Gotta Catch ‘Em All

Most of my absolute favorite childhood memories took place while pretending to be a Pokemon trainer with my best friend Alex. For those of you who may be unfamiliar, Pokemon are animated monsters from a Japanese TV show and video game series. The goal of a Pokemon trainer was to leave home at a young age, travel the world, use their monsters to battle others, and become the toughest trainer around. You might recognize the somewhat iconic Pikachu!

Alex and I both dreamed of becoming Pokemon Masters and we made sure to transform our play space to make this possible. The construction site behind his house became a mountain range riddled with boulders and mudslides. The scraggly tree surrounded by mulch was a desert island, and his dog became a raging enemy we tried our best to outrun. The yard spanning an acre became the size of a country. We’d pretend we were 10 (the age when most Pokemon trainers leave home), pack up our backpacks, and travel every corner of our imaginary world. It. Was. The. Best.

In thinking about this, I can’t help but notice a few glaring similarities to the journey I’m embarking on next week. We used to pretend we were leaving home with nothing but a backpack, some faith in humanity, and a goal in mind and now that’s exactly what I and my teammates are doing. As hopelessly nerdy as the comparison is, I feel like I’m living up to the person I imagined myself being when I was young. That invokes a very special sort of contentedness in me. Not to mention I’m glad I still like rolling around in dirt and playing outside.

On a more serious note though, I cannot believe that the ride is so rapidly approaching. Final exams are only two days away from ending, only one exam to go! I’ve met my initial individual fundraising goal (How cool would it be if that $3500 doubled by the end of the summer?! I’ll tell you. It would be cool.) and our team has raised over $80,000! I’m so excited and proud of the work we’ve done so far, but we still have a long way to go. Aside from that 4,500 mile bike ride, of course. We’re determined to meet our $150,000 goal by the end of the summer. We leave in 7 days. We’ll be gone for 72. We’ve got 79 days to make it happen, and we can’t do it without your help! Spread the word, keep an eye on the website, and don’t lose us along that winding route! My world to explore is about to get exponentially larger than Alex’s midwestern acre and I know just about as much about leaving home with just a backpack as I did when I was five. Luckily this time I’m chasing a real goal that’s becoming closer to my heart every day. One week and counting… here we go!

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