On Sunday July 18, 2021, I cycled down my sister’s driveway in Rhinebeck, NY (an hour and a half drive from New York City) to begin a solo bicycle tour to Chicago—a brief deviation from my route cycling around the world. I felt called to connect back to my community after spending a year and a half in Australia during Covid and the previous 2 years cycling Europe and Southeast Asia.
The result of this solo cycle tour was an abundance of kindness, generosity, and hospitality everywhere I went. After hearing so much anger and distrust from friends, family, and the media in America over the last several years, I was confirmed in my faith in humanity.
I was accepted into peoples homes. I was fed incredible food. I engaged in dynamic conversation. Whenever I needed it, people stopped to help. My hosts organized talks. I was on local radio stations.
The route from Yanchep to Carnarvan follows the coastal highway. The distance between towns is typically 50 to 150 km. Most of these are seaside villages based on tourism with populations of anywhere from 5 to 5,000. Because there are many peninsulas and the coastline is not always straight, it is necessary to turn off the main road, often several hundred kilometers to get to a coastal town.
Yanchep (just outside of Perth) to Leeman
We said goodbye to the kangaroos and koala bears in Yanchep National Park which is a bit inland and headed northwest to the coast.
One of the best parts of cycling in Australia is the wild camping. Because the country has a low population and so much of it is empty, open land, wild camping is not only possible but often a necessity. Sometimes we camp on the edge of the town where we have to find a spot hidden away. Usually, in the outback, all we have to do is pull off to the side of the road and hopefully we can find an area of trees or at least bushes where we can be protected from the wind. The sunrise, the sunset, the stars, and cooking a simple, hearty, well-deserved meal with the little camping stove are the simple pleasures. I am reminded over and over how much I crave wide open space, and moving through different landscapes and cultures. It is this basic beauty and simplicity that I love so much.
What I learned by challenging myself and moving out of my comfort zone
There is no doubt that most of us are completely outside our comfort zone and feel challenged and tested by the current state of the world. But I would like to suggest that it is completely different to CHOOSE your own challenge. We are being shown that nothing is stable, safe, or predictable no matter how hard we try to make it that way.
The more I conquer the challenges I make for myself, the easier it is to face external challenges. By learning to embrace the uncomfortable and unpredictable, we find ourselves more deeply along with little gems and pieces of magic. I could suggest that we all have a challenge(s) waiting inside of us— that little thing we want to do but down’t allow ourselves because the little voice in our head says “not now” or “who do you think you are to believe you can do that?”
1. It is more important to pursue my own goals and wishes than live a life pleasing others.
Is there something that you really want to do, but don’t because you believe that friends or family do not support you, judge you, or you are afraid that you will let them down?
This is a tough one. I always believed that I lived outside the box of the opinion of others.
Walking Through the Night (The Entire Night) With Two 13-year Old Boys—They Are My New Heroes!! Our Boys Can Do So Much More Than We Give Them Credit For
We knew we were headed in the right direction. We had a map and a compass. We knew there was no chance to get too lost. We knew this area so well. But we kept doubting ourselves.
It was nearly midnight as we ascended up the hill to reach the plateau. We had already been walking for five hours—Wexler (my son), JP (his friend), and me. At this point, it was unclear if we were on the correct path. We had walked this stretch several times before. But it felt different. The final water crossing, the one we expected would be up to our waist, was much tamer. Although the water was running at a fierce pace, we were able to scurry across the boulders in the flooded creek on all fours, without really walking through the rapid current. This was so much different from last year. Last year, we literally raised our bags above our heads as we waded through the waist deep water, careful not to step on any rocks or trip on any submerged boulders which would cause us to fall into the freezing water.
On January 7, 2020, I was going about 60 km down a hill in a remote part of Australia when I got the speed wobbles (also called a death wobble) where the bicycle starts to violently shake back and forth. That is about all I remember because after that I lost consciousness. Apparently, I flew over my bicycle on my head (yes, I was wearing a helmet) and slid on my face breaking my four front teeth. My partner was ahead of me. He said I started screaming as I was flying. He turned around to watch me sliding. I do not remember anything until about half an hour later when four strangers were standing over me. I was air lifted to the hospital.
In August 2019, I was interviewed by, in my opinion, one of the best podcasters out there; Sarah Williams of the Tough Girl Podcast.
I am a 49 year old gypsy cyclist. I am cycling around the world absorbing what I can from the experience of traveling through countries that are so foreign to what I know. While I am limited by language—meaning that I do not speak local languages—I learn so much just by taking the journey.
It is four hundred miles down the coast of Oregon from the very north to the border of California—a combination of dramatic beauty with a harsh and grueling environment with sweeping winds in an extremely remote landscape. Who would want to spend time in this testing environment?
It is the middle of the night. I am in the tent at a campground on the Oregon Coast. It is cold and I do not want to get up. But I have to pee. I open the zipper of the tent. There is a flap from the outer cover where it is possible to keep our backpacks while we sleep. Our backpacks are gone.
We take a bus from Portland, Oregon to Warrenton and start walking. It is a dark day and it beings to rain. After about 6 miles, we stick out our thumb and a nice gentleman gives us a ride to the campground. People are incredibly friendly here.