Hi everyone back at home! We are on our way to Saint Cloud, Minnesota from Minneapolis now and I’m driving for the day. This blog post is long overdue because I’ve been anxious to share my thoughts so far. Here we go:
As someone who values laughter filled smiles, daily reflections, conversations with strangers, heartwarming meals, dogs’ playfulness, and humankind, biking across America turns out to be just what I need.
You’d be surprised at all the people we talk to who are so eager to hear about our journey. Especially our hosts. They truly have been our respite each night, providing us with warm showers to wash the dirt off, hearty and accommodating meals, a place to rest our aching bodies, and stories of their lives and how they grew up. Each home or community center we enter is unique. Whether that be with chicken coops, giant handmade wind chimes, compost bins, camper vans, peaceful views, bird feeders, barn board staircases, ceramic mugs that mold to your hand, or wild raspberry bushes in the backyard. Everyday I am so grateful for their generosity and hospitality. The different ways they all live their lives inspires me and allows me to reflect on my own life.
Since my last year at college and graduation, curiosity made people ask me what I was planning to do afterwards. I would respond explaining how I’m biking across America, fundraising for a local soup kitchen and community builder while also raising awareness for different aspects of food insecurity. I did apply for a job while on this bike trip (thank you to TaeHo and SaraAnn for your laptops and everyone else for encouragements and motivations). But I’m starting to unravel the idea ingrained in our minds that we all need to go to school, get a job, try to hang out with friends when we have time, grow old, then die. Instead, one of the most common things I’m reminded of through conversations with our hosts or road ruminations (thanks Dan) is that fear holds us back from doing what we want.
A bit before this trip, I feared it because I didn’t know what to expect. I feared using the special bike shoes because I fell so many times and wanted to give up. I feared not being comfortable with the people I would meet. I feared having to rethink my morals and values (which I always do anyway). I feared not knowing what I was doing after August. Now, I still fear, but it’s combined with excitement. I’m going to continue thinking about what makes me happy and run with those thoughts. Or rather bike with them.
Thank you so much to our our hosts in the past and along the way. We couldn’t do any of this without you.