Woodlyn PT - March 2019

MARCH 2019 WOODLYN WORD

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Around the World on 2 Wheels

MY 6 MONTHS ABROAD

A lot of people talk about traveling around the world, but few are able to make that dream a reality. When I was 28 years old, I found myself in a strange place. I wasn’t married,

island before doubling back to the mainland and traveling by bus for two

weeks. There’s only so much biking you can do in Australia with the Outback being so hot and full of snakes. After Australia, Charlie and

had recently quit my job at Amtrak, and wouldn’t be starting my college classes to be a physical therapist until the

I flew up to Singapore before hitting Bangkok, Thailand, and Bali, Indonesia. After spending some time in Southeast Asia, Charlie and I eventually found ourselves in New Zealand, which proved to be the favorite part of my trip. The whole country is beautiful, and the people there were so nice. Charlie broke his bike, so we did a lot of hitchhiking, and people were always willing to pick us up and take us an hour out of their way. We drove all over the islands, went bungee jumping, and had the most incredible experience. To this day, New Zealand is my favorite place in the world. When I retire, I’m getting on the first plane back to New Zealand. After New Zealand, Charlie Brown and I parted ways. I went to Tahiti before jumping over to Mo’orea to bike and camp for a few days. Then, the last part of my trip was spent in Hawaii again, where I biked the Big Island and camped out on top of the volcano. When I came home, it was May, and I came very close to jumping on another plane and heading for Europe. But I knew I needed to get settled in before my courses at the community college started in September. Those six months really shaped the next years of my life. Keep in mind that I wasn’t staying in five-star hotels. I was camping out or paying a dollar a night to sleep in a shack south of Bangkok. I wouldn’t have changed anything about the experience, but I learned to appreciate so much of what we take for granted in the United States. Having instant access to safe drinking water and being able to flip a switch and turn on a light are luxuries so much of the world has to live without.

following fall. There were no responsibilities keeping me in one place, and I had a bit of money saved up. As I planned what I would do until my classes started, I thought about what it would be like to be the kind of person who bikes around the world. I set my mind to it and just said, “What the hell?” When I left, I told everyone I was going to Hawaii for a couple of weeks. I ended up traveling for six months. I have been biking all my life, but that was the first time I really camped. After buying a travel bike and camping supplies, I left home and made my way to Hawaii. When I got off the plane and went to get permits to camp in the national forests of Oahu, I spotted three

bikes outside the permit office. I started my trip by meeting three French Canadians from Quebec, who had already been on the road for six months. We hung out for 2 1/2 weeks, and I learned a bunch of stuff from them, both about the places they had been and some tips for making my own trip. After we parted ways, I stayed in Hawaii another week before making the leap to Australia. In Australia, I met eight other Americans on a nine-day bike ride. One of the people I met was a guy named Charlie Brown. We got along great and ended up traveling together for a few months. Charlie Brown and I flew over to Tasmania and biked the

“TO THIS DAY, NEW ZEALAND IS MY FAVORITE PLACE IN THE WORLD.”

-Jim Brennan

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