So, here we go. My name is Shane, I’m almost 30, and I need an adventure.
It’s been a long time coming. I’ve spent the last decade of my life living the way most people would consider “responsible.” Working my way up the corporate ladder, trading 40+ hours a week of my life in exchange for a stable income and benefits. I’ve kept a roof over my head, food in my belly, and the rooms in my house filled with stuff I don’t need. Save for the 2.5 kids and picket fence, I’m basically living the American Dream, right?
The problem with working in a field that exists primarily to make money, is that at the end of the day, money is all you have to show for it. And it’s not enough. I’ve spent almost all of my twenties performing repetitive tasks in a cubicle, getting fat and losing all creativity. It’s easy enough to tell someone in my situation to just push themselves in a creative direction in their free time. But try turning your brain off for eight exhaustive hours a day, every day, and tell me just how creative you feel. This isn’t what I want for myself. The only trouble is, I can tell you all sorts of things that I don’t want. What I’m lacking, is any real idea of what it is that I do want.
But screw it anyway.
Six months ago I took a big step. I quit my job, and became a professional poker player. I was expecting the purity of entering into a contest of mental toughness, tactics, and mathematics would do me a lot of good. Because I’m good at it, and I found it very fulfilling when I did it almost every single weekend as a hobby, I thought that quitting my job so that I could jump into something like this would be all that I’d need to get out of my rut. But at the end of the day, all the effort I go through, the stress and the swings and the long drives to the casino two states away… it’s not that far from being back in that cubicle, existing purely to make money. It’s a lot more fun, but a path to creative fulfillment, it is not.
My big problem, I think, is that I’ve spent so much time now with my brain turned off, that I don’t even know how to think creatively anymore. Gradual steps do not seem to be working for me.
And so, that brings us here: Go big or stay home, it seems. In less than two weeks, I am leaving by myself to go on an adventure. I’m going to, as an overweight, out of shape, completely inexperienced biker, get on my mountain bike, which was not meant for such a long excursion, with only the bare essentials of travel, and barely any money, to ride around the country, and then back again. I intend to go from Raleigh, North Carolina, to my home town of Kalamazoo, Michigan, to Portland, then down to L.A., and then back again to Raleigh once more. This is going to be an absurd amount of miles. My body isn’t conditioned for it. I don’t have the best gear. I don’t have any experience: not with long-distance biking, nor with camping or really anything involved in something like this. I have no money for hotels. And I’ll be doing this by myself. Hence the name of this website. It’s not a title, so much as a descriptor: I’m going nomad, on a bike.
Yes, I’m crazy. I’ll be documenting this excursion on this website, telling lots of stories, taking tons of pictures, and hopefully experiencing a bunch of amazing things. I will be testing myself, pushing myself harder than I’ve ever done before. Because the thing that I’ve learned over the last decade of mental stasis, is that it’s not enough just to survive. I can’t be happy just by making money and taking little vacations two weeks out of the year. I need to expect more from myself, because there’s nobody else who can push me forward but me.
So here we go. I’m in the final stages of preparation now. I have most of the gear I’ll be bringing with me, I have, in broad outline, the route I’ll be taking (though it is subject to change drastically depending on new information I get, or weather, or because I see something cool). I’m now mostly doing specific research on my routes, trying to pin down where I might be staying throughout the trip (a lot of camping, mostly!), figuring out how to repair my bicycle, basic survival techniques, and so on and so forth. I’m leaving in just under two weeks now, so stay tuned. In addition to exploring my personal thoughts and experiences, I’ll also post any insights I have on bicycle touring, stealth-camping and surviving long-distance rides like this, gear reviews of things I bring with me, and a bunch of other stuff. I hope you all enjoy this site.