The Terrifying Send-Off
Thinking back to this day makes me laugh in more ways than one. First off, waking up at 5 am feeling like a complete zombie. The reason, so I couldn’t think about what I was actually doing!
I remember taking my five bags (we in the bike world call them panniers) down the apartment stairs, of course, I didn’t organize the night before, so I have no idea what is packed where. I did, however, give it the good ole try of making a list of what was in each bag. Though at 5 am, this little lady forgets and tears apart every bag looking for specific items - don’t judge me until I’ve had my coffee, alright?
I ran back upstairs making sure I didn’t leave a thing, said goodbye to my dear friend, who was just as tired and zombie-like as I was. Only to come running back down the stairs to see what an epic mess I’ve created, it looked like someone rampaged my belongings and just threw them in every direction. Somehow, I ended up getting myself together and everything on the bike only to walk outside and see that it was raining, joy!
By the time I got “the beast” outside, down the apartment stairs and through the front gate, I was already ultimately out of breath and sweating. My mind began to reconsider the whole idea as I HATE, HATE cycling in the rain. It’s dangerous and honestly, drivers well, don’t know how to drive in the rain.
To my other joyous excitement, I had a fan club. Yes, a fan club. There were the bodega guys outside the store, yelling, “are you really going to ride that thing?” I put on a half-assed smile and wave, “taking her clear across America.” Their eyes looked like they had just seen a ghost, which made me slightly chuckle inside. They continue to talk, asking if I can even balance the bike, how much it weighed, all the fun stuff. Usually, I’m a nice person, but at this point, I was beyond annoyed and started to become short. Why? Because I had never ridden the bike with all the gear on it, I had no idea if I could actually balance the bike or how much it weighed. I was terrified. Every part of me thought I was getting out so early that I could take a few test runs and if I busted my ass on the cold, wet asphalt, hell, no one would know. But no, I had a fan club which was more excited than I was about my bike and seeing me take off. I continued to wait, hoping they would get bored and go inside but no, the longer I procrastinated, the more questions they would ask. Questions that I honestly, I didn’t have the answer for. So here I found myself, vomiting out words so that I didn’t look like the terrified asshole that I felt inside.
Finally, at one moment, I got on the bike and started pedaling, the men cheered me on and waved goodbye. To my honest surprise, I didn’t fall and break my ass on the road (thank god). So first fear is conquered, hurray! Conquer your fears was also my theme for the year, if something scares you, if you feel fear inside, do it anyways. The only thing you will do is find answers and strength; there are no failures in facing your fears. I have to tell you, it’s the best damn thing I’ve ever done, and I still use it in my life today.
Alright back to the story…
Today, technically the real day one, I set out for 70 miles to a lovely home in Princeton, New Jersey. The ride was long, boring at times, exciting and yet, terrifying. The most annoying part of the journey was being within a few miles of my destination and having it be ALL-UP-HILL. Going uphill at the end of my travel and rain was a reoccurring theme in my traveling experience, I will have to say….what kills you makes you stronger and more humble, am I right? If not, least what I kept telling myself for motivation (me, myself and I, we spoke a lot).
So heading uphill to reach my final destination, I come across a lovely swarm of MOSQUITOES (my most favorite creature on this plant). Ironically, the beast and I couldn’t out pedal the mosquitoes. All I heard until I reached the door was the buzzing noise in my ear. If anyone saw me on the road at that moment, I apologize. I was flinging my arms around, screaming at the air, hitting my ears, my goal well, to get the mosquitoes to go away. Sadly, my crazy outburst on the road did no such thing; it just made me look like a homeless lunatic on a bike.
Luckily when I arrived at the end of my journey for the day, I ended at an incredibly beautiful home which reminded me of my times living at the ashram in the Bahamas. My host and an incredibly lovely meal of fresh veggies from the garden waiting for me. Later that night, we did energy work and spoke about my ride. My favorite part of my cycling journey, hands down, was meeting all the incredible souls along the way and hearing their life’s journey. When you travel, you begin to realize just how connected we all are and how we are all looking for the same things in life. People may not come out in say it, but after a while, everyone wants time, to be happy, to be loved, feel accepted, feel wanted, and be successful. Luckily, we all have different needs that fill these categories. The most important thing you can do for someone is to give them your time, don’t waste it.