I have lived and traveled extensively in Asia for 20 years. Fatherhood is my greatest joy. Beyond fatherhood I am a hard core adventure traveller and avid cyclist. My travels have taken me to nearly 100 countries, many off beat and out of bounds (North Korea, Bhutan, Cuba, Kowloon). And I have ventured through locales ranging from Guangdong to Tuscany to Harlem on two wheels.
Last summer my employer, a major Hollywood studio, agreed to a two month sabbatical from my day job in television. In thinking about all the possibilities for this sabbatical, two things resonated. I wanted to do an epic bike trip, and to pedal with a purpose. Settling on a transcontinental bike trip was the easy part: It’s been a dream for many years; the route traverses some beautiful parts of the U.S., and the dates fit neatly into my son’s summer holiday schedule.
It took me much longer to settle on the charity to support. I spent months evaluating various causes, and happened upon A New Day Cambodia (ANDC) through a friend’s introduction. I visited Phnom Penh in January, met the kids and the founders, and observed the charity in action. I immediately connected to the good work A New Day Cambodia does, and to the very special kids in Cambodia that benefit from this work. ANDC emphasizes education and English language learning to break the poverty cycle. What really impressed me about the kids at ANDC is their hopefulness, confidence, sense of future; many whom I spoke to aspire to professional careers. None of this would be possible without ANDC’s nurturing.
While on this ride I am also looking forward to a big dose of Americana, to reconnecting with my home country at ground level — meeting new people, going new places, seeing new things. Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere. And sometimes in the middle of nowhere you find yourself. For the record, what I am hoping to find on this trip mainly through rural America, is pure air, country roads free of cars, motels with hot showers and clean sheets, and abundant availability of great ice cream along the way. After all, with the calories I’ll be burning, there will be no need to count them.
On this ride I intend to:
– Arrive at the Atlantic Ocean and immensely enjoy myself along the way
– Cycle EFSI — every friggin’ safe inch — of this transcontinental route
– Raise at least US$30,000 and awareness for A New Day Cambodia
– Find the best ice cream in America
– Find the prettiest barn in America
This summer will be a memorable one for my son, as the city slicker turns farm boy. He will spend much of the summer hanging with grandpa and grandma at Stonefield Farm, the Miller residence in the Kentucky bluegrass. Stonefield Farm is almost a perfect antipode to Hong Kong. During the summer grandpa, grandma and Huey will also hit the road by car to intersect with my ride at various points.
It’s also with a considerable amount of gratitude that I embark upon Transamerica 2010. Gratitude that I have the energy and the means for an epic journey. Gratitude to my family and the many friends, work and industry colleagues that are helping me in big and small ways on this journey. Gratitude to my boss for consenting to this sabbatical. Gratitude at the chance to pedal with a purpose on a cause for which I truly want to go the distance. Thank you all.
And thank you, reader, for your interest in this endeavour. Follow your bliss.