Back on the East Coast – Ben’s Wrap Up

After 3 weeks on the west coast, 36+ hours on a bus, two transcontinental flights, and over 450 miles of biking… I am back in Atlanta. I am not quite the same person I was when I left. I have met more people in the past few weeks than I can even imagine, and have become friends with some that will last forever.

Biking the coast with Jason was an incredible way to finish up the summer, and even though it cost more than I had planned, it is something I would do again in a second. I got to know him better then ever, and after starting off college with him as my roommate, this was the perfect end.

We both hit our lows and realized that we could keep going, even if it meant eating Raman and beans for dinner. The highs were the most natural, endorphin powered highs I have ever felt. After struggling uphill for hours, the feeling of cresting the top with an endless view of the Pacific Ocean rimmed by jagged cliffs covered in rolling fog is one that I will never forget. The silent pause at the top was always followed by a rush as we tipped our bikes forward and pointed the front wheel down, racing towards the bottom at up to 50 mph.

Once we made it out of the mountains, we had a few days of nice, flat, country biking before we hit the cities. City biking is dangerous, stressful, and bumpy. But it is also interesting because of how many people you run into. (Literally, only once, and he hit me.)

Right now I am struggling to acclimate back into real life. I am only in town for a month, so it is a strange feeling. Until yesterday I had not driven a car in almost a month, and had only ridden in one twice. I can go to the store and buy whatever I want right now, which is a strange feeling. I have to make a decent amount of money soon, and I am trying to sell my car. All of which take time, and a different kind of energy than I am used to. I have found that I began regulating my time to living in the most basic sense. When biking, it was all about water, food, energy, and where are we staying, how do we get there. In the middle of the desert at Burningman, it was water, shade, water, food. Don’t move to much during the day or you will get heat stroke. My body went from 8,000+ calories a day while biking to less than 1500 in the heat. Now that I am back, I slept for 13 hours last night, and woke up feeling a little lost, as if I should have something to physically occupy my time all day. Downtime is not something I am used to.

Other than the physical changes (I am tan, lean, and very bearded) I now find myself to be more outgoing than I ever have been before. People are simply people, they all have their problems, concerns, and joys. They all also want to interact with others, they just don’t know how to do it all the time. If you can make their life interesting for a second, they appreciate it. it also makes your day worthwhile. Traveling is not about places, it is about the people that make those places unique. You can find these people everywhere, even at home.

My next trip is a simple one up the East coast to see my friends again before I head to Asia.