Be the light.
Some parts of my life are light while others are not–and just like many of us, I am trying to lighten the parts that are heavy. I have some stuff, sure. However, I was able to fit all of my belongings (including a commercial espresso machine, a job-site table saw, three bikes, and a queen-sized mattress) into two cars when I moved out of Tacoma, Washington a few months ago.
My commitments are light.
My stress level is fairly light…I think.
I’m not overweight.
But my emotional load is not light. In an idealistic hope to cure this, I’ve decided to ride my bicycle (named Rocket) four thousand miles from Denver, Colorado to somewhere at the southern end of the Baja peninsula in Mexico.
This is how I came to such a decision:
Until May of this year, I’d been engaged in some sort of solidifying life path–like school, then a relationship, then a job commitment. As I creep my way into independence, I am now facing the first opportunity to spend a little time diverting from a long-term trajectory to blast away and, ideally, find some inclining of self-direction.
In deciding on how to do this, it was difficult to ignore all the other cool things people were doing–moving abroad, using workaways to see really cool parts of the world, teaching English somewhere across the seas, joining the peace corps, completing long distance thru hikes, getting accepted to prestigious graduate schools –but what was I going to do? I was struggling to disentangle what I wanted to do from what I thought I should be doing.
I thought about moving to Australia or New Zealand and using a holiday work visa to make some cash and live a new life for a set amount of time. I thought about traveling through Central or South America where the living was cheaper and I’d be forced to learn Spanish.
Through all this, I was having a hard time being ok with leaving my bike behind.
So I thought riding across the country would be cool–talking to people along the way. But I quickly realized I quite wanted the challenge of being in another country and being forced to learn at least a little bit of another language. Mexico, being the closest option, thus made sense. My buddy Brandon turned me onto a route called The Baja Divide which links dirt roads, trails, and otherwise off-road routes together from San Diego to the tip of the Baja Peninsula.That route would take around two months to complete if I was to take my time.
I wanted to go for longer. Through a calculation of how much money I could save by departure date, weather considerations, and other hard dates (like Christmas), I settled on a route that will take me about 4 months to complete, take me through some of my favorite parts of the country, force me to interact with a wide variety of people and locations, and still get me into Mexico.
Through a calculation of how much money I could save by departure date, weather considerations, and other hard dates (like Christmas), I settled on a route that will take me about 4 months to complete, take me through some of my favorite parts of the country, force me to interact with a wide variety of people and locations—and still spend some time in Mexico.
The next step was logistics…mainly money. I could fish in Alaska for a few months. Or maybe stay in Tacoma for the summer, work hard, spend nothing, and maybe end up ahead.
Once many options had come and left my mind unacted upon, I chose to move back home. I could save a handful of cash easily, reconnect with my parents, be in good positions to plan, and have a spot to stack some crates for a few months while I was away.
Now that the summer is over, most of the planning is complete, and September is here, it’s about time to shape a ride that I hope will be a positive experience. Just over 4,000 miles and some ungodly amount of elevation change.