So here I am, approaching four months on the road- but wait, I’m in Illinois where we started…am I still on the road!? I don’t know right now, all I can tell is that it certainly doesn’t feel like home.
Let’s head back a ways…
The way I came to know Ryan wasn’t typical for me at all. He had come into the brewery I worked at, eating burgers and drinking beers after a long day of biking, and for reasons I cannot explain, I knew I couldn’t let him just walk out the door. For quite some time up until then, nobody had really sparked my interest, and especially not some customer at my bar with whom I’d had only a short, almost strictly polite conversation with. I believe the forces were in full swing that night…Or maybe they always are, but I happened to be open enough in that moment to let them in.
We met up days later, a few hours/a few days of biking away, and then I pursued him all the way to New Orleans. It was there that we spent a week together and first talked about the possibility of me joining him on the journey that he had already begun. I don’t remember hesitating, even for a second.
So our relationship took hold and planning for the future began. Months of scrambling to make money and getting my house in shape to rent, Ryan waiting patiently with me all the while, helping more than I ever would have asked or expected. There were a lot of loose ends to tie…This trip we were embarking on wasn’t just a trip; it was our life.
October came, 11 months later, and my house had been rented and my money had been saved. We had spent countless hours working on bikes and making sure I had all the gear I needed. We were ready. I, who had barely ridden a bike since childhood, was ready. There was a lot I was leaving behind, and I didn’t know exactly what I was doing, but I knew the idea was worth it, and I knew Ryan was worth it.
An enormous aspect of this adventure that excited me was the idea of writing it down, of feeling as if we could make a contribution by telling our story to the world. I wanted to share the practical side of planning and saving, because I want everyone to realize what Ryan had made me realize: If you want to do something, you can find a way to do it. I wanted to share the raw truth about the difficulties, and the emotional aftermath, because I don’t want people to feel as if when they go forth with their dreams that everything is supposed to be glorious and effortless. There is good and bad, there is desperation, there is devastation, and there is boredom. I’m extremely passionate about sharing the honesty of life…The problem is that I’m also extremely scared of people reading it. So I fell short on that along the way, replacing my inspiration with my desire to simply get through the day. Riding a bike all day and setting up camp is exhausting. Doing everything every day with the same person can become tedious, or at least it can feel that way if you let it. I let it. You have to see past the three-times-a-day “what do you want to eat?” conversations and the neverending logistical discussions in order to see the rest of the world around you. You have to put boring everyday life in your peripheral so that the fun or interesting parts appear clear and straight ahead. Everyday life will weigh you down. Focusing on all the other things is what keeps you light; you will not be content in this life if you are not light.
That’s the part I forgot. I forgot to express the joys and mostly expressed the pains-in-the-ass, and out of the expression of negativity came a restlessness and a false sense that my life was at an idle. Let me be clear, I did feel joys and appreciations and accomplishments, I just didn’t acknowledge them enough to actually talk about them nearlyÂ as often. So I grew heavy.
We made it to Morelia, MX before I decided I needed a break. It’s funny, the only time I had missed my bed along the trip was one night when we were in a shared room in a hostel in Nashville, and I went months before I had any real desire to visit home…but I only made it a few hours in Illinois before I decided I was ready to go back. The thought of being away was enough for the fog to lift. I was light again.
Home is great, and friends and family are greater, but there was a reason I chose to go off without them. The sense of partnership, that I had always wanted, and that I now felt, was greater than the comfort of home. I had been invited to share this vision with Ryan, and to build our lives off of a vision that we would come up with together along the way. I hope to find my way back soon, and I can’t wait to start again and to continue sharing each and every wonderful and horrible moment of it along the way.