FOREWORD: I’m systematically adding content to my blog’s tabs that have been empty since I began this bike tour seven months ago. The following is a short description I wrote in the “What is this Craziness?” section about who I am and where I come from. It’s a push-pull exercise in humility and pride to summarize your life, to melt it down to the interesting and relevant, then display it to the world. Though much is left out of course, I hope this blog flare adds a new dimension to my content, allowing those new to this site to understand this cyclist/blogger’s roots and those die-hard fans who know me best (thanks mom!) to laugh a little at what I consider my life’s defining moments.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The author keeps drifting farther and farther from his birthplace, Dickinson, North Dakota, U.S.A.—most likely to escape the genetic, almost Canadian disposition of thinking snow is an acceptable phenomena. At age four, he moved south(ish) to the small town Wayne, Nebraska (pop. 5,000) where he spent his formative years sneaking popsicles from the freezer and playing with objects of high-scarring potential in the backyard. He knows what is inside a golf ball thanks to gasoline and hedge cutters. He once shot a squirrel with a homemade bow-and-arrow, then progressed in violence to slingshots and BB guns. Now he repents more than boasts about this projectile past.
Sports were discovered soon after, and thus his after-school hours were consumed and his small town worth increased. As a fifth grader he skipped Valentine’s Day wrestling practice to go on his first date, nervously waiting until the credits to initiate the fabled hand-hold. This is when he realized he’d rather wrestle girls, even if it was decidedly more difficult. He quit the spandex sport the next day, dedicating himself solely to basketball and football for the duration of his school days.
One summer during high school he lived and studied Spanish in Barcelona, Spain. If definitive moments are as dramatic as Hollywood would like us to believe, where what existed before and after the flash of clarity is like a store front before and after a riot, then this time abroad forever transformed the author’s life into a sort of global Easter egg hunt. From this moment on, instead of searching under couch cushions or in corn fields, he would look toward the horizon and travel there if necessary to find the prize.
He attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln—instead of the University of Hawaii as he often fantasized while skating to class on sidewalks of ice—and completed undergraduate degrees in International Business, Spanish, and Latin American Studies. Though his diplomas have served him well somewhere in box in his parents’ closet, his real education was hard-won studying in Mexico and Costa Rica. It was this year away meeting people from all walks of life, not the many hours of university grammar classes, that perfected his Spanish.
Upon reentry into the U.S. the author almost immediately decided to leave again, not giving reverse culture shock a chance to cool its hot head. For one year he worked as a Jimmy John’s delivery driver and medical interpreter to save money, sold his mustard-colored Ford Escort, then relocated to Costa Rica to attend a public university. In the tiny green country he held various paid positions, of which include the oh-so-impressive titles of bilingual telemarketer (“I outsourced myself!”) and professional translator.
Later, the author worked for a study abroad organization based out of the “Live Music Capital of the World,” Austin, Texas, U.S.A. He traveled the nation extensively to speak to university students about academic opportunities abroad. Conversations with students that reminded him of his younger self brought him immense joy. During the muggy Texas summers he was program director in Costa Rica helping students realize that drinking themselves silly in a foreign country will not make them fluent in the country’s language.
It was in Austin, Texas that the author met Bob and Surly while stubbornly and purposefully living car-less on even the hottest Lone Star days. This unlikely crew’s coming together, not just for beer and poker as was their initial common interest, but to explore the unexplored while laughing through even the deepest sorrows, is proving to be the most definitive moment to date in the author’s meager yet happy existence. This sentence onward is unwritten history.