The Hardest Thing

In two days I will going on the greatest solo journey of life so far. I can’t help but think about my previous solo trips: when I traveled to Europe alone for 30 days in 2016, my road trip up the Hudson River in 2014, and my 45 days around the US solo bus trip in 2003 when I was 19 years old. I want to take a moment to reflect on that particular trip.

I remember I didn’t sleep well at all the night before my bus trip. My grandma and mom put an enormous amount of guilt on me by saying that my grandma would have a heart attack if I go. They told me I would get SARS, a disease that was infamous at the time. And they called me selfish, among other things. The only person who really supported me secretly was my stepdad. He knew that the world is generally a safe place and that 99.99% of the people are good.

I was stressed out before my trip. It was the first trip I’m taking as a young adult and I did my best to prepare, putting everything I think I’ll need in one backpack. In Newark, NJ, once I got on the first of many Greyhound buses, I felt a great relief and everything turn out fine throughout my trip.

This time I’m 34 years old, but the hardest part of the trip is still the beginning. I thought I had the approval of both of my parents. Sure, my dad wished me good luck, but my mom sent me a message today to tell me that what I’m doing is selfish and I should reconsider. Sometimes it’s the people you are closest with who will do the most deterrence. However, knowing that my friends and my coworkers have encouraged me, I think I will be fine. As for my grandma, she will be 88 years old on April 18. I think it’s best that she doesn’t know about my trip.

Preparation wise, I bought some ramen, granola bars, and dried fruits for my trip. I was able to make room for the food in my pannier after I stuffed my cooking pot and fuel inside my sleeping bag. I also shaved my head and did laundry. I’m packing up the rest of my things in my room and storing them tomorrow. One thing I need to do sometime soon on my trip is to sign up for health insurance since my current insurance ends at the end of this month. Frankly, I’m shocked at how much insurance is on the marketplace. For a decent coverage, it’s about the equivalent of my monthly rent. Tell me, how is America so great when basic health coverage is so damn expensive? Countries like China can even provide inexpensive coverage to all its citizens. Not to mention the European countries.

Anyway, I called up a host on today and Sue from Elverson, PA, will be able to host me on Thursday night. I’m so excited that the first person I called was able to host me! I’ve done couchsurfing before but it usually takes 6 to 8 requests before I can find a host. I’m hoping finding hosts will be easier on Warmshowers.

When Thursday comes around, I’ll be leaving from Conshohocken, PA, near the Riverbend Cycles bicycle shop around 1 PM. I’ll be taking it easy during the first few days of bicycling. On this day, I will only bike about 35 miles to Elverson and meet up with Sue at 5 PM. I can’t wait to meet her! She seems like a very nice person on the phone.

This will probably be my last post before the ride. The next one will be from the road!