In Retrospect….

November 8th, 2013


I honestly have a hard time believing it’s already been two weeks since I got back.


I wish I could say I was saying that just to excuse myself from not having written anything yet, but I’m not. I have gotten a lot done, but to be completely honest, mostly I’ve been… sleeping.


Yep. Sleeping.


Nobody wants to hear the details of my sleeping, though, so I’ll just get to the good stuff.


Missed this one, didn’t you?

First off, photos are going up on facebook as I type this. For whatever reason, I hadn’t put up my Guatemala photos, so those will be up, too! You can check all three albums (India, Guatemala, Zambia) at Comment, ask questions, all that jazz. Mostly, enjoy.


Second, I have a lot of people to thank. Too many to put here — it would kind of ruin the flow of this post. But I haven’t forgotten about you. Chances are, if you’re reading this, I have something to thank you for. So thank you. I will be doing a post exclusively for thank-yous some time next week. For now though, suffice to say, I am incredibly grateful to a lot of people. I had a great time, I really believe I changed some things for the better, and I have a lot of people to thank for that.


Third — general thoughts about what just happened.

– I (evidently) did not get enough sleep, ever. This makes sense, given the copious amounts of dogs barking, chickens clucking, doves copulating (see: India), monkeys who-haaing (again, thanks, India!), fireworks shows at 5 AM (Guatemala gets that one), roosters crowing at 3 AM (and 3:30, and 3:45 — Guatemala)… really, all those third-world noises we’ve completely forgotten about here in the States.

– My computer (the “netbook” I took with me) hates me. It has seen dirt, dust, extreme heat, extreme cold, eight airports in five different countries, various kinds of animal sh!t, coffee spills, water spills, days without being plugged in, the slowest and fastest internet connections in the world, a plethora of different viruses, a hacked e-mail address, being on for days, being off for days, having a hard drive replaced, and probably a few things I’m missing out on. I have it to thank for keeping me connected to the world and often keeping me sane — you have it to thank for blog updates and photo storage. Best of all, it still works perfectly. If anybody’s wondering, it’s a Toshiba. Oh, and the hard drive replacement was really caused by an effective soaking that happened during my bike tour last fall.


I don’t think I’ve ever been more grateful for technology.

Okay, there was that one trip to the hospital…

– I have never spent so much time traveling. With the delay in Heathrow, my trip home from Zambia was 37 hours.

– I just did something awesome. I came up with an idea for a project, tried to get it funded by fellowship, got turned down, decided to do it anyways, built a website, printed business cards, made videos, started fund-raising, had some amazing support from friends and family, raised $9200, fixed a lot of bikes, met a lot of really cool people, did things I never thought I’d do (I could probably write a separate post on that alone), and came home in one piece. Okay, I did have a parasite for a bit. But besides that. Did I mention I went to three different developing countries and spent at least a month and a half in each country as a volunteer? I think I did. I must have mentioned that.


So, like, I helped some of these kids get to school.

Fourth — statistics. I’ll be doing a statistics post briefly. Those are fun. I don’t want to ruin it by trying to integrate it with this post though.


Fifth, what I’ve actually been up to, besides sleep (feel free to skip this one if you care more about the project and its impact on my life than my life itself).

– Part of the reason I haven’t been blogging is because I’ve been spending a lot of time on the computer otherwise. In particular, I spent about two days straight on Craigslist, among other sites, looking for a place to live in Madison, WI, where my new job starts in December (more on that in a bit). I scheduled about six visits over a 24-hour period, drove to Madison, and fortunately (and as I was hoping), the first one worked out. It’s a pretty cool house with a garage for my bikes (I don’t own a car and don’t plan on it) and a five minute walk from the bus stop for those days when the bike path hasn’t been plowed yet (yes, there is a bike path all the way to work from my house).

– I’ve been spending a lot of time working on my new bike, a Bianchi San Jose, which will be my winter bike. Last winter I used my touring bike, which I still use for everything else, but snow, sand, and salt getting in the drivetrain (the chain, the gears, the shifters) was an absolute pain to clean out, and probably reduced the life of the bike by a year or two. The San Jose is a single speed, meaning it will stay a lot cleaner.


– I would be remiss if I didn’t admit to playing a lot of Kerbal Space Program, my favorite computer game, a sandbox physics simulator where you build spaceships and do… well, whatever you want. Go to the “Mun.” Go to other planets. Do science to research new parts. *ahem* Anyways.


It sort of looks like a bicycle…

– Working on various projects I won’t have time for when I become a “real person” in a month, including a wax-waterproof coat. My old jacket was getting… well, old.

– Tutoring at Abamath, my friend’s company that I helped start back in August. It’s doing rather well. If anybody in the Minneapolis area needs math tutoring… Just sayin’.

– Catching up with friends.


Sixth, what my plans are, both short- and long-term.

– Short term I’ll be moving to Madison, WI to work for Epic as a Technical Services Engineer. What that means is that I’ll be an expert in one of Epic’s 26 (possibly more by now) software programs and assigned a few clients. If they want to change anything or if anything goes wrong, it’s my job to make it happen. So I’ll be doing a lot of coding and problem-solving, and probably a few presentations.

– Long term I have a lot I’d like to do… (in no particular order):

(1) Pay off my student loans.

(2) “How many countries can I bike to on $10,000?” — Put $10k in the bank, get on my bike, and see how far I can go. Right now I’m thinking I can do South America, take a boat to Africa, and get at least halfway up if not well into Europe. This is, obviously, a few years out.

(3) Start a social enterprise in a developing country — right now I’m thinking either India or Zambia, most likely Zambia. I can’t say too much right now but I will say it has to do with bicycles, and that anyone who donated to 90:90 will have priority as an investor.

(4) Go back to school for Psychology.

Of course, it could be that I end up working at Epic for the rest of my life. It’s a pretty cool place. But I could just be saying that so I don’t get fired before I even start. Not sure. Needless to say, I wouldn’t have taken the job if I didn’t plan on working there for at least a few years, but it’s certainly going to be interesting seeing how those few years play out. There’s a lot of potential in all sorts of different directions.


But every direction involves a bicycle being close to my face.

In any case, that’s all for now. As it is, I’d rather do more shorter posts than one longer one. So the next post will either be thank-yous or statistics. Tune in…

One thought on “In Retrospect….

  1. Marilyn says:

    Yes, keep a bike close to your face! Always! Thanks for having the vision, ambition, guts and motivation to make the world a better place despite the challenges of things like parasites. Thanks for making good use of donations. Thanks for your blog posts. Thanks for enriching us all with your photos.

    Keep it up.

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