As we carry our dirty, rugged selves to a gas station or restaurant, we face the curious questions. It’s obvious we’re outsiders.
“Where are you guys from?”
One eyebrow rises.
“Where you guys headed?”
“All 48 states!”
As excited as we are about this fact, it generally elicits one of two responses. Either they’re wowed by the fact or we get the ‘yeah right’ look.
Some people genuinely get quite excited hearing about our cause. They get excited to contribute, to help. From my experience most people donate either because of the ‘feel good’ factor or because it’s just cool that 5 guys are doing something they had only dreamt of doing in their lifetime.
And that’s the hard part. It’s easy giving a sales pitch we’ve repeated over the course of 3000 miles. It’s hard to make people realize that this was a dream for us even 6 months ago.We had no touring experience, no experience in fundraising, nor any extended knowledge in bike maintenance. The fact is, some of us didn’t even own a bike before the trip.
But it all came together. We put our minds to it, worked hard at making it happen and at times took the fall as a group. There were definitely some ‘I did not sign up for this’ moments. Like the time we decided to nap by the side of the road on our tarps, instead of setting up tent. We wanted to take off as quickly as possible in the morning – we were so excited to get to the west coast, but only to end up soaking wet in the incessant rain. But boy, did it make the ride to the coast that much more worth it.
The fact that we are living people’s dreams evokes conflicting emotions in me – sad, amazing, but burdened.
Sad because so many people are going through their lives dreaming, but not acting. Amazing because we have truly touched their hearts, as they have ours. Burdened because we now have a commitment to fulfill – live the dream not only of ourselves but also of others.
So as I’m sitting here in Rachel, NV the gateway to Area 51, I am hoping for some sign of ‘abnormality.’ I realize that at some point we all have to get a job, build a career, buy a home – basically be ‘normal’ again. But in the process, we hope to find a ‘normal’ lifestyle while living our childhood dreams. As Randy Pausch, author of The Last Lecture says, “It's not about how to achieve your dreams, it's about how to lead your life, ... If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you.”