The day I left the parents house in 1998. I took off in a 1977 T-bird for the east coast. Traveled all over North America and western Europe, divorced, graduated college, went car free and lite, Several bicycle tours including a 90 day tour, and quit TV, pets, gambling, smoking, drinking .
My dad has cancer and I am headed back home a different person.
I can only imagine what my life is going to look like in another 12 years.
Yeah, For you, me and lots of baby boomers, parents' illness and death is the current big life journey.
Originally Posted by wheel
Last year, I took a couple of weeks in February to cycle around central Cuba. I wanted to see the country, not the tourist resorts. I had a great time, but what struck me the most was how the people were happy and content without the stuff we think is so important. When I told people I was from Canada, they would ask me about our winters, but not about our standard of living. That wasn't important to them.
The people had little, but they didn't think of themselves as poor. Their level of contentment inspired me. In this regard, they are much richer than many of us.
A few years ago, I had downsized my life considerably, but this trip encouraged me to take it further. It also has left me with little patience for those who think money will make them happy or those who think they are entitled to wealth.
Man some of these stories made me realize that i haven't done crap with my life.:cry:
Don't waste a single minute worrying about what you've done (or not done) in your past, focus instead on what you want to do with your future.
Originally Posted by Helms91
Originally Posted by Roody
One of the first that leaps to mind is a trip I did not take! In 1990, I heard of an organised cycling tour to celebrate an event at a college I was attending, and I wanted to ride in that cycling tour. I sort of considered myself a cyclist, in a way, because I had been cycling since I was 6 years old and I grew up in a cycling family. But I had hardly cycled at all in about 5 years.
I figured I was in quite decent shape because I did a lot of walking ... so getting ready for this cycling tour should be no problem at all.
On April 29, 1990, I went out for my first ride. I managed 2 miles and had to stop and take a break at the end of the first mile!! I could hardly believe how out of shape I was!! But I kept at it, and by later that summer I was feeling comfortable with 50 mile rides.
For one reason and another, I never participated in the cycling tour, but "training" for that tour got me into cycling "seriously" and I haven't stopped for any significant length of time since. :)
Having grown up in a cycling family, and reading Bicycling Magazine from the time I was a young child, I had read about a cycling challenge called the "Century" ... 100 miles in one day!!
So, of course, after starting to cycle more seriously in 1990 the idea of doing a century lurked in the back of my mind. In 1994, I decided to train for my first century. I gradually increased my distance, as recommended, but then I got impatient. The weekend I was supposed to do 80 miles, I figured that it was only 20 miles short of the century ... so why not go for it!
And I did.
I successfully completed the century, but when I got off the bicycle I told myself that I would never ever ride a distance like that again. The first part of the ride was fine, but the second half was a battle.
Three years passed, and for some reason, in 1997, I decided to give a century another try ... I did 2 that year. And then the long distance bug bit. I did 3 centuries in 1998, 3 centuries and a 200K in 1999 and 2000, and then I started randonneuring in 2001.
And it all started with that very challenging century in 1994. :)
Originally Posted by gerv
I have a vague memory of my first commute. I rather doubt it would have been my first day of school but perhaps later in September 1973, or maybe Spring 1974. If it was in September 1973, I would have been 6 years old.
I recall many children arriving at school by bicycle. And I recall the bicycle rack, filled with bicycles from all the children. I seem to recall that I liked to have my bicycle at one end, not in the middle. :)
I was into motorcycles. And in a marriage that was falling apart. I'd usually do an annual trip down to a motorcycle rally in GA (from ME), and 2004 was no different... except I was riding with a different perspective and a different plan, a week off after the rally to visit people I know along the way home.
In the past, I'd done SS1k endurance rides to get from ME to GA within 24hrs. This time, I went the other way and rode down to Woods Hole where I hitched a ride with friends from The Vinyard, bike on a trailer. Totally wussing out... but very much enjoying the company of some single male friends and the ordeal of a long road trip.
At the rally, it was the usual crew, not much to speak of there, but the ride home...
I stopped in Asheville NC to visit my good friends, a happily married couple. They provided a marked contrast to where I was at in my married relationship.
I stopped in Richmond VA to spend the night with a former co-worker... who had a mad crush on me. And it sucked, because if nothing else, I was faithful to my then wife, and passed on romance... or at least a night of lust.
Up to NYC, another married couple, another functional relationship in contrast to what I had going on. Both in grad school, her medical, him anthropology, crammed into a small, married couples grad student apartment in Brooklyn.
And somewhere on the stretch back to ME, it occurred to me that we were done. Time to drop the niceties and get down to the horrible business of breaking up... after 17 years of trying to make it work.
The decision was lurking around for a while on both our sides, but that trip really sealed the deal, with time away to really think -- not much else to do on a motorcycle for hours and hours at a time. Examples of different relationships which were working out much better; examples of people living single and happier.
Turned a corner in my head on that trip...
And of course, you can't anything in the future. You only have to worry about now.
Originally Posted by Cyclaholic
Mine involves a bicycle, but I wasn't riding it. Instead I was riding my motorcycle then, and had ridden it up to the hilly/curvy parts southern Wisconsin (the Kettle Moraine). Mine was a brand that was made to ride from state to state, and I used to enjoy outriding other riders on the brand assembled in that area that were designed for people who want to ride from bar to bar. I'd usually stop and rest at one of the rest stops up there and often ended up talking with other riders, but on this trip a guy rode up on what looked to me then like an old 10 speed with a cool old seatbag and funny handlebars. The rest stop was off of a trail that went from Milwaukee and Madison, and when he mentioned he was riding back to Madison after riding to Milwaukee for a big party I ended up being the one saying "you rode that far" for a change. I kept thinking about him and his trip after he took off, and decided I should try bicycling again. Now it's 9 years later, car lite and glad I started pedaling again.
