There were a lot of reasons why I decided to launch off across America on a bike, but the main one was that I just wanted to - to be more specific, I felt I needed to.
I wanted to head off into the wilderness, towards places and people that scared me because I knew nothing about them, and to see what would happen when I arrived. How would I respond? If it went well, I would learn to trust in myself a lot more. If it went badly, at least I'd know comprehensively that I was in fact a wimp, and I should return home to wrap myself back up in cotton wool.
For 4000 miles I zigzagged my way across the North American landmass, living primarily on the kindnesses of the characters who populated my story. And that is how it felt a lot of the time - like an unreal, storybook adventure, where anything could (and did) happen. I'd never been this far out towards the edge of experience before. Here there were no rules, no sense of predetermined happenings. It scared the crap out of me daily, but each night I slept soundly with a deep internal certainty that I was living the oft-misunderstood notion of 'a life less ordinary.'
Now here I am in London, years on from when I first set off. I didn't stick to life on the road indefinitely - eventually I got bored and frustrated with being a poor and smelly nomad. I came to learn that I enjoy most having roots in one place, and using that as a base for self-contained explorations of places that interest me and where I think I can tell a good and worthwhile story (I may still be poor, but I'm now only occasionally smelly or nomadic!)
Adventure is relentless in the hold it takes on us once we've experienced it. Someone tried explaining it to me once through science - how our body releases dopamine and adrenalin in moments of high tension or anxiety (anything from running a red light to jumping out of a plane to going into a war zone) and once our system has a taste...it wants more. In my less intellectual approach, all I can confirm is that adventure, unknown, fear - these are all things we at once avoid and crave; avoid because they come hand in hand with potential disaster, but crave because we know they can also bring out the best in us.
I saw incredible things over those 6000 miles from New York to the Mexican border, and I met people that I'll never forget. I hope those aspects of the story can provide as much joy to readers as they did to me when I first experienced them. Above all, however, I hope that my story feels somewhat relevant. Many of us feel the need to go and do something wild. Some of us do go, others don't and often wish they had. A rite-of-passage journey might seem a somewhat abstract notion, so perhaps think of it more as the desire to do something totally different for the first time, something way outside of the norm, something utterly mould-breaking.
I want to share this story because I honestly think it's a good one. I really hope it'll help provide a bit of impetus if you're on the verge of launching into the unknown yourself. If that's not something you've ever considered, then I'd like to plant the thought! I probably would never have made the leap without the encouragement of knowing many before me had done the same, so in the end, I want to share my adventure in the hope that it encourages and fosters yours.
If you would like to read the book when it is release, pop your email in the box below and I'll keep you updated on how and when you can get a copy.