.

    Good luck as you begin this journey.


  7. Robin says:

    Hi Guys,
    I am so Excited for you both. I so am looking forward to living thru you on this journey. Also learning Spanish with you, Or you teaching me. I can get to the bathroom and exchange pleansantry but would love to be more flunent. Since Losing Mom & Dad I had sound myself in my faith, I so would love the opportunity to do what you are both doing. The lords work-offering yourself for room & board in return. Thats is it man helping man. What a beautiful message!! God bless you both on this journey. I am and will be praying for your safety and waiting for your entries. We will see you at your parents that weekend for our get together. I wouldnt miss it that for the world. We are going to camp that weekend at the Campground down the road from them. All works out great!! See you soon; Love you both Robin & Ken xoxoxo

    • Joe says:

      Although there is no religious context to our trip, we do hope to represent notions of peace and community. Learning Spanish is way fun. You should look into some free websites just to get started and then maybe take a class just for fun. Plus it’s great exercise for your brain.

      • Robin says:

        Finally Got the confirmation for the website notices!! It was coming thru in my spam box. So I probably deleted it and didnt see I wipe thru that pretty fast some days. Anyways So looking forward to this connection with you. See you next weekend!! Love ya both Robin xoxo

  8. Eugene Rogers says:

    I look forward to hearing all about your adventures together-it’s going to be great. If my plans work out, I hope to see you guys briefly tonight. Ciao!

  9. Jim Goodman says:

    What a great thing this trip is. Thanks for letting us travel vicariously with you!

    You may already have read this, but one of my favorite books is “The River of Doubt” by Candice Millard, which traces Teddy Roosevelt’s dangerous trip down an unexplored tributary of the Amazon in 1914. Of course Teddy spent much of his trip in a primitive canoe, certainly no apollo, but there could be other parallels with your own journey, except for the cannibal part, I hope.

    • Apollo says:

      Thanks for the recommendation! Apollo has added it to his Amazon Wish List. As much as we want to experience different cultures, we will do our best to stay clear of anything associated with cannibalism. Yikes!

  10. Steph says:

    I am excited to follow you on your adventure! You are much braver than I am! I wish you good travels and many memorable experiences.

  11. Chris Smith says:

    Good luck you guys! Wish I could go with you.

  12. Chuck Fullerton says:

    A great start to your website. Everything seems to work fine – hurray. It is going to be alot easier to say good bye with this up and running.

    Every day I learn something new. Today it was that Erik was a fan of “Battlestar Galactica”. Me, too. It was a creative twist on the usual sci-fi adventure.


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