I will be riding my bicycle into the unknown much sooner than planned. I can no longer sit idly by and try to convince myself that staying in L.A. is a smart move for my career/ the weather. My desire to get back on the road and ride is uncontrollable at this point. Countless hours have been wasted applying for jobs that I would loath associating myself with. I showed up to an accounting interview in my moccasins, shorts, and a wrinkled flannel. The interviewer and I locked eyes at one moment and we each shared the same thought: “what am I doing here?” I know nothing about accounting, and I care even less about it. The most effort I put into the process was when I zoned out and imagined what this woman would look like naked. I was snapped out of the daze by her questioning. “What’s so amusing about Microsoft Excel?” I asked her to excuse me while I went to the restroom. I passed the bathroom in the hallway and just kept walking straight for the door. Once outside I took a deep breath, got on my bike, and started listening to Pavement’s Slanted & Enchanted. After getting lost in the concrete oasis that is Los Angeles, my priorities were quickly realigned.
I love this city, but there’s so much more out there that I haven’t seen yet. I realize that the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico are unforgiving this time of the year, but when are they ever sympathetic? My sense of adventure is too resilient to be put on the back-burner while I ‘wait out’ the cold weather. Call me an arrogant fool; you wouldn’t be the first to refer to me as one on this trip, but I need to see what else is out there now. There’s no doubt that once on the road I’ll begin to question my decision. There were many ventures I would have liked to fulfill in L.A. that remain unaccomplished. Was it fear, laziness, or lack of commitment that kept me from achieving these goals? No, it’s simply knowing that I presented myself with a challenge, and I must complete it before undertaking anything else. In July, I stared at a map of the United States and said “I’m going to ride across the country and back.” I have to finish what I started. What awaits me as I embark on the second leg of this journey is unknown, but that exhilarates me. There’s an indescribable thrill that accompanies waking up completely immersed in new territory, only to cycle as fast and far as possible to do the same thing the next morning. My craving for the outdoors is only exceeded by my respect and recognition the immense power of nature. However, I am also conscious of the fact that I am not deviating much from the road. If cycling west taught me anything, it’s that people are more than willing to stop and assist a traveler, even if he does not request it. I have faith in myself, my equipment, and my fellow human beings. That’s all I need.
I still think from time to time, what that woman looked like naked and I smirk. I then take comfort in the fact that I avoided one more potential prison sentence in the corporate world’s correctional facility. The open road is my cubicle, and my bicycle is a suitable office chair. I want to hold on to this feeling as long as I can, because I can’t imagine doing anything else. I would rather spend every day of my life not knowing what awaits me than becoming a slave to a predictable job I care little to nothing about. I’ve lived that life. It blows.