It’s late in the afternoon on a perfectly beautiful September day. We’re cycling down a rails-to-trails path in south central Pennsylvania, enjoying the shade from the trees around us, tired yet exhilarated from a long day that included stumbling onto a small community festival. A fellow cyclist appears on the path ahead of us, and I notice a smile on her face and a glint of recognition in her eyes. “I know you,” she says, quietly, excitedly, and she pulls up alongside me. She is a reader of our web site (pathlesspedaled.com), a follower of our cycling journey, a kindred spirit.
In July 2009, after selling all of our stuff, my partner, Russ Roca, and I left our steady lives to bicycle around the world. By that September day, we had been on the road for almost 14 months, covering nearly 9,000 miles of coastline, desert, forest, swamp and plains. I have woken up to the sunrise over our tent, soared through fields of wildflowers, and fought off hungry raccoons in the middle of the night. I have shared stories with complete strangers, continued working for myself as a metalsmith, and learned how truly capable I am. Being visibly recognizable in the middle of nowhere, however, is still a surreal experience.