Heading out to explore on a bike was not an easy decision. I left everything I’ve known for the past 4 years not knowing what the future would bring. There were some expectations for the bike tour, but they have been shattered all within the first month and a half. I knew certain things would happen, but other things were unexpected. The journey has already been incredible, and I’m only a ¼ through. I’ve learned a lot of lessons from the road from long-term travel. I’ve always known that long-term travel is transformative, but seeing it in action is incredible.
I want to share my journey over the past month and a half, so you can get a taste of what long-term travel can do for you. I still have far to go and a lot to learn, but the lessons I have learned so far have already been eye-opening. You don’t need to go on a long-term trip to see the benefits I have experienced. Exploring without a plan, or heading to a new spot can bring the same benefits. I hope I can inspire you to get out and explore
Leaving it All Behind
Setting out from my home in Connecticut wasn’t easy. I would be leaving four years of strong friendships and established habits. I was heading into the unknown never taking on a bike tour or traveling alone extensively. Everything was going to be new and different. Setting the intention and telling everyone what I planned on doing ensured that I would follow through. As the day approached the anticipation grew until finally, I was on the road.
Getting on the bike on day 1
The first day was an emotional rollercoaster. Tears streaked my eyes as I pedaled away from home. I thought about all the things I had been through and how far I’d come. The emotions surged through me as I pedaled through the scenic northern half of Connecticut. I couldn’t believe that I was finally following my passion. As I flew by the beautiful scenery, I began to get my first taste of the freedom of the open road. I couldn’t believe that my experiment with long-term travel had begun…
My First Experience with Freedom
Long-term travel and the open road brought the truest sense of freedom I’ve had in years. I knew I would love the freedom that would come on the tour, but I wasn’t prepared for the feelings that it brought. There is something incredibly visceral about being able to do anything anytime. Ditching the schedule and taking everyday day by day is incredible. On a bike, days are simple. There is one goal: get to the next destination. Freedom was a simple clarity in thinking. It was all about being one with the open road and the scenery around me.
In cities, the freedom to explore is even more intoxicating. I was able to check out cities during the week when they were empty. I saw things at the pace I wanted, without the need to rush. It was the sort of experience I had been waiting for. I had grown tired of weekend or one-week trips while working. My first experience with long-term travel on this trip was eye-opening. I finally was able to take my time and truly experience a place. In my week and a half in Philadelphia, I felt that I actually got to know a place I visited for the first time. It was an incredible sensation. I no longer felt like a tourist; I felt like I truly belonged.
Finding True Connections on the Road
I knew I would meet people on the road, but my expectations have been blown out of the water. People are very intrigued by my crazy tour around the country, so it’s not hard to get people talking. What they do after is the incredible part.
New friends from the road
People are so giving in words and actions. I’ve met so many incredible people who have shared their life stories, food, housing, or even a few dollars. From the first day, I was treated to the generosity of strangers. On my first day riding an old couple gave me $20 when I stopped for water. Since then, I have been inspired by every chance encounter I’ve had. People are so giving and helpful. It’s inspiring to see how much people care. Hearing people’s stories is inspiring in itself. I am so thankful for all the people I’ve met and everything they’ve done for me. The generosity I see on the road keeps me going.
Experiences on the Open Road
There is something intoxicating about riding a bike down an open road. There have been a few times when I was the only one on the road. These were the times that I lost myself in ways I didn’t know were possible. My mind entered a state of contemplative beauty I have never experienced before. I had days where it was my thoughts and me for 24 to 48 hours. The solitude provided a state of mind I have never experienced before. The open road allowed me to enter into a part of my mind I had never ventured before.
Long-term travel and the open road brought a state of outstanding contemplation. Biking has allowed me to sit with my own thoughts. I haven’t had any incredible “revelations,” but having the opportunity to think has been unbelievable. We don’t take enough time just to be today. This bike tour has allowed me to find a space where I can be at my pace.
Unexpected Rejuvenation of Old Connections from Long-Term Travel
One of the most unexpected surprises from this bike tour has been reconnecting with old friends. I’ve had the amazing opportunity to stop for extended periods of time and stop with old friends. This was one thing I never expected. I’ve rekindled old friendships while being able to spend a significant amount of time with my friends. Long-term travel has afforded me the opportunity to reconnect.
I have enjoyed being able to have deep conversations and spend meaningful time with good friends. I am incredibly appreciative of having the opportunity to reconnect. It’s something that I never expected, and it has been one of the best parts of the tour so far. I’ve been able to take the time to see how my friends are feeling while sharing some incredible experiences.
The First Lessons from the Road
This first part of my bike tour has been incredible. Some things I expected, but mostly it has been incredibly new and different. The tour has completely shattered my expectations. I knew I would love long-term travel, but I didn’t realize how much it would change me. I still have a lot farther to go, but now I’m even more excited to see what the road will bring.
Long-term travel can change the way you think about the world, but you don’t have to go on an extended trip to implement its effects in your life. Take some time to go on an open-ended weekend trip. Sometimes the best plans are no plans. Heading out to explore can change your outlook on life. Call an old friend to reconnect and take some time to get into a deep conversation. Go to a new city to stay with an old friend. I hope you will find some of the clarity that I’ve found.
What have been your most transformative travel experiences? What have you done to explore your backyard? Let me know in the comments!
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