This summer, I rode my bicycle across America, unsupported and alone.
I left Boston on July 20th, and 65 days later arrived in Santa Monica. Coast to coast, from my childhood home to my current. I rode 3,904 miles, climbed 138,436 feet, and had 281 hours of riding time.
That’s 149 marathons, 4 ¾ Everests, and 35 8-hour workdays. In a row.
The ride also raised and distributed 2,436 meals.
I rode my bike across America because I wanted to. I have admired those who embark on personal pilgrimages: Noah Yuval Harari, sits in silent meditation for 60 days each year, over 20,000 have completed the Appalachian Trail, and hundreds walk the Camino de Santiago across Europe to Northwest Spain each year.
A pilgrimage is a journey, often into an unknown or foreign place, where a person goes in search of new or expanded meaning about the self, others, nature, or a higher good, through the experience.
My pilgrimage was to ride my bike across America.
I wanted to educate myself on the attitudes towards health and wellness across the country and discover the barriers that prevent many Americans from being in good health.
Having received higher education and lived in US coastal cities, wellness has been accessible to me my entire life. From my privileged window, I didn’t understand why some would choose not to participate or invest in their own health and wellness. It seemed too easy to not. And, the more I wrote, spoke, and shared my views on health and wellness, the more pushback I received. Wellness, must not be as accessible as I thought.
I’d offer affordable grocery lists, highlight free meditation apps, share the economics of sleep, and encourage natural movement, but still, something was missing.
If I wanted to advocate, with such conviction, for health and wellness, I needed to experience these barriers first-hand.
I found them, and so much more.
I found that money is not the biggest barrier to wellness.
Once the Impossible Burger went national with Burger King, I found solace in ending some of the harder days with one…