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What is Cycle Humanity?

Humans are social creatures. Yet the western and modern world are modeled after personal achievements: a successful career, wealth, self-image, and consumerism, often asking us to strain our personal connections in favor of self-actualization. Electronically, we are more connected than ever, yet a number of studies show we are lonelier than ever. A sensationalized and fear-based media tells us the world is dangerous and we need not interact or have empathy with people that aren’t like us.

Let’s be clear: social media isn’t bad. Nor is the world a terrible place. But I’ve found there are better ways to connect with people -- storytelling, for instance, or dancing, or travel. I believe through vulnerability and compassion, we can connect with each other and find purpose and meaning in what we do. The best way I know how to do that? Get on a bike. On a bike, one is vulnerable and approachable. From there, record stories. Dance. Make music.

I want to bike around the world as a medium for connecting with others. I’ll use my blog and social media to share my story, music, and dance, and those of the people I meet. Join me, and together, let’s cycle humanity.




Support

***NOTE: I am currently planning on stopping halfway around (in India) around June 2018 to attend grad school.***
I might keep going or I might pick up where I left off in a few years, but keep this in mind if you donate for more than one postcard. Thanks!

If my trip vibes with you, I'd really appreciate a donation! Below are some rewards I'm happy to offer in return.

Some people ask if they can give without expectation of anything in return. If you are one of these people, that's very kind of you, and you can do so here (note: Square doesn't give me your contact information, so please comment or e-mail me if you want a thank you (and I'd like to thank you)).

Please e-mail me at kyle@cyclehumanity.com with any questions! I'd love to work with you if you aren't sure how this works, want to donate via a different medium, or want something I haven't offered below.


Postcards!

A personalized postcard from wherever I am or request a location when you give me your address.

Please note the cost of the postcard, international shipping, and the time to find a postcard, post office, and to write the card, in addition to any donation you'd like to make.

1 postcard from the next place I'm in that sells them

4 postcards (one every three months for a year) - $6-11 each

12 postcards (one every month for a year) - $6-10 each

If Square fails, please try Paypal: $6-12, $24-44, $72-114.


Request Any Story from Around the World

Chronicle your story or request someone else’s. Name a person and an address and I will bike to that address and make every effort to chronicle their story. As long as (1) it doesn’t cost more than $5000 round trip (eg very expensive flight to an exotic location, translation into a rare language, bribing officials to cross an uncrossable border (the Darien Gap comes to mind)), (2) it doesn’t put my life in any more danger than biking across the world does already (trying to interview someone from ISIS or visiting North Korea comes to mind), or (3) the person is unavailable or refuses to talk with me, I will make it happen. Also, if I know up front that it isn’t going to happen (like if you missed the part about me not going to North Korea, or if you picked some other caveat I failed to mention), I will refund your money.

Donate $5000, then
contact me.


Risks to Fulfilling Your Requests

If I get seriously injured such that I am unable to ride, I will try and find another way to travel, such as by backpacking. However, I can’t guarantee that if I, for instance, get hit by a truck and end up as a vegetable, I will continue to travel. This project has the risk of serious injury or death, and I reserve the right to stop it at any time for any reason. That being said, I will make every effort I deem reasonable to complete it and fulfill all requests in return for your support. If for some reason I cannot, I will return your money.

Legal: You're donating and I'm thanking you. You're not buying something from me.




Frequently Asked Questions

Are you going to bike across the oceans?
Where do you sleep?
How are you funding this?
What if nobody buys postcards?
Okay, but seriously. You must be really rich!
What does it mean to “cycle humanity?”
So you're going to spend the next two years of your life with nothing but what you can carry on a bike?
How do you know you can do this?
What if…?
But seriously. You could die.
I still have questions. How do I contact you?



Q: Are you going to bike across the oceans?
(by far the question I get the most)

It would be pretty cool to set up a trainer on a cruise ship and pedal a distance in the trainer equidistant to the travel of the ship, but no, I won't be doing that. I'll most likely be taking the cheapest method of travel across any given body of water; eg, flying across the major oceans and going around or boating across the minor oceans and smaller bodies of water.

Someone did pedal a bike across the Hudson River though: video.



