Alluring Touring. — Day 1

2 October 2015

10:43pm

Open. Close. Open. Close.

Pack. Unpack. Repack…

Passport, Wallet, Ticket, Repeat

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I’m in the basement room of friends’ San Francisco home.

My college pal Mariah is cozily nestled on the couch — feet up with glass of wine in hand. Her boyfriend Nevill, tall and slender, swings back n forth on his balance board with the ease of a surfer bro who looks like he came straight out of The Lords of Dogtown. As for me, I am lost somewhere in the outer outer realms of bag-packing-dom.

With an undertone of worry in her voice asks me, “Is there something I can help you with?”

Me: “No…I think, I think I got it all.” Right? Right. With a sheepish sigh I concede, “Ok, I am just gonna close it up for good and we can relax”

Nevill nonchalantly offers, “Hey, if you forget anything I can always run it over to you before your flight.

The omnipresent palpability of my pre-trip anxiety jolts me out of my internal checklist. Running on repeat for the last 24 hours, Mariah and Nevill’s futile attempts at coaxing me to relax finally prevail.

6 hours from now Mariah will be driving me to San Francisco International where I shall board a flight that commences a long dreamt chapter in my life — travelling solo through a foreign land.

I know not what to expect nor how to process my present emotions; yet, somewhere between cheek clenching nervous and bat shit excited suffice for now.

If you asked me a month earlier whether I’d be heading to Cuba, my more honest self would have said, “I’m not quite sure.” Nevertheless, a month later, I find myself in awe of the support bequeathed by family and friends to make this trip a reality.

To date over a $1,000 have been raised in personal funds. With some luck even more shall be raised for the charitable organization I ride for. This ride carries more than just the pledge to raise $1 for every kilometer I ride. In honor of Jimmy Fowkes and Kelsey McLean, I ride for all those affected by cancer. I ride to prove to myself and others that all dreams are possible when we begin to face the things that scare us the most.

I ride for the Children’s Cancer Association.

This has, without a doubt, been the riskiest thing I have done thus far.

  • My car is sold; and, in it’s place a touring bike has been bought. We shall be best friends…I am sure of it.
  • My college debt is paid ahead by a few months…hopefully a job along the way will extend this little cushion.
  • I am traveling alone to a foreign country with foreign politics, spotty internet, and one whole Facebook friend (whom i’ve never met)…a grin, dare I say, might’ve just escaped my mouth.

Despite whatever insecurities lie in wake of my imminent departure I feel privileged to have the health and support, financial and emotional, to pedal Cuba and the Dominican Republic in stride.

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As St. Augustine once proffered, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”