“I told those closest to me that I would see them again in three months knowing that I had no intention of returning.”
On May 1, 2010 I began, what was to become, a five and a half month bike trip across the United States. I set out from Yorktown, Virginia heading West to Astoria, Oregon just as thousands of cyclist before me had done. But, My Journey began to unfold two years before when my world and my life had seemingly come to and end….
I have seen and read and watched several accounts of cross country trips that people have undertaken, which have had some measure of success, failure, and personal growth. Some seemed to be just a line on a map without personal or natural exploration. Each seemed to be lacking in emotional depth beyond momentary inspiration, merely feats accomplished to say, “Look what I did”. I do not want this to be another “hey look how cool I am” story. That is not what My Journey was about.
I hope by reading this you will truly accept that I understand. Which ultimately means that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. If by reading about some of the adventures I had on My Journey you are inspired to search for you own, wonderful! I would hope, however, that it would lead you to strive not only for an adventurous story, but more importantly to strive for understanding of self. This was the true gift that My Journey gave to me.
Every step, every climb, every mile I rode had purpose. I was battling my demons and struggling with memories, and a seemingly endless sadness that had me longing for death, that quiet nothingness I was pulled away from not a year earlier. I was searching for the reason behind why I was still breathing. It was about searching for life when all I could see was the ease and peace to my soul that death would bring.
I hope by reading this you realize that there is someone out there that does understand your pain. Everyone has something that will drain their will to go on. It may be the death of a friend or loved one. You may have a debilitating illness or injury. It may be for you as it was for me, heart ache. Whatever it is, You are not alone.
I know what it is like to doubt your sanity, your entire world is disintegrating in front of you and there is nothing you can do to stop it. You fight defiantly, using every last bit of your essence until there is nothing left. Your will is gone. There is no happiness, no fight left. You are broken, on your knees, exhausted, and wondering why you are still breathing. The pain and sadness is too much to bear and you can not stand another minute of tears.
This is the point I came to. This is the moment when I gave up all hope, the moment I slipped quietly away into darkness. No sound, no more fear, no more anguish, a mind no longer reeling from my circumstances, and grief. So I sat in my chair, bottles empty, one last tear, hoping only for there to be nothing more to feel.
Have you noticed yourself smiling when looking up to the clouds as the cartoon character of your mind float by, or have you wallowed in your informed defeat? I have wallowed and witnessed my world turn grey, dark with doubt and no hope. I have seen the trees whither and die, and the soil dry and crack beneath my knees. I have looked up and had the reflection of a motionless bleak sky slip into my eyes and draw away the color from the world around me. I have lied on the ground, motionless, emotionless, emptied out, no pain, no happiness, no sadness, just a void shell of a once happy man.
Now when I look up at the sky my soul already brimming, overflows with happiness because I understand the T-shirt behind the window, “Sometimes getting lost is the only way to find yourself.”