Upon the mention of our upcoming cycling adventure we often get asked a few standard questions:
- Why? What’s your motivation? How does someone come to this goal?
If we take a step back to 2012 when Amanda and I first met, we were both in student loan debt and living the standard American Dream of working 9 to 5; making it paycheck to paycheck. Shortly before we started dating I had been turned on to the idea that debt is bad and there is a way out…aka: living within your means. Amanda soon too embraced this ideal. We started cramming hikes into our short weekends and were enjoying ourselves as weekend warriors.
As time progressed we realized that we wanted more space than our apartment in Philadelphia provided and in January 2014 we moved to Collingswood, NJ. I also grew tired of working to enrich corporate pockets and doing nothing to enrich myself or my community. A trip to Oregon, Colorado, then Western North Carolina coupled with our adventures in small town Maine planted the seeds.
The option of moving would require us to quit our jobs and uproot ourselves, so we decided before establishing deep roots we would go on a nomadic adventure. Our passion for hiking lead us to the logical conclusion of hiking either the Appalachian Trail or Pacific Crest Trail. Over the past years the concepts of local food and community had grown immensely on us and as transformational as hiking can be they don’t touch on those overarching themes of sustainable communities, local food; basically connectedness.
Having become a full time bike commuter I was becoming more in tune with the online bike community, I stumbled across a couple who in 2009 biked across Europe and S.E. Asia (goingslowly.com) and a lightbulb went off. The deliberate slow pace coupled with long distance bicycle touring could allow us to satisfy the itch of nomadic adventure while giving us a window into communities around the corner and around the globe. Bicycle touring it was.
We are looking to challenge ourselves and grow even closer together as a couple. We long to have a place of our own where we can develop deep and interconnected roots. A place that will allow Amanda to pursue the option of running a hostel or simple bed and breakfast; somewhere we can grow food to not only feed our bodies, but also our community. We have taken many trips and while they allow for the exploration of a town or city there is always work on Monday or the plane home to catch. We are looking for slower and more unbound exploration. With the restriction of time removed, we can spend more time immersed in different communities and unique cultures. We can broaden our horizons and make a completely informed decision as to where in the world we see ourselves and where we can grow with and help our community do the most good.
This trip for us is a challenge and a chance to step back and “see the forest for the trees.”