There’s nothing more rejuvenating than spending time with kindred spirits, folks with whom you don’t have to edit or explain because we’ve had so many common experiences. We can talk in shorthand and find humor in events that leave other people puzzled.
So, it was quite a treat to spend an evening with Bethany and Dave Garth on the day I rolled over 20,000 miles. In 2011-2013, the young couple logged over 22,000 bicycle miles on a worldwide trek that encompassed four continents and too many countries to list. To be sure, their experience – more camping, cross-cultural hijinks, and periods of lingering in favorite places – has different parameters than my journey’s pulse of continuous movement, intentional interactions and couchy creature comfort. Still, the fundamental joys of bicycle touring are the same regardless of terrain or language. As Dave put it, “There’s something profound about showing up in a place on a bicycle.”
The couple wanted to travel the world and they wanted to have children, and decided to do it in that order. They quit their jobs, took a train up to Maine, cycled to Niagara Falls and down the Appalachians. They flew to Guatemala, cycled Central America, flew to Patagonia, cycled up the Andes to Peru, flew from Quito to Oslo. “Going from Peru to Norway was a shift in every respect.” They meandered through Europe to Istanbul, flew to Hong Kong, toured Southeast Asia to Singapore, flew to Vancouver, and pedaled back to Alabama.
Now Bethany and Dave are on an adventure of a very different sort – raising two young children. Some days the perils of crossing rivers on rickety rafts in Laos or waking up to frozen chains in China seems less daunting. But each has its unique rewards.
How will we live tomorrow?
“I will do the next right thing. My new position as Director of our non-profit is a little overwhelming. I keep reminding myself to just keep doing the next right thing. I’ve read some of your blog, and no matter how people respond, I come back to, if we all just do the next right thing we’ll be all right.” – Bethany