A life-changing bike ride around the world
What happens when everything you have come to know and rely upon as being the “norm” falls apart? Think about it. Let’s just say, within a short span of time, you lost your job, partner and residence. What if you had no ties and could do anything. What would you do?
Some would have a breakdown and/or turn to friends or family to get them through. Some would become consumed by their addictions.
Yet others would roll with the punches and find a way to adapt; take a long, hard look at their lives and figure out what needs to change.
I’ll be honest. If all three of these things happened to me at the same time, I’m not sure what I would do, but New Zealand or Hawaii might provide answers.
To heal, evolve and find answers, Wisconsin native Scott Stoll chose a life-changing, four-year bicycling trip around the world.
I first met Stoll briefly at the old ICC Downer Classic criterium in Milwaukee several years ago. Near the race course, manning a table stacked with copies of his book, he was talking to spectators about journey he had recently completed.
He and I only had time to talk for a few minutes. Then a couple years later my mother-in-law gave me his book, Falling Upwards: One Man’s Quest for Happiness Around the World on a Bicycle, for Christmas. After reading it, I was inspired to talk with him further Scott and do a little more soul searching by bike of my own.
Still hoping to inspire
When I contacted Stoll a few months ago, he was still excited to share his journey with others in hopes they would find inspiration to undertake something big themselves. Yet at no point did I feel he was pushing others to follow his exact path.
Starting in 1999, Stoll invited people to share their adventure travel experiences, both by bike and other means of transportation, on his website, www.theargonauts.com.
Although Scott’s book, the second edition of which was published in 2010, is about his cycling trip, it goes much deeper. The bicycle itself was a tool and a catalyst, not the mission. When I asked Stoll why he chose a bike as his mode of transportation, he answered the question indirectly but clearly:
“I had traveled a little bit around the states and Europe, mostly by car, bus, train and airplane. Traveling by airplane was the most disconcerting. When I arrived it was as if the doors of a spaceship opened to an alien world with different sights, sounds and smells. I have always enjoyed traveling overland and seeing the geography change and how that affects the way people live. Borders really don’t exist. For example, people and cultures change like soft brush strokes from red to blue in a painting. Seeing the world from the ground level, eating what the locals eat, sleeping where the locals sleep and learning what they understand, et cetera, I believe held the key to my search for the meaning of life, or what you might call now, more simply, my search for happiness.”
The entirety of Kierstin Kloeckner’s interview with Scott Stoll appears in the April 2015 issue of Silent Sports magazine. To order a copy, call Circulation at 888-706-4045. Or subscribe online here and avid missing another issue.