I had an awful, awful day today. Definitely ranking up there with the worst. I was told that I was being dishonest and sneaky in the way in which I was leaving the office and taking this bike trip, and of all the things that could have been said to me, this hurt the most. I have pondered continually over the past 18 months what is the right thing to do, and have gone out of my way to do it, even when it has negative effects on my life. So that is the nastiness. But it is now over.
But I suddenly felt a bit better when, on the ride home, I saw a car with a bumper sticker that said, "Not All Who Wander Are Lost". A tremendous phrase that so well describes my thoughts about the trip, I had half a mind to completely change the name of the blog (but I won't, since the funnier current title is more my style). Not all who wander are lost, but there are few that seem to know the difference.
The reactions that people give when you talk about biking across the country are widely varying. Some people simply look at you blankly, clearly cannot compute this information, and say, "Wow, you're crazy.", just as if you had announced that you were running for King of the Moon on the '08 elections. There are also some people who "get it". You can immediately tell from their eyes and their comments. But the majority of people seem to fall into another category: apathetic. These folks don't understand the motivation for such a journey, consider it a waste of time and money, and are not in any way impressed by it (not that the point is to impress people - it's just that they don't see it as any sort of challenge, as if you planned on spending nine weeks buying beer and throwing it out of car windows).
And this has been my problem at work: unimaginative bureaucrats that view this trip as an odd request (abnormal = bad) rather than as a personal challenge. They feel that approving this kind of thing would be a big favor, and see no value in it. Well, I didn't set out to do this as a passing fancy - I am doing it because it is a challenge, to see if I can, to meet the people and places of America, and to come back a better, stronger person. As Kennedy said of the journey to the moon:
"We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win."