In this beautifully written memoir, author Emily Buehler shares the hard won joys and sorrows of her bicycling journey across America. She thought it was going to be many things. But the surprising outcome was a deep change in her way of looking at life. She shares her experiences with an honest voice, and how they shifted her understanding of letting go, finding balance, and living with the rhythms of life – both the ups AND the downs. An enjoyable and worthy read for anyone interested in living a more balanced and happy life.
—Ragini Elizabeth Michaels, author, Unflappable—Six Steps To Staying Happy, Centered, And Peaceful No Matter What
I am embarrassed to even write an email to someone who writes so well. My hat is off to you for making such a journey. I am at the point where you are entering Wisconsin. Sometimes I read while pedaling a stationary bicycle—makes me feel like I am on the trip. You are a very good writer.
—Jenny S. in Durham, North Carolina
As a young woman, the narrator experiences persistent anxiety and constant self-doubt, but through her sheer love of life, she overcomes her fears and undertakes a life-changing journey across America by bicycle. Her wishes are simple: to escape the routines and daily grind for a while, quiet the worry in her mind, and to see more of America together with her friend and traveling companion Mary. She soon learns this vision was too small.
Traveling for months with someone else leaves little room for personal quirks to hide. The friction between the narrator and Mary, and between the narrator and her own internal dialogue, can’t be avoided, and hard truths quickly rear their heads. This could have spelled the end of the trip; it would have been easy enough to cancel, take a plane or bus home, and return to her comfort zone.
Instead, she takes the harder path, reaching deep for the courage to overcome her shyness and to open herself to the people and experiences she meets with generosity and goodwill. She is rewarded by a deeper companionship with Mary, and by strangers offering the hospitality bestowed on the pilgrims of yore: spare beds, food, stories, and friendship. More than this, she gains insight into the lives of others, and learns much more about herself in the process. The trip wasn’t exactly the mindless escape she’d imagined, full of scenic views and daydreams. What she found was far better: the grace to accept her doubts and fears, and the knowledge that she could move past them; the certainty that she had the mettle to endure physical hardship; and the courage to stay open to insight from all quarters. These were the gifts given to the narrator by the challenges of the open road.
—Meg O. in Chapel Hill, North Carolina