Circumnavigating USA on a Bicycle
$5,966 of $18,000 goal
I sold almost everything I owned, and I bicycled the Pacific Coast Bike Route. I cycled for two months in the fall storms that struck the coast every few days and I slept in empty campgrounds; and at the end of every day the ocean waited for me, offering me a safe place to grieve.
One evening, about three weeks out, I sat on the beach and I realized it was the first day I had not had to relive Vasu's last breaths. Leaning against driftwood in sand warmed by the day's sun, I felt joy. The relief of it brought tears to my eyes and as the sun sank into scarlet hues I made a promise to myself; I would let grief have me as it pleased, but I would look for those moments throughout the day where I felt simple joy. If I found even one moment free from pain, I would call the entire day good.
I cycled the California coast seeking perfect moments. I discovered the way steam fogged my glasses from my morning cup of tea, and the way wind roared in the pines above my tent at two in the morning and yet not a whiff of air struck my tent below. And almost every day strangers helped keep me moving forward on the road of grief. Through their gentle kindnesses I slowly began to reconnect with my world.
Six years later I still practice finding perfect moments. In fact, this year, I find it even more important to look for kindness. The world transforms. Entire nations of people are losing their homes, economies become unstable, and fear dominates political discourse. In times like these we need reminders that there is still beauty in our world. So in May, I will be heading out on another bicycle tour. Over the next 14 months I will circumnavigate the USA, from Portland to New York to Florida to San Diego and back to my hometown in Seattle. It is a quest to find the many roads to kindness.
I will be writing about my tour as I ride. My travel journal is available at eleaacheson.com and Elea Acheson, Writer , and view my photo journal at The Many Roads To Kindness . Once a month I will publish a podcast at www.patreon.com/eleaacheson telling the stories of the people I meet on the road, and all the many ways we connect to each other. For as little as a dollar per podcast you can subscribe to receive these stories.
Please consider supporting my ride here at Go Fund Me. For every two dollars you fund a mile. For every eighty dollars you fund a day. Your Go Fund Me donation will allow me to travel this 12,000 miles of road, and to offer you the opportunity to see the world the way I do; at my slow pace of 10 MPH where the details of the world are full of perfect moments and beautiful people.
I am finishing my first week off since I started cycling two months ago. I can't believe it's already been two months, and also can't believe I've got 12 months to go.
It's been a long road of lessons.
How to navigate all the obstacles and keep my emotional momentum has been interesting in the Chinese proverb kind of way. I have learned the hard way, and found the easy way, and overall feel success. Even the doubts and despairs seem like part of the process.
I am more than 2,000 miles down this road, and have been offered so much kindness and welcome that it actually seems entirely too ordinary now. Every now and then I'll look up the news and it seems as if the world experiences a parallel, horrible reality that does not exist where I live.
Perhaps I'm burying my head in the sand. Perhaps the news people are burying theirs.
Either way, no matter how awful the world may seem, there is still beauty to be found everywhere. I feel lucky to be experiencing so much of it.
Elea ♥ Congrats!!! Nate, Chris and I send our love and hugs from Colorado! :)
Well the next journey has chances for joy and tears, hills and rainstorms, and beautiful vistas and opportunities for pure awe as well. :) :) Congratulations Elea, Good luck on your new journey. :)
I rode with Elea today in Suffolk Virginia for a few moments today, totally by chance. She was loaded to the gills with panniers... I didn't think to her ask if she needed a recommendation for a bed, or a spare tube. Her smile is infectious! Good luck.