Wednesday 11/3/10 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
I’m writing this post from a coffee shop that’s two blocks from my apartment. I’m living in West Philadelphia now with my girlfriend. In the last two months, my contract finished with Invisible Children in Uganda, I moved back to the US (and was awed by the fall foliage—check out the pics), and I started writing a manuscript for a book about the bicycle trip.
For the next five months, I’ll work on the manuscript full-time, adding to and editing the writing I created throughout my ride. I have a Word document with about 300 pages of trip writing in it. I’m excited to have the chance to go through this writing and strengthen it. Often while writing during the trip, I found myself racing a dying computer battery or exhaustion at night in my tent. The content I put on the site was quickly created and posted before I had much of a chance to edit it. I’m hoping the finished manuscript will be a more accurate and polished representation of what I experienced on the trip than the writing on this site was.
So, three years after I set off from a New Jersey suburb by bike, I’m both sad and proud to end this chapter of my life. The trip didn’t follow the exact route I thought it would, but that’s completely fine by me: it pushed me, allowed me to listen, and helped—at least for a few years—to satiate my curiosity. It was a physical test, of course, but it was more challenging mentally and emotionally than I expected it to be. More nights than I revealed on this site I spent lonely and restless in my tent. I sobbed or collapsed, filled with self-doubt, on more than one occasion. I entertained dark thoughts on desolate stretches of road; I fought to quiet an ever racing mind. But the trip exposed a new world to me, one filled with good people and sacred scenery. It unmasked the “news” we receive from mass media for the nonsense I now know it to be. It taught me how to better control my thinking, to be a more conscious person. Perhaps more than anything else, though, the trip taught me that the world is still big, that people aren’t out to get us, and that we all want the same things in life: love, health, security, knowledge, opportunity.
Because the world isn’t a scary place, and because human-powered traveling is just so damn rewarding, I’m convinced this trip won’t be my last.
To those of you who encouraged me along the way with your comments, emails, and kindness: I’ll never be able to fully explain how much those small acts meant to me. Thank you.
More to come as life unfolds,