Another journey that opened doors for me was my first trip to Europe.
Since I was born, I had travelled all over western USA and Canada with my family, but never off the continent. But I had been dreaming about going to Europe since I knew there was a Europe ... from about when I was 5 or 6 years old.
In 2002, I met someone from the UK, and was invited to visit. I hesitated ... right on the edge of a dream coming true. And then I thought ... why not?? I had the money, I got a passport in no time at all, and next thing I knew I was there!!
I loved it!! My friend arranged for me to have a bicycle and I cycled all over the place. I even cycled with one of the CTC clubs ... http://www.ctc.org.uk/ ... a great experience. :)
And it was a bit of a breakthrough for me. After so many years wishing I could travel to various places, but thinking it would probably never happen ... it did!! And I've been travelling since. I've even moved to a different country. :D
Another journey which changed my life...:
Commuting home on my motorcycle, drunk from hitting a bar after work, I ran into the back of a parked bus at low speed, not enough to sustain injury but enough to cause damage to the bus and wreck my bike. And attract the attention of LEO.
They rightfully arrested me DUI. I refused both field sobriety and breathalyzer tests. Automatic 180 day suspension of license for refusing tests.
In court, judge was not amused, tacked on additional 45 day license suspension for driving with out of state license, not converting to in-state within 60 days of moving. 225 day total suspension, thousands in fines, lawyer fees, and court ordered fees. Continued Without a Finding resolution.
No license, wrecked vehicle, low on cash, I started bicycle commuting... and haven't stopped. Before, I bicycle commuted largely on a lark, when conditions were awesome. Not being able to drive for 7-8 months really clarified the utility and thrift of bicycle commuting. I'd rather have eased into it, but that wasn't happening, so...
A life-changing journey in a lot of ways...
I previously posted to this thread about a life-changing journey. My cycling buddy Irwin7638 recently wrote to another thread on the Fifty-Plus Forum, and I replied with my same story:
Originally Posted by irwin7638
I took a plane from Ontario, California to Dallas, and missed my connecting flight to Little Rock because the airline had only sent my luggage as far as Dallas so I had to claim it then check it back in. Life has never been the same since.
Last year, I had gone car free and at the same time she declared she wanted to be a doctor, my 4 year old daughter also asked "How far can you ride your bike, Daddy?" I didn't know, so she asked "Can you go a hundred miles?" I said "Well... let's see."
As a survivor of a suicide attempt in 2012, I had a lot to do since I was still riding with brain damage from my overdose (still have some, actually). I got to training in May, and along the way my best bud said "I'll do it with you" and we turned it into an event called Hundred For Hope (my daughter's middle name) and we went to the press and stuff.... made it a huge gift for my daughter.
In Sep, we rode 109mi from Washington, NC to Nags Head, NC on the Outer Banks. At the very end, there was all our family and friends and my daughter holding a sign that said "Go Daddy, Go Uncle Mark!" I hugged her and said "I told you I'd do it, didn't I!!" And the smile on her face was huge.
And now we decided to do it again, and make it a bigger thing... so we're taking 10 people who want to prove to someone they love that anything is possible. www.hundredforhope.org went live the other day, and on Sep 6th, we're doing it again with more people.
Even though she doesn't want to be a doctor anymore, and wants to be an Olympic luge champion (last week she was gonna be a cowgirl)... she still gets on her pink Disney princess bike and goes "Daddy, Im gonna ride to the beach like you!!" That changed my life AND hers!!
That is such a cool story. I'm literally wiping away a tear. This was a journey that changed not only your own life, but the lives of your daughter and other people. Thanks for telling us about your journey!
Originally Posted by Blue_Bulldog
One of the best threads I've ever read on BF. Thank you all for sharing your stories.
My life changing journey happened in a small town in Arkansas - 1986. My folks were in the middle of a custody dispute over me involving the county sheriff. Very long story short, I ended up with my father in Central America only days later. I didn't really understand all the specifics being that I was only 9 years old, however traveling 10 days through the back-country of Mexico, Belize and Guatemala was an absolute adventure.
Being the kid who was always down at the creek playing with frogs and crawdads in rural Arkansas, one can imagine how awe inspired I was to be in the jungles of Central America. I do not remember how, but eventually I ended up with a 3 speed Montgomery Ward bicycle. This was my ticket to total freedom and exploration of my new home. I always had bmx styled bicycles growing up, and they merely served the purpose of wheelies and getting to the town swimming pool during the summer, however this big wheeled 3 speed allowed me to blend in with the locals, reach neighboring villages, and explore the cultural offerings of Guatemala.
Eventually (2 years later), I was dropped off in Arizona and reunited with my mother. Although happy to see my mother, emotionally I was going crazy trying to assimilate into the neighborhood. Nobody did anything. The streets were barren, all the kids stayed inside and played Nintendo, no parks with creeks, no creeks period! I eventually acquired a bicycle and never looked back.
Having experienced so much - so young, I naturally didn't seek associations with children of my own age. I grew to become an introvert, a restless introvert. Travel has since been in my blood from 1986. I've managed to integrate socially over the years. I'm no longer terribly shy and quiet. I try and get out several times a month and visit someplace new. I owe all of my adventurousness to that journey of 1986.
Great story! Thanks for sharing. I've often wondered how kids survive those bleak suburban childhoods like you experienced in Arizona. Especially for you, after experiencing the jungles of Central America!
Originally Posted by berlun