Wednesday, March 7, 2012

New Adventure, New Job!

It was the end of a long day. While sweeping the floor of the storefront, Adam was remembering the conversations he had with the numerous customers he met at Trailblazer. One man was on his way to Uganda. Another to Chili. After a year-long dream adventure on a bike, Adam was restless and thrived on the stories he heard while working part time at our local outdoor retailer in between photography jobs.

But while he swept, his cell phone rang, waking him from his daydream. On the line was Sarah from Bikes Belong, the bike advocacy organization that we had recently applied to for the position of Events Manager Team. Sarah told Adam that they wanted to fly us out to Boulder, CO to meet with them!

I can only imagine what Adam must have felt while sweeping the floor at his part time job and all of a sudden getting a call from an organization that wanted to actually pay for us to fly out to Boulder, CO of all places! What a high! And within a few days, we were on a plane.

Boulder was a whirlwind, almost literally. The winds were crazy strong and the planes were unpredictable, delaying our flights in and out of Denver. And we thought headwinds only hurt while biking!! But knowing that travel is full of unexpected turns, we made the best of the situation and an unexpected 3 hour layover in Atlanta gave us one last chance to read more about Bikes Belong, their campaign, and many of the other Bikes Belong initiatives. We felt completely prepared for our final interview.

Throughout the day, we met with most of the staff at Bikes Belong including Tim Blumenthal, the president, and Bruno Maier, the VP. They explained a little more about the job, telling us we'd be traveling in a new Jetta TDI to events located in the eastern part of the United States in order to tell as many people as possible about the importance of bikes.

A little about Bikes Belong and their People for Bikes campaign:

The goal of Bikes Belong is simply to get more people on bikes more often.

The goal for the campaign is to unite one million voices in support of bike riding in order to lobby for continued funding for better infrastructure and programs.

Our goal? To get as many people as possible to sign the pledge, saying they are in support of bike riding (shouldn't be that hard, right? I mean, I know you've just clicked on the link and signed the pledge- that's one more closer to the goal). We signed the pledge over a year ago before the start of our Give a Bike tour and now we'd be traveling the country in search of more people to sign. This was a dream job for us and our smiles just kept getting bigger and bigger throughout the day.

At lunch, we were offered the job.

Funny enough, throughout the meetings with the Bikes Belong staff, what was brought to our attention the most wasn't the different programs they ran and funded (there'd be time enough later for all of that), but the flexibility we'd need while traveling with each other throughout the United States while sitting next to each other in a Volkswagen. Basically, they want to make sure that we could adapt to deal with the un-expected. If we hadn't already passed that test last year, riding our bikes through all 50 States, we were lucky enough to be put to the test once more on our flights in and out of Boulder.

On the way home, an unexpected overnight in Charlotte allowed us to reflect on the exciting day we had.

Today, we fly out again to Boulder for the start of our new job- (and to pick up our new car!!). You all kept telling us that our challenge of riding through all 50 states would open up doors for us in the future. We're just blown away that the doors have opened so quickly with a job that fits us so well.

Can't wait!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Nobody Said It'd Be Easy... Nobody Said It Would Be This Hard

We're baaaccckkkkk!!!!

So we couldn't just end it without giving our 50 State Tour a proper goodbye post, but we were having a really hard time coming to terms with being done.  It's been two months and we still can't say goodbye.

We get out on the bikes as much as we can, but a two mile ride to my mom's just isn't the same.  Every once in a while, I'll be laying in bed and I hear the all too familiar Coldplay song from our Give a Bike video coming from the speakers of Adam's computer.  It still puts a smile on both of our faces.

Most of you told us it'd be hard to come back to 'real life' and there was never a minute that we doubted you... but we weren't ready for just how challenging it really would be.

When preparing for a journey, you prepare yourself for ups and downs.  For everyday challenges.  For knowing that in the end, it would all be worth it.  But you don't prepare yourself to go back to life as you once knew it.  You might think that your new life may resemble your old life, but there is a big void missing.


So instead of settling back in and coming to terms with the fact that our incredible year is over, we're trying to enjoy a bit of a break, save up some money, and figure out what else is in store for us.   In the meantime, we've been focusing on all the good that comes out of being home, though I'll admit it's an odd mix of longing for the adventure of the open road along with enjoying the comforts of being static.

Some of our happy times:

Getting to see our nephew Remy grow up.  He's just starting to take his first steps.

Riding a bicycle without carrying our home in the panniers.

Not having to eat the entire stick of Kielbasa all at once... refrigerators are genius!

Sleeping on a mattress every night.  No box spring or frame yet... let's not rush into things here.

Adam and I have been setting aside time to plan what's next. The questions we've been struggling with are: Do we somehow continue with Give a Bike? Do we start a new adventure? Do we go back to old jobs? Or do we use the skills we've learned along the way to work towards a new career?  You know, one of those things that might make us money so we don't have to ask you for it again.

After spending some time, still uncertain of where we would go from here, we received word of a position for the Bikes Belong Coalition and their initiative.  We were intrigued. Reading further, we noticed the job is actually for a team of two. Alright!  It involves traveling the country. Even better! And we'd be motivating more people to get out and ride more often!  Can't get much better than that!

Hiking on Kauai

So we've put in our application and are crossing our fingers, but this job opening has already given us so much.  It's given us hope.  We were lost, unsure of where to go or how we might be able to combine our passions and our talents in a career.  But this job opening is proof that there are jobs out there that fit us.

With this new found hope, we're able to more easily see that the Give a Bike: 50 State Tour is not over.  It was just our beginning.

Kauai's Kalalau Trail

Thanksgiving Dinner with Pam, Pete, and Dave.

Making a Palm leaf bowl


Snorkeling with turtles

Our muddy hike on top of Kauai

Tahiti Nui (I guess there was a scene from The Descendants in this bar)

Above Hanama Bay with Zach

And no other but.... Dog The Bounty Hunter, himself!