Transitioning careers, I came up with the idea to cycle cross country to celebrate the end of my years performing classical ballet on stage and the start of whatever the future would hold. I pondered over maps and went back and forth on what route to take. I decided to hit as many states that I’d never been to before as possible and that route ended up being pretty close to the Lewis and Clark trail. I, however, started at the Pacific Ocean and went east.
The whole Lewis and Clark thing wasn’t the point of the ride.
( I did read a book about a writer who explored the L&C Trail in a VW camper and I met quite a few history buffs that couldn’t stop retracing old routes and learning about the expedition. One couple even went as far as canoeing over 600 miles!) I just found it an amusing name for the blog I’d be writing to keep in touch with friends and family. My mother LOVED keeping up with my progress, although I’m sure she was a little disappointed with the lousy grammar.
I had originally anticipated the trip being all about the cycling. Climbing tough mountain passes, riding long miles into the headwinds, toughing it out through extreme hot and cold temperatures. There was plenty of that, but what I found that stuck with me the most, was all the people I met along the way.
I met so many great people along the 3,700 miles and I had a completely new outlook on life, a refreshed hope in humanity.
We all get a little caught up with the daily grind and the rat race and can be difficult to deal with when stuck in a traffic jam or a busy checkout line at the grocery store. But ,when it comes down to it, if something happens or if someone needs help so many people will stop and lend a helping hand.
There were countless times that I was invited to dinner, offered a place to camp, a place to sleep, asked if I needed help when I was on the side of the road fixing a flat tire. So many times a perfect stranger stopped to ask how I was doing.
So many times that people brightened my day by just by being humane humans. I’m all about seeing the sites and exploring new places, but the best part of traveling is people.
From the housekeeper with whom I would practice my French in the French countryside chateau, to the old man who shared a stoop in a thunderstorm in Barcelona, to the truck driver I had breakfast with in Iowa, those are the best travel memories I have.
Those are the moments I search for while exploring the world as Lewis and Clark and Mark.