Monday, November 29, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
He trudges on, pedaling arduously. He travels for miles and miles, with nothing but the sound of bicycle tires spinning on the pavement. June’s rays illuminate the road ahead but harshly darken the skin around his Teva-sandaled feet. Carrying merely what his bike can hold, he moves forward to the next destination on the map. Distinct white lines catch the corner of his eye as he looks for a place to rest his head for the night. Sunset falls; he sets up camp and sleeps until dawn. Day breaks; he awakens in search of a nearby diner before embarking again toward the California coast. This morning, bitter black coffee will just have to do. He climbs back on his beloved 1970 Schwinn bicycle in search for something new to behold. Perhaps he’ll meet a friendly face or encounter a mountain range or even take a wrong exit off the highway and find himself terribly lost. Distance and solitude encompass his journey. Time stops, only nature consumes his thoughts. Away from home and away from a schedule, he desires only the necessary and relishes in the peace of endless possibility.
He began his journey in Emerald Isle, mid-spring, with another bicyclist. After his companion grew weary of the tour and regressed home, he traveled solo, biking an average of seventy miles a day. To catch his breath, he stayed with a fine southern family in Georgia who provided absolute luxury in terms of a warm shower and cake for his twenty-fourth :) birthday. He faced challenges as the weeks progressed—backtracking eighteen miles for a forgotten book bag in South Carolina, two broken spokes in Mississippi, a sprinkler accident underneath his tent in Texas, voracious winds in Oklahoma (that made reading Grapes of Wrath during his travels absolutely fitting), and waiting hopelessly for a bike shop to open. Nevertheless, he continued. Although short-lived, he developed friendships with fellow cyclists and even learned the art of bee removal in Albuquerque. Deep conversations marked his contact with the people he encountered, giving him a respite from loneliness. But it was in the quiet moments, under his “speckled sky,” that he found peace. These were the moments he spent watching the desert sunsets, the moments he spent overlooking the immense Pacific Ocean, the moments he spent basking in the glory of the redwood forests. Sheltered by the shimmering stars and nestled between the rolling hills of the coast, he laid down to sleep, reminiscing his cross-country travel. Thinking. Dreaming. Believing.
Who is this he you ask? He is my brother—a brother five years older than I. A brother I never learned to appreciate until I noticed the zest and sparkle that characterized his life. Growing up, he and I were on the complete opposite ends of the spectrum. Always musically and poetically talented, he cared less about grades or society’s standards. Not afraid of change and always requiring very little, he did things for the sake of adventure and discovery, eventually earning money along the way to backpack across Europe. I, on the other hand, was the straight A student and a perfectionist in all sense of the word. I was the girl running back and forth from ballet class, the girl working draining hours after school in the newspaper room, the girl spending her Sunday afternoons scribbling to-do lists all over her planner. I guess that’s what makes us so different. But no matter the difference, he has something in himself that deep down I aspire to share. Do I have the ambition to travel alone across the country without the daily comforts that I am so accustomed to? Probably not. But his voyage emphasized contentment in a slower-paced way of life, serene moments of escape, and a return to a simplicity that I someday wish to experience myself. He saw the world from a different perspective—a perspective shaped by lush surroundings and meaningful individuals who helped him along the way. But most importantly, his perspective was shaped by embarking on a goal and achieving it, on his own, atop two wheels.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
"Change is the essence of life; be willing to surrender who you are for who you could become."
"Sometimes you just need to distance yourself from people. If they care, they'll notice. If they don't, you know where you stand."
Change is inevitable, especially in college. People can say what they want, telling you you're turning into a completely different person, or that you're not the person that they want you to be. But you know what? Maybe a new environment is making you the person you're supposed to be. Maybe the new faces, the new experiences, your new-found ideas morph you into someone for the better. There's only so much you can do to please these people. Sometimes it's better to leave them be, stand on your own two feet for awhile, and trust your instincts. Change can be scary, but nonetheless necessary.