I wish that I could fully put into words my thoughts on how I am feeling about this life-ratifying expedition that is weeks from ending. However, portraying the emotions I am feeling is like trying to describe the color blue or yellow or any other color. Go ahead, try and describe a color without pointing to it or using the word. Colors are the worst in a game of charades. I can only put my particular state of mind into hand jesters and loud grunts. I would also declare that I am in a limbo state of mind because I'm not fully convinced that this 440-day voyage is coming to an end. I've become so used to everyday being as predictable as a toddler tantrum. You would have a better time predicting the exact pattern of waves in the ocean than predicting how my day will go.
Bike Through Traffic has shown me things and allowed me to experience things that have completely changed my life in such extreme and radical ways. Yet the emotions of being back home and finished with this journey are tremendously overwhelming. I've gotten to sleep in homes with Pimps, Johns, Hells Angels, Skin Heads, Bandidos, co-producers of porn, victims of sex trafficking, drug dealers, people freshly out of jail, the poor and the extremely wealthy, the abused, neglected, mistreated, unloved, in meth houses, and in recovery houses for drug addicts, in homeless shelters, and even had bears and alligators greet me in my tent/ hammock. I have slept in police stations, and fire departments. I've gotten to witness and share the Gospel with atheist, satanist, Hindus, Buddhist, Muslims, and new-age free spirits. I've biked through every single terrain imaginable and in about every weather possible. I’ve had more heat strokes then I can even count, been put in the hospital for hypothermia, been sleep deprived to the point of hallucination than having to bike 60- 80 miles in the blistering heat, or pouring rain. Ran out of food and water plenty of times and I’ve been chased by enough animals to start my own zoo. I have spoken about sex trafficking and pornography in every major church denomination whether that is to the full congregation or a small group and youth group. I’ve even been kicked out of churches and told that what I am doing is not biblical. Spoken in bars, concerts halls, festivals, and café’s. I’ve educated kids of all ages in the public school system from elementary to high school and spoke in lecture halls in many universities. Sat down with politicians and judges, taught law enforcement and fire fighters what to look for when they may be in a situation to help a victim of sex trafficking and to arrest the right people. I have listened to survivors stories and sat down with other abolitionist. Discussed plans of action with CEO’s of big corporations that they have now implemented through their company. Established education programs in universities so students can learn what to look out for. Been persecuted, beat down, and defeated. But also been lifted up, victorious, and blessed beyond measure. This has been my life for fifteen months.
Are you starting to feel the emotions that are going through my soul? This expedition has put me in situations that are extremely hard to come back from and go back to a so called normal life style. Of course we all know that I am not going to be living a normal life after something like this. This is why I am so torn about being back because I want this to continue, yet I also want there to be a stronger constant fellowship that is backing me so I can live the radical life style that I have been called to live. If I do something of this extreme again I will need someone with me for the whole journey. We are not meant to do things alone and now I know why Jesus sent His disciples out in pairs of two: if you have someone with you who can build you up then you will have a much easier time building others up.
The journey back home however has got me in an “Ears Back” state of mind. My Grandpa tells the story from his childhood where he would be riding a certain horse that would be sluggish every time they went out and not wanting to leave home. But as soon as they were heading back to the stable the horse would pull its ears back and race home. This is where a lot of us lose focus on our mission and the whole reason why we set out in first place. Everyone thinks that when climbing a mountain the end goal is the peak but it’s not. The end goal is arriving back-down to the base. Many climbers actually get stuck in terrible situations because they exert all of their energy for the peak rather than conserving their resources to get them back off the mountain.
We are not finished until we are finished. So often we look forward to the end rather than staying in the current moment. We will miss opportunities if we are more focused on the end rather than the journey. We will give up before we even start or shortly after we have begin if our focus is in the wrong place.
I remember when I first started this trek I was three days in, still with friends and about to leave my familiar life style. Keep in mind I already had a rough start with forgetting my phone, wallet, walking shoes, and all my chargers. By day four I was already camping out on the side of the highway, my legs and butt were killing me, I had one Cliff bar and no water, and the closest town was 40 miles away. I debated so hard to give up then and act as if the last year of planning never happened, I would go back to working at Sierra Trading Post or some other dead end job (no offense to STP, I loved that job). I even thought about all my sponsors and donors and how I would pay them back. As I laid in my tent, just feet from the highway and snugged up to the barb-wire fence on the planes of eastern Colorado, the stench of cows in the air and the sound of coyotes in close proximity I was standing face to face with one simple question – “Why am I here?”. Truthfully, I had forgotten. I was beating myself up thinking how stupid I was to even begin such a ridiculously lofty adventure – I must be insane. For lack of better judgment or stubborn pride I trudged on.
It wasn't until day seven when I realized why I started this. I crossed my first state line into Syracuse, Kansas and planned to meet up with a pastor who offered to put me up in a hotel for the night. As I got into town I found the pastor and we ventured over to the hotel that for some reason was closed down. Now Syracuse is a small town, so it only had one hotel. As we scratch our heads trying to figure out what's going on we decide to get some food and figure out our next plan of action. We didn't have to walk far because the restaurant was right next door to the hotel. Immediately after opening the doors to this dinning establishment we are greeted by a lady in her mid 60’s. The first words out of her mouth were, “Do you need a place to stay?” I was shocked because how could she of know that. At a loss for words she went on, “I saw you looking at the hotel. The owner died two days ago. My name is Grandma Gay, you can stay at my house.” Trying to process all the things she had just said my mind thought something like this: “Gay owner died in hotel. No wait! Grandma is gay, killed hotel owner. No that's not right. Hotel died, Grandma Gay offering room. Close enough!” The words that came out of my mouth after processing were, “Did you say your name was Grandma…?” Without hesitation she interjected and said, “Yep, Gay.” With a little more thought processing I said that I would love to stay with her but first I needed food.
This story is the reason why I set out in the first place. I wanted to meet people where they are at, put the needs of others before my own and build people up. Grandma Gay showed me what it meant to meet people where they are and to lay down your life for the needs of others. In her eyes I wasn’t a stranger, I was a soul in desperate need of care. And Grandma Gay without even a second thought offered me everything she had.
Needless to say I continued on. I wish I could tell you that I never thought about quitting again after that but truthfully it was a regular thought with sometimes daily thoughts of giving up. If I would of quit all of those seeds that are now planted would of never been planted. I also realized that this task before me was something that was bestowed upon me to live out. It was my responsibility to see it to the end and I couldn't give up because this was a task given to me in which I couldn’t fail.