Q: Where do you sleep?

A: Paid lodging adds up very quickly, so I mix it with stealth camping (camping such that nobody finds you and leaving the area better than you found it), using public spaces with permission (parks, fire stations, churches), staying with friends or friends of friends, asking locals permission to put my tent in their yard, or using reciprocal hospitality sites like Warmshowers or Couchsurfing (which I will one day pay back!).



Q: How are you funding this?

A: Support me with postcards.



Q: What if nobody supports you?

A: Support me with postcards.



Q: Okay, but seriously. You must be really rich!

A: Depending on who you ask, biking around the world costs about $10/day and takes two years totaling $7,280 (add in things like insurance and the occasional plane ticket and call it $10,000). Even if you don’t want a postcard, I figure I can do work along the way to make $10,000. Hair cuts. Dancing lessons. English tutoring.

It would be cooler if you wanted a postcard, because then you’d have a postcard, but hey, I’m not going to tell you what to do with your money. Except that you should get a postcard.

And no, I don't considering myself rich, not in the monetary sense anyways. Just think of it this way: instead of paying for rent, DirectTV TriplePlay, and a car, I pay only for the bare necessities -- food; repairs; rarely, a hostel or cheap hotel.



Q: What does it mean to “cycle humanity?”

A: On a bike, one is vulnerable and approachable. On a bike in a foreign country, you learn to “walk in the shoes” of the locals because you rely on them for guidance, sometimes shelter or sustenance, and help. You have little more than they do because you are carrying all of your possessions and supplies on your bike. You travel local routes and eat the local food. You learn to communicate on their terms because if you don’t your journey will not be possible. You are not staying in hotels and stopping only at tourist-geared locales, you are staying in fields, forests, and homes, and stopping everywhere you can. It is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to experience people and culture unadulterated by the pretense of consumerism.



Q: So you're going to spend the next two years of your life with nothing but what you can carry on a bike?

Short A: Yep.

Long A: "There are two ways to be rich. One is by acquiring much. The other is by desiring little."
Jackie Coller

I did the whole 8-5 thing. I bought a lot of stuff. The thing about stuff is, you don't own it any more than it owns you. Buy a car, and suddenly you're stuck making car payments, making insurance payments, paying for oil changes, and paying for parking. Buy a house, and suddenly you need to mow the lawn, trim trees, clean gutters, worry about plumbing, vacuum (and then you need a vacuum and vacuum filters), and... and....

One of the most important questions anyone living in a developed country can ask themselves is, do you identify who you are by what you own or by what you do? Does what you own determine what you do? If you own a lot of stuff, it probably does. You probably don't have a lot of time to read, write, go out with friends, go to the beach, etc. You might be one of those people who is "busy" all the time. You probably spend more money maintaining your stuff before you retire than you'll have saved for retirement. You probably "save up" vacation time. There's nothing necessarily wrong with that, but another good question might be... what would a blind person think of you?

In my opinion, life is too short to be spent worrying about stuff. Life should be spent doing, not buying. When I'm on my deathbed I want to look back and say, I had rich experiences, not, I was super rich. If you'd rather get super rich, go for it. I'm not judging you and I'm not stopping you. And I'm not saying it's not possible to have both! I may settle down one day. But for now... biking across the world, going places few have gone, meeting people few have met -- that is the epitome of a rich life to me.



Q: How do you know you can do this?

A: I’ve biked across the US and many before me have biked across the world. The trick isn’t planning out your route or every fine detail in advance -- it’s knowing you have the grit and persistence to keep going. I can’t explain that “I have it” beyond telling you my stomach turns over every time I think about biking across the world, but... I have it.



Q: What if…?

A: I’ll figure it out.



Q: But seriously. You could die.

A: "If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It's lethal."
Paulo Coehlo



Q: I still have questions. How do I contact you?

A: Post a comment below or e-mail me at kyle@cyclehumanity.com.


2 comments:

  1. I love your route map! The story and photos on your journey are a wonderful way to follow your path.

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  2. I always admire people who don't let finances and other obligations tie them down. I wanted to write a book on people who travel on a dollar day. I used to travel on nothing at all, I was just too dumb to know better. Now I know that I did the right thing after all.

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