One summer in her late twenties, Emily and her friend Mary rode their bicycles from Cape May, New Jersey to Oceanside, Oregon. In three months on the road, they battled 14% grade hills, tornado-force winds, and 110 degree heat. They were sheltered and fed by everyone from nuns to cowboys. They swam in the Missouri River, climbed the Rocky Mountains, and crossed the Continental Divide—three times. And eventually, they reached the Pacific.
Emily left on the trip in the hope of finding peace and happiness away from the clutter of life, a permanent solution to depression that she could bring home with her. With nothing to do but ride her bike all day, out under the open sky, life would be simpler… or would it?
In her memoir of the trip, Emily recounts the slow journey across America, from the rainy forests of Pennsylvania through the cornfields of the Midwest and on to the Badlands, Yellowstone National Park, and eventually the majestic Columbia River. Away from the distractions of normal life, Emily slowly begins to recognize the patterns of her life, the daydreams that remove her from reality and the recurring thoughts that impede her happiness. Her initial battles against worry and self-consciousness transform into a positive statement of existence. And she realizes she needs balance, accepting depression as part of life even as she works to be happier, and living in the present moment even as she looks toward the future.
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