We’re only 20 days away from our final destination in Portland now and it’s amazing how normal all of the craziness has become to us.
Every day brings an entirely new situation with new experiences, memories, and hurdles, yet we’ve been able to establish a daily routine despite all of the chaos. Waking up at the crack of dawn (sometimes earlier), biking between 65 and 100 miles in all kinds of weather, cooking eggs in a microwave and sleeping on everything from church floors to trampolines has become our definition of a normal day. I’ve thought about the lives of people around us — our hosts, people working at the gas stations we stop at, commuters driving past us on weekday mornings — and how different they are from what myself and the team have gotten used to. While they are maintaining their nine-to-five work life routines or farm chores, it sometimes feels like we’re living on an alternate time line completely isolated from them. We’re pedaling along bike trails and highways while people in cars are thinking about coffee and their long list of errands to complete at work that day. Whether they own a farm in North Dakota or are studying in Chicago, their lives are stationary and so different from the “bike life” my teammates and I have been living.
But when I think about it more, our lives really aren’t that separate at all. What’s really cool about being on the move all the time is the fact that we get the opportunity to experience this vast array of lifestyles through our hosts. We’ve stayed with families on farms in Wisconsin, a student’s apartment in Chicago, several church basements, and more. It’s so cool to see what “normal” means to people in different environments across the country — there are so many ways to live life and it’s been fun getting to see that diversity. I’ve also been keeping note of things I like about how people live their lives so that I can bring those habits back to New Jersey with me. For example, a family we stayed with in Wisconsin makes their own yogurt rather than purchasing it at a supermarket which makes it taste amazing AND creates a better relationship between the family and the food they put into their bodies. I don’t own a cow so I technically can’t make yogurt completely from scratch at home, but I definitely intend to adopt the farm-to-table idea by purchasing food from local farms or co-ops, and making/growing my own.
Biking across the country has been such an incredible experience in more ways than one, and I can’t wait to live the next 20 days of it to the fullest. Thanks to everyone for supporting us of this crazy journey!