On July 4, 2013, as a college drop out, shortly into my 20th year, I set off alone from my parents home in Oregon, on my bicycle loaded down with 80 pounds of gear, to find a future for myself somewhere in the process of visiting the country. I visited 29 states over 6 months, going as far as Maine and Florida. The trip ultimately lead to me finding the school I am at now (2014–present) and, just like it was promised by friends at the beginning, has already made a profound and lasting impression on my life like nothing else.
This blog was originally created to document the trip. However, it seems time to give it a new life, so all of my bike-touring related pages will be linked from here (scroll down to the bottom of the page if you want to skip my trip epilogue), instead of from the main page.
The chronology in the blog ends a bit abruptly in November of 2013, with a protracted stay at Hartland College. Ultimately I spent 3 weeks visiting the school with a sprained wrist, before managing to catch a series of rides all the way down to Georgia. I then rode for a last couple weeks before celebrating Christmas in Florida with friends I'd made in Vermont. From there I was taken up to the Generation of Youth for Christ (GYC) conference which happened to be in Orlando that year. This lead to my catching a ride with friends all the way back to the northwest. I moved into a friends basement in Washington, where I spent a somewhat pointless 8 months, except for the marked strengthening of friendships from before my trip.
Finally, 10 months after initially visiting the school, and one short year after hearing about the school for the first time, I went to back to Hartland College, to study Christian Media Management, with an emphasis on audio production.
The aftermath of the trip, besides giving me direction for the next step of my life (as expected, though not without surprise), is still playing out, and will continue to ripple for the rest of my life. I'm more fearless than ever. I long for the simple life even more. I miss the close exposure to the elements, the constant exposure which enabled me to wear the same clothes from the waist down in any temperatures above 45°F. I miss breathing fresh, moving air every day of the year, leaving the window to my room open almost year around now. I miss living outside of walls. The country (and by extension, the world), has shrunk in my mind and the thought of staying in one place for extended periods of time is more unbearable now than ever.
More than anything, though, my trip has enabled me to walk with a definiteness I did not have before, to begin moving on in a more independent, confident, and optimistic manner than before. It's given me a reference point from which I can prove to myself that major goals can indeed be accomplished with sufficient determination. Additionally, it has given me a larger window into humanity and my country, through the experience of traveling through both prosperous and poor areas, staying in huge houses I could get lost in, or with people who had almost nothing, yet shared it anyway, and seeing things with my own eyes that before I only imagine — such as the black-white divide in America (growing up in a part of the country with no black people to speak of). Finally it has helped me better understand myself, my motivations, my desires, my ideals, my values.
In short, touring the country has proven to be the best decision of my life so far, leaving me as a much more seasoned, matured, and informed individual, better prepared to face life's challenges with either empathy, determination, or an adventurous grin — whichever is demanded in the moment.
Am I glad I took the trip?
If I had the chance to rewrite that chapter of my life, would I still have taken the trip, in the same manner?
Will I cross the country by bike again?
Probably not, and almost certainly not solo. I did it once, and I don't relish that level of loneliness again. That said, maybe I'm enough more mature now that I could actually handle it.
Would I encourage others to take the same sort of a trip?
Without a hesitation!
And here are the promised links. May they prove to be of some value to you. And feel free to ask any questions you might have. If I have the time, I'll try to .
All the statistics, data points, and numbers I could come up with for my trip
FAQ's for my trip, updated during and after
The map of my trip