Life’s a Journey; A sister cycles home
While I’ve been playing my sister’ Janis has been in the desert of Afghanistan the past 6 years supporting our servicemen – Bagram.
The experience of our soldiers along with those in support of the effort, the hostile territory where they ate, slept, and mingled – created bonds of comradeship that the lucky ones will carry with them forever. As with the warriors of all generations scars remain; souls have been genuinely touched, lives have been changed; memories linger.
My sister is but another returning with realigned dreams
Simply put, my sister has been living in a shipping container in Afghanistan for more than 6 years. Janis is scheduled to return to the US in the first weeks of August. In communication with her, she wants to take a few days off in California to ‘get her feet on the ground,’ to re acclimate – before returning to the east coast via bike, into the life that she departed.
Within my career at the Asheville Fire Department we learned of such things called ‘debriefings.’ A debriefing is intended to help one cope with ‘out-of-the-ordinary’ events. As a firefighter I experienced a few of those events, and debriefings. Janis’s idea of that same process is somewhere within the effort of peddling from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Within this effort, she desires to honor all of our warriors along with those she has encountered through her years in Afghanistan.
The more I thought about it, the more I liked her idea – it made sense.
Janis has mentioned that the experience has been a ‘life changer’ – adding further that her ride will reflect appreciation for those agencies that continue the support as many soldiers rehabilitate back onto society. Folks along the way will be reminded of the Fisher Foundation as well as the Wounded Warrior Project in reestablishing the lives affected.
Janis’s personal challenge; her ‘debriefing’ and ‘calibration’ of sorts; will be a prompt to us all to remember those sacrifices.
The Pacific Ocean in California, to the Atlantic in North Carolina; 3100 miles, in real time – peddling her bike.
Early on I readily mentioned that I would support her effort (I love the ride) with my truck and trailer – my next months are a minor sacrifice in comparison to her efforts/resilience, and experience. My personal belief is that along the way, we will all be reminded too of how great our country really is.
For the ride I’m thinking that she will have three important benchmarks,
- first; the first thirteen days ((making a habit) completed 8/26/2015)
- second; crossing the mountains of Colorado (completed 9/6/2015)
- third; the Appalachians (completed)
The likelihood of many other challenges along the way are high.
Janis has been able to keep her legs and mind in shape – our initial concern is more with her saddle (maybe a pillow will help). In the beginning we are thinking a minimum of 50 mpd, but I’m really not sure what it takes to find peace with six years of another country fresh in your mind – we’ll keep you posted.
Shortly I will load her bikes and equipment then blast west across the US. In reality I really look forward to the adventure, the scenery – and being part of hopefully more than one persons re acquaintance with this great country we call home.
Janis welcomes others to join her ride anywhere along the way.
As this ride materializes in the upcoming weeks I will add some links intended for contributions for those inclined – hopefully with a side-note recognizing Janis’s effort. She seeks no personal acclaim and is using her personal funds for the trek. A facebook page for daily updates (link here), and a blog page for more long-term information will come into play shortly.
Please join us, but most importantly think of all those families and warriors who continue to live those sacrifices for us…..
“Miles of smiles” she says – yet I understand the underlying emotions involved……….
TRIP COMPLETED, THE PACIFIC TO THE ATLANTIC OCEANS IN 49 DAYS!!