Riding my bike across the country was an amazing experience. Some of my favorite things about the ride were: the people I met- both the riders & the hosts & the strangers, seeing the countryside at a leisurely pace, being outside rain or shine, being active, the great conversations, the time to think, the challenge.
My list goes on, but the thing that truly makes this experience amazing is that all the while I am having this amazing experience, we were helping people. The entire process was refreshing; I got to be a part of helping people & involving others.
The fundraising process was something that I struggled with. However, in the end I viewed it as giving someone an opportunity. It turns out people want to help people & people are excited to donate money to help someone they know be a part of something great. The process sparked conversations that created awareness; it got people thinking- myself included. Fundraising forced me to step out of my comfort zone & it was well worth it.
I grew from this experience in many ways. I encountered different perspectives and cultures, something I thought may only be possible through foreign travel. I learned the importance of expectations to my life. I found that short mileage days could feel just as long as long mileage days – simply based on my expectations. I have been applying that lesson to other aspects of my life.
I don’t want to think of the ride as a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ because I hope to do something like it again in the future. There are so many cliches that express this idea- but all I know is that from my own experience it was much more valuable than any summer job I could have had or any classes I could have taken.