So this is me ⇑⇑. I am writing this blog as a journal of my trip, but if you stumble upon it you are welcome to join me on this adventure. At the end of May, I decided to quit my job and bike across the U.S. Most people think this might be a little crazy. The first question that everyone asks me is,”What will you do for money?” The answer is: I have no idea, but I will figure it out. Actually, the first question from people who know me is, “What will you do with your boat?” For the past two years I have been living on a sailboat. If I could pull an 8,000 pound boat across the U.S. I would certainly try, but I can not. So, it will stay in its marina. Which brings everyone back to the money question. I will have to tackle that topic later.
Stage 1. Bike To Washington
Stage 2. Bike south along the coast to Sacramento
Stage 3. Bike east to Colorado
Stage 4. Sail down the Arkansas River back home
For now, I will be focusing on Stage 1.
My trip has been called different things. Crazy is the first one. Others call it a walk-about or a vision quest. My mom, has started calling it a bike-about, which I am starting to like. However, I just call it a bike trip.
I feel like I do not fit into the normal mold that our society creates. Finding a career, getting married, and buying a house all seem so strange to me. Maybe one day I will grow into it, but for now I want to run away. I want to explore. I want to meet people who think like I do, but also those that will make me question how and why I do things.
I am sure there are people out there that would tell me this is nonsense and that I should get a job and become a productive member of society. But I refuse the idea of living for the weekend and working to have money for the things that I need to be able to go to work. You need special clothes for work, need to look respectable for work, need to be able to travel to and from work, need a place to store the things and a place to sleep between work. And the work is required to make the money to pay for those things. It is a closed loop.
So, part of the rationale for this trip is for me to find a way to be a productive member of society. Or, to find a way to change society!
The other part of the rationale is the challenge. I long for challenges. My last name is Dare! For me, the greatest challenges are those that are both mental and physical.
I never had to try much in school. Everything came so easy in high school and I never really learned how to study. Even in college I could get by without much effort. It was not until I did a semester of Med School in Miami that I was really challenged. And my problem was not so much the material, but my mind wandering. I craved adventure and creativity. I missed moving on to the next semester by only 2 pts. I could have found another route to pursue medicine but I started questioning the system. Why pay $750,000 to be in school for 6 more years to become a doctor that has to work tirelessly for another 5 years before getting established. Sure I would have plenty of money when older, but even the older doctors I spoke to told me that it is not worth it. For me, the reward did not outweigh the cost.
Physically, I was never the best at anything. However, I was always the most determined or stubborn. In college I became aware that I could push my body to do things I never thought possible. I trained for mountain bike races, road races, crits, centuries, triathlons, and marathons. These races seem like physical events, but they have a mental component that can not be ignored. I pushed myself passed my physical limit on more than one occasion. There has to be a balance and on those occasions my mental strength overpowered my physical. I was in the best shape of my life coming back from the semester in Miami and ready to put some checks on my bucket list. I was training for a Half-Ironman and looking to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I also wanted to be one of the few people to complete an Olympic distance triathlon using only the butterfly stroke. I was on track for all of these.
In April of 2014 I was playing in a Hmong soccer tournament outside of Tulsa when I started having lower back pain. By the end of the third game I could barely move. After seeing a physical therapist friend I made an appointment with a spinal specialist. The doctor diagnosed me with Spondylolisthesis and recommended spinal fusion. The joints that held two vertebrae together broke and allowed the top vertebrae to slip forward. This put a lot of pressure on my sciatic nerve. Over the next few months I developed a severe limp and could only stand for short periods. After the surgery in December it took a long time for me to regain my strength. I had to relearn how to walk and run. It is amazing how much our bodies are on autopilot. Now, 2.5 years after the surgery I want to test my body and mind with a bike-about.