This is a crazy idea and I know it, but it's been festering in my mind for years. Perhaps the seed was originally planted way back when I was about 10 years old when my aunt rode her bike from California to Minnesota. I don't remember thinking much about it other than it was cool - the idea of biking much further than a few miles was unfathomable to me at that age.
I went about my life without a single substantial bicycle thought crossing my mind until after I graduated college and moved to California. I was 22 when I signed up for my first triathlon and did an official "ride" as part of my training. You know, got all dressed up in brightly colored spandex, put on the fancy shoes, cycled continuously for more than 10 minutes (which was the longest it ever took me to get from one college class to another) and felt like a complete fool because certainly the entire world was watching. Well, it turned out the world wasn't watching, except on the few occasions when I forgot to unclip from my pedals and fell over, but I was proud when I made it a whopping 20 miles. The day I lasted 30 miles I wrote a letter home to my family - it was big news and everyone told me I was out of my mind. Even though most of my family wrote me off as crazy for enjoying biking, I quickly fell in love with the sport. Those 30 miles turned into 50 and then into 100 and then more. I found my passion, my form of meditation, my outlet, a defining aspect of me.
For five years I told myself I was going to bike across the country for my 30th birthday, but I am like almost everyone else in this world. I dream big dreams and then never pursue them. Life always seems to be too busy and the timing's never right, or I don't have enough money, or other dreams surface and push old dreams to the back burner. I think we can all relate! Whatever it is, there's always an excuse for why we don't follow through with those crazy ideas that make our hearts well up with overwhelming excitement every time we think of them.
Before I knew it, my 30th birthday was only a few months away and I still had no plans for a cross-country ride. Mike and I had been dating for almost a year, we had moved in together, we were busy with our jobs and training for an Ironman, we were happy and comfortable; life was great. I can see how it would be easy to fall into the typical succession of life events - get married, buy a house, raise a family and live happily ever after. But we are not typical people and although we someday hope to live that life, now is not the time. You'd think after five years I would have given up on that old bicycle dream, but it was eating at my soul. I didn't want to be the person who found herself laying on her deathbed saying, "I wish I had done this or that in my life...I wish I had taken the chance." That's not going to be me.
We were on a road trip in late August of '09 when I voiced my idea with all seriousness. "Let's quit our jobs. Let's pack up all of our stuff and put it in storage. Let's sell my car and any other possessions we don't use or need. Let's save every penny we can starting right now and travel the world on bicycle until we've spent every last penny. Let's make this dream happen and once it's over we can figure out where and how to settle down." Oooh, it's a far-fetched dream, but I looked over at Mike wearing a huge smile on his face, and without hesitation he replied, "Hell yes...let's do it!!!"
And so it began...the journey of a lifetime!