Aug 31, 2010

One Adventure Ends, Another Begins

I have barely began telling the story of this trip, but I feel a deep urge to write about the ending as it happens. I’m rolling out of the Lyon train station, and I can’t help but get this weird feeling of déjà vu. Twenty four days ago, I traveled down the same tracks and saw the exact same sites. But everything was different then. I’m not going to go into some rant about how traveling through Europe has changed my life. Three and a half weeks on the road is barely long enough to make your clothes dirty. But traveling alone, thousands of miles away from anyone resembling a friend, does change a person. You learn a lot about yourself when you are alone.

Taking myself out of my element was something that I should have done a long time ago. In a weird way, I almost feel like I matured a bit in the last few weeks. Everyday on the road brought a new challenge, and everyday I was forced to make a decision. In any sense, my encounters, adventures, and countless days under the warm Mediterranean sun gave me a new perspective on my life. So many people take trips to “find themselves.” I didn’t find myself, I just opened my eyes a little wider. Life can’t always be about the goals achieved or the tasks accomplished. Maybe it is more about the people you influence and the people that you allow to influence you? As an endurance athlete, I’m constantly engaged in this mission to understand my body. Not only to understand how it functions physically, but how and why I make certain decisions. If I could truly figure myself out, I could figure out how to push my body to my absolute limit. Well, spending the last twenty four days on a bike, definitely gave myself a small glimpse into my own head.

Like any trip, I had good days, bad days and really bad days. But everyday taught me something about myself. I made numerous friends along the way, had some amazing conversations, and took a little bit away from every single encounter. Following this post is the story of my trip. Like any good story, certain details may be left for a long bike ride or evening at the bar, but I will do my best to share as much as possible.

As the sun sets in France and I pass through the Alps on my way back to Geneva, my mind races. I have that weird feeling deep down when you know your life is changing. Regardless, I know where my life is heading and my eyes are open wide. My heart is settled and I know what I want to accomplish. My life is Ironman and nothing else. I am healthy, strong, focused, and ready to uncover something I have spent years searching for. It is time to create my own destiny. It is time to write a story that I will never need to tell.