“The way to recover the meaning of life and the worthwhileness of life is to recover the power of experience, to have impulse voices from within, and to be able to hear these impulse voices from within – and make the point: This can be done” — Abraham Maslow
Every journey begins with a destination in mind, so it is in that tradition that I highlight the “end-game” of this journey. To that end, my final destination is in fact two destinations, together aimed at helping me live a little better and give a little more. Let’s call them a “living destination” and a “giving destination”, and I suspect it will take me many years to fully realize them. I am pragmatic enough to acknowledge there is a possibility I won’t have enough time nor resources to fully achieve them, but I also know that at the end of the day, as I review the much larger balance sheet of my life, I will be much better off for having tried.
“To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” — Leonard Bernstein
My “living destination”, and certainly long-term pursuit, is to circumnavigate the perimeter of the continental United States by bike, section by section, over time, via five Adventure Cycling Association (ACA) routes. The route will begin and end in my hometown, Austin Texas, it will cover approximately 13,000 miles and traverse 29 states and two Canadian provinces. The following ACA routes will be traced:
Southern Tier (3070 Miles – FL, AL, MS, LA, TX, NM, AZ, CA)
Pacific Coast (1852 Miles – CA, OR, WA, BC)
ACA Northern Tier, including North Lakes and Lake Erie Connector (4264 Miles – WA, ID, MT, ND, MN, WI, MI, Ontario, OH, PA, NY, VT, NH, ME)
ACA Atlantic Coast, including the Florida Connector (3189 Miles – ME, NH, MA, CT, NY, PA, MD, VA, NC, SC, GA, FL)
My “giving destination” is to raise awareness and resources for two noble, high performing and responsible charities. One is health-related, the other of course being nature-related. I have a number of reasons for selecting these organizations (see About Brian), but ultimately I am confident in their abilities to achieve their stated goals. The two charities I have chosen are:
1. The National Brain Tumor Society, a non-profit organization inspiring hope and providing leadership within the brain tumor community. They exist to find a cure and improve the quality of life for those affected by brain tumors. They fund strategic research, deliver support services, and promote collaboration;
2. American Rivers, a non-profit organization focused on healing North American waterways by removing dams, setting up “Wild and Scenic” designations which preserve rivers as free-flowing, and working with municipalities to push measures to prevent polluted urban runoff from reaching watersheds. In addition to cycling, I love the water, especially kayaking and fishing with my sons, so this organization was a natural for me to support.
“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the Gift” – Steve Prefontaine