My father is a special man. He has shown me so much love and support for my silly little ideas from the very start. When I wanted to play baseball with the boys, he coached the team.
I know it can't be easy, seeing me continually leap off into the unknown, but he's always understood that I needed to go. I asked him if he was worried about this trip before I left, thinking that it might be 3 years before I return... his biggest concern was that I would become too self-absorbed and forget how to be a great citizen of humanity, forget to do selfless acts for others. Thank you. Thank you for keeping me honest and my heart on the right path.
Before dropping me off at the airport, he made a comment that had me questioning my whole plan. " I understand all your other trips, but I don't really know why you are doing this, Ashley." I didn't want to tell him at the time, but I wasn't sure, either. I had just donated all my worldly possessions, dedicated to the goal. Around the world on a bicycle and now I don't even know why.
Riding across the snow capped mountains of the Brooks Range, seeing the newly blossoming purple-yellow-white wildflowers with their lovely pollinators the golf ball sized bees, tasting the delicious fresh mountain crisp air, pushing myself up and over the countless gravel hills in burning sun and pounding hail... everything became clear. This is why I'm doing it. This is why I'm here.
The indescribable beauties of this world cannot be understood unless you get out and see it for yourself. The kindness of strangers is hard to feel unless you vulnerably expose yourself to new cultures and experiences. I am so incredibly full of gratitude today. I'm so glad I listened to my instinct and had faith it would all work out. Thank you Dad, for believing in me and never showing any doubt.