Thursday, May 14


I've been wrestling with the idea for a good six or seven years now, and I've finally decided to do it.

On June 1 (tentatively), I will begin to ride my bicycle from NYC, headed west, to the Pacific Ocean. The end point is still in question and something I need to figure out within the next two weeks. I'm thinking San Francisco or San Diego. Or somewhere in between. I hear Santa Barbara is nice. But before I can plan the end, I need to finish planning the beginning stretch.

In one sense, I ride for the joy of riding, adventure, and long distance travel. In another, I ride to share with anyone who will listen about the situation many immigrant asylum seekers find themselves in once arriving to the United States.

I work with an organization called Sojourners (NOT Sojourners as in Jim Wallis or the magazine) which works with asylum seekers that have been detained in Elizabeth Detention Center, in Elizabeth, NJ. We take van loads of folks over to visit with detainees, build relationships, share life, and let them know they are not forgotten. It's a sad thing - many who flee their home country because of religious or political persecution come expecting to be welcomed into the land of the free but find a different kind of greeting.

Instead, they are immediately put into detention centers around the country, despite being non-criminals, where they go through the immigration courts in order to prove their case - that they do indeed face persecution in their home country. Between harsh living conditions, being separated from family members, predatory lawyers, non-transparent court hearings, and the difficulty that comes with learning a new language, the process can sometimes be quite dehumanizing. We visit to acknowledge their humanity, claim their dignity, and share life. For more information, check out the Sojourner blog.

Planning is going well - I've budgeted my costs, looked over maps, and this weekend will begin to plot out the detailed route so I can contact churches, Rotary Clubs, and other community groups that will have me (thinking maybe 2-3 a week).

Decisions still to be made:
My diet. Cycling long distance = lots of calories being burned .: What kind of diet am I going to need to not die?
Will I have a partner to ride beside me? (My friend Ivan is considering. If not, I may hold interviews for interested Craigslist adventurists!)
What will my book list be and will I take an iPod?

This is my vanilla! It's a small scoop by now, I've been licking it for years. So long now that I almost forgot it was there. Currently, I'm trying to get it all over my face so I can still enjoy it but get to the mint-chocolate-chip (Breyers, of course, for those that know me best) in time before it melts. Damn I love ice cream.

1 comment:

Amber Lyvers said...

nate this is awesome! Good Luck! we miss you.

Centre Swimming and Diving