Who inspired who?

Inspiration is a funny thing. Another new one to me, really. I’ve so prepared myself for the “judgmental dropout reaction” that it hadn’t even crossed my mind that someone might find what I’m doing to be inspirational.

Then again, most of the people who inspire me the most probably have no idea that they do so. I still can’t decide if I should start telling people such, but given the way it makes me feel to hear it, it certainly can’t hurt. There is no denying the warm, fuzzy feeling that accompanies all of the well-wishes, shoutouts, and simple ‘likes’ I have gotten lately. Especially when some of the names that pop up are the ones that cross my mind the most (again, even if they don’t know it). I have noted every single name, whether I got back to you personally or not. As much as I pride myself on that stubborn, rugged individualism, people need people. I’d say it’s better to head east missing friends and acquaintances than it is to slip away silently with no real regard for the alternative.

People need people. A big part of this ride will be reminding myself of that simple truth. Whether organized couchsurfing, last-minute door knocking, or simply chatting with strangers in all of the unimaginably small towns I am set to pass through, I will be a visitor everywhere I go. At the mercy of my collective hosts, who can no doubt tell me there are no trees for my hammock or spigots to fill my water bottles. Given that my early plan was a Canada-Mexico Pacific Coast ride that I would undertake without carrying a cent, this seems downright luxe. Though, with only half a summer’s worth of modest earnings, it will be anything but..

The explosive popularity of Couchsurfing worldwide is rapidly restoring my faith in humanity, as one can “meet someone on the internet, chat for a bit, and show up at their door to cook a meal, take a shower, and spend the night”. Safely. For free. Take that sentence out of context and it sounds like a recipe for another bad 2000’s horror flick.

Who knows how many couches will be ‘officially’ offered in most of the small towns that my route takes me through, though there’s always the good old fashioned impromptu invitation. For the nights that there’s nowhere else to stay, a brief explanation of the bike and setup:

  • Jamis 27 speed touring bike
  • Front and rear racks with panniers (bicycle saddle bags) to carry all of the following…
  • sleeping bag
  • hammock with rain shelter
  • cameras and copious amounts of film <which will explain the scarcity of photos while I’m still on the road>
  • Cliff bars x 100
  • some random toiletries
  • notepad and pens (you people don’t get to know everything)
  • Bible
  • maps
  • a few changes of clothes for on- and off-bike
  • Martin Backpacker guitar (will strap this on top of the rear rack…trust me, it’s an essential)

That’s pretty much it.

I’ll definitely be soliciting mailing addresses so I can rock a sweet old-school Rolodex and mail post cards from the most outrageously named towns I can find.

Still haven’t come to terms with being called an inspiration, but rest assured I’ll be using that as motivation to really do this right. Will keep mulling that one over and see what comes of it…

6 days.

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