10 months, 21 days, and 4 hours... All that time on the road, biking towards a goal.
It was a goal that, surprisingly to us at least, had very little to do with a bike. It was a goal that had more to do with the people we met than the places we visited, and more to do with the connections we made than the money we raised along the way.
All that time on the road, with our hearts set on a goal, and later tonight we'll be back in Madison, curling up next to our dog, Juneau, and sleeping peacefully with this experience behind us.
Or maybe not so peacefully. We had a job to do this year and that job may be complete, but because of what we've experienced, we have an even greater duty ahead of us. We keep wondering, what was the true test this year?
Was it touring the 50 states by bike? Was it camping out in the elements nearly 200 nights? Was it raising $25,000 for charity? Or will it be taking all that we've learned and applying it to "real" life?
This last one seems daunting.
Mostly because we've learned so much this year ... Where do we possibly start?
I'm pretty sure it'll take months, maybe even years to sort out everything we've learned this year.
We've grown as individuals and as a couple. Our dreams have been molded by our experiences this year and we are excited to take the next step in applying what we've learned to our lives back in Madison.
But after all that time on the road, how will home feel? Where do we go from here? One of the most accessible things we've learned this year is that we really love riding our bikes.
We love that it's healthy for our bodies, healthy for the environment, and healthy for our wallets.
So here we go. Back to "real" life. Bike commuting in winter in Connecticut doesn't sound too appealing, but it's my first step in weaving together my two very different worlds. 10 months, 21 days, and 4 hours later.
We're coming home.