Today (2/5/2015) was my last day at work. It was both sad and exciting, but not quite as dramatic as I expected. I sought out all of my coworkers to be sure that I said goodbye, but for the most part the world kept turning. I hadn’t really thought much about how I would feel when this day came, but now that’s it’s here I don’t feel much different.
I have spent so much time with the people I work with over the last year and a half that they have become like family. This past week I have heard many things over and over again: “You’re going how far?!”, “You’re going by yourself?!”, “Do you have a gun?”, “You’ll be staying with strangers??”, “Are you crazy?!” I have heard these same things before from my immediate family, and though I appreciate the concern, so much doubt and disapproval is kind of draining. Fortunately, every once in a while I hear more encouraging words: “Do it!”, “If I were your age/in your position, I would do it too”, “Keep in touch, I want to see pictures!”.
A few people asked why I waited until I only had a few weeks left to tell everyone. I think it was because I knew how hard it would be to leave everyone, and I was afraid if I told them too soon I would be convinced not to go. I have wanted to do a bike tour like this since my first long ride in summer of 2012. I still remember the exhilaration and freedom I felt that night, the wind in my hair, the sun setting over San Francisco Bay behind me. When I got home that night I just thought it would be so amazing to ride a bike all over the world. Imagine my surprise when I found out that tons of people had already done it! Unfortunately, when I thought about how long it would take, I realized it wouldn’t fit in to the life I was falling into of finish my BS, get a job, and start a family. So I settled for a small trip through Big Sur instead and continued on with my plan.
Over the last year or so though, I’ve come to realize that just because we make a plan doesn’t mean we can’t change it. We have one life to live, and it’s too short to give in to “sunk costs”. If you make a plan and it turns out you didn’t like it after all or you want to add to it or change it completely, it’s not a wash. It’s actually intelligent to recognize when you need to get out or take a break, that way you don’t waste any more time. I’m not saying disregard any responsibilities and go with whatever whim comes your way, but if you are unhappy in your situation or if there is something you really want to do, you need to really evaluate your situation and figure out how to make it happen.
I am both excited and terrified for the adventure before me. I have never done anything like this before, but I know, even if I decide that I hate it after the first day of riding, that I didn’t make a mistake. Taking this risk might lead to misfortune in my near future, but I’ll never know what I’m capable of until I try, and for that I will never regret my decision. I hope my story can inspire even one person to evaluate their life and take a risk (even a small one) that they’ve always wanted to but never had the courage to. If that’s you, please let me know in the comments!