Above: Me with my single-speed basket bike out in Japan.
About me: After spending three years teaching in America and Japan, I became frustrated by how little my students were communicating with people from other countries. Combining my love for travel with my passion for teaching, I decided to embark on a multi-year cycling/teaching odyssey that would use the internet to link students in different countries.
Every three to four months throughout my ride I stopped to volunteer to teach English for about four weeks at a local school. When I stopped to volunteer, I worked on projects that connected my students on the road with students from four schools back in America (three in New Jersey, one in Wisconsin). Some of these projects are detailed on the Videos page of this site.
In addition to the one month teaching stops, I also made many afternoon stops at schools to give presentations about my ride and the people I met along the way.
This was my first trip by bicycle, and before the start of the trip, I wasn’t a cyclist. I simply used the bicycle as a tool to help me travel. Bicycle travel is slow, cheap, carbon-neutral, relatively stress free (I never worried about missing my bus!), and, most importantly, allows travelers to meet and listen to countless people they wouldn’t otherwise have had the chance to meet.
Things the trip taught me:
1. People are good. After meeting thousands of strangers over the course of my ride, I’m sure of this. It’s a fact. The world is not the scary place we’ve been led to believe it is. It’s filled with billions of plain ol’ normal people—people just. like. you.
2. Human-powered travel is a spectacular way to experience and learn about other cultures.
3. Figuring out how to stay present while cycling was the most difficult challenge I faced while on the road. The physical stresses of the trip paled in comparison to the mental ones.
4. Your kindergarten teacher was right: anyone can do anything with enough preparation and drive.
5. The more I spoke with people, the more I realized how little I knew about the world.