There is something brewing inside of me. Metaphorically, I mean.
It is welling, up, and up, like a hot-air ballon. I can feel fire inside, churning and pushing, burning toward the sky. If it could speak it would be yelling:
Well? When are you going to do it?
Five years ago I rode a bicycle across America with my best friend, Les. It was in every way a pipe dream and it had less-than-incredible beginnings. Over underwhelming and already cooled coffee, and with snacks Les bought from a grocery store one night, I felt my heart leap out of my throat.
Not really. But it felt that way. See, I was dating a girl, and we broke up, and yada yada yada… I mention that in order to convey this:
Every big idea starts somewhere personal.
I can already hear the nay-sayers… “What do you mean, personal? Not everything is subjective… Not everything has to do with personal experience…”
To which I expound: our big ideas are typically reactions to something we’ve learned or experienced. Think about that for a moment.
Everything finds its origin somewhere, and more often than not the things that make us tick, and move, and change the world happen because they’ve latched their hooks into us. They affect us, and we affect the world because of them.
So, in short, I am sitting at a table with Les and Jared, and I, my broken, bleeding heart in hand, say with the greatest of apathy and offhandedness: “Let’s just ride our bikes to New York.”
If I only knew.
Les becomes visibly intrigued. His brow furrowed, his hands caught in the air, like they too are motionless with thought. Jared becomes visibly disbelieving.
“Okay,” Les says. “Let’s do it.”
If I only knew what mysteries, what stories, and what victories would come from that moment!
We did it. We rode our bikes from the beach in Southern California to the Brooklyn shoreline, dipping our tires in each ocean.
There is more to the story, and this year I am (finally getting around to) writing it. That great adventure began with one of the most simple, predictable scenarios. It had a muse (my broken heartedness), it had a catalyst (Les), it had foes (ourselves, our wallets, our strength, the open road), and it had a hero needing to overcome some kind of an obstacle (me). Then, it happened. It happened, and we lived through it. But of course we lived through it!
Lately, I have been telling people about my next adventure. I won’t divulge just yet, but let it be sufficient to say that two years from this month I will be pushing off again, probably from LA, and probably headed south.
When Les and I decided to ride across the country we knew the best way to get ourselves to actually do it was to tell people. We had to answer every obligatory “Hey how are you?” and “Hey, what’s new” with the response: “I’m good, I just decided to ride my bike across America.” This is usually about the craziest thing most people have heard. I became a manifestation before their eyes, probably of psychosis.
This blog (and this post) will occasionally chronicle these new experiences, but at the very least, it will make my familiar itch for the road public.
What kinds of great adventures have you taken? How did they come about? How did your friends respond?