Time, is on my side.

Today, June 27th 2008, is a momentous day for the Illini 4000 as we are now 36 days into our 72 day journey.  As of noon today, we are no longer heading into the proverbial woods but are instead on our way out.  

While this is a great accomplishment and a major milestone for our team, today does not seem to possess any distinct emotional element that sets it apart from the previous 35.  This was surprising to me at first, as I imagine it would be for anyone tracking our progress from the outside world.  However, I've come to realize that the reason this temporal milestone seems insignificant is due to how this trip has altered my perception of time.  On the one hand, our nomadic lifestyle means everyday is filled with new experiences, new people, and new places, and as a result each day seems longer than a normal day.  For instance, it feels like years have passed since we departed from Central Park over a month ago.  Looking back on the trip is like looking back over a lifetime.  Leaving new york was like learning how to walk, we were unsure, unstable, and inexperienced.  Passing through the Eastern US, we grew as a team, we found our footing, and we developed our own personality.  And now here we are, mature, ready and confident, drawing from our experience to take us further into the unknown.  This 36 day check point is somewhat like a midlife crisis...maybe we'll all buy flashy new red bikes and dye our hair. 

On the other hand, our schedule demands that we maintain a routine and follow a procedure in order to accomplish what is necessary within the allotted time frame. Thus time does not seem to pass linearly but rather cyclically.  So in some sense, it is rewarding to have reached the half way mark, but at the same time every day seems something completely separate and distinct from the previous day making a half way day somewhat irrelevant.  Not that this is bad.  Here on the road, time is not a factor.  Dates are insignificant, the days of the week are trivial, and hours are unimportant.  It is a welcome escape, and the ultimate liberation.

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