Travel is rebellion in its purest form. We follow our heart. We free ourselves of labels. We lose control willingly. We trade a role for reality. We love the unfamiliar. We trust strangers. We own only what we can carry. We search for better questions, not answers. We truly graduate. We, sometimes, choose never to come back.
– Author Unknown
Returning from the warm cool breeze of the Gulf of Thailand, it is a dramatic change as I shiver walking off the flight and into the Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China. Since I was on the red-eye flight I feel a bit disorientated from the lack of comfortable sleep, but this is nothing new to me having traveled in ways that would probably make most people cringe. As I sat waiting for my connecting flight back to Seoul, I couldn’t help but reminisce about how it is already 2015, and I am quickly approaching the three-year mark of this amazing journey. I know that I’ve mentioned that I hope that people don’t just choose to live vicariously through me, but that they become inspired and motivated to live out their dreams. Recently, I received an email from an amazing travel blogger, Kristyn Bacon that has inspired me. We began exchanging emails and decided upon exchanging one another’s travel adventures through each other’s blogs. I feel as though she is even a bit more courageous than myself being only 22-years-old and having accomplished some pretty amazing feats, Kristyn has; hitchhiked from the East Coast to California at 17, Traveled solo and worked In Peru at the age of 19, worked as an au pair in Berlin for a year, completed ultramarathons, bike races and tours in the States, France, and Germany, and finally, the story she decided upon sharing, was bicycling across the United States alone at the age of 18-years-old. Here is her inspiring story.
BICYCLING ACROSS THE UNITED STATES - WHAT CAN HAPPEN ON A BIKE RIDE by Kristyn Bacon Travel Blogger and Chief Editor of Trainless Magazine
About two months before I left, the superintendent of schools came to visit my high school. She came into my art class and spoke with all the seniors about their plans for after high school. When she asked me, I told her I was going to ride my bicycle across the country.
‘Are you crazy?’ She accused.
‘It’s actually pretty common. People do it every year,’ I told her.
‘Who’s going with you?’
‘No, I’m going alone.’
‘Are you crazy? What if something happens? What if someone abducts you? What if a van pulled up to you on the side of the road and pulled you in and drove away? No one would know!’
I was still a polite teenager at the time so I told her that something like that could happen whether I was riding in Connecticut or South Dakota. The superintendent said it was more likely to happen in South Dakota.
I ignored all of them. I knew I would be tired and sunburned and sometimes cold and wet and in over my head. But that was the point. I took my last final, said goodbye to my dad and my dog, and rode off with everything strapped together on the bike. And believe it or not, everything they said would happen, actually happened.
Then I was in Wisconsin and Minnesota and I stayed on a bunch of farms with hippies and fifth generation farmers and wives and cows and goats. I told them I’d ridden through New York and they said, ‘Through New York? Weren’t you afraid you’d get shot?’ I still swam and hiked and met cyclists on the road and convinced one of them to ride with me.
‘Are you two married?’ the man asked my bike partner, Matt.
‘No, we’re not.’
‘Maybe you’ll come back here and get married,’ he said. ‘After the bike ride.’
‘We’ll keep it in mind,’ Matt said.
writing has been published by INSIDE DIRT and DAN HOLLOWAY, EIGHT CUTS. An architect read her work and compared it to George Saunders.