Date: February 25th 2017

From/To: New York City/Jacksonville Florida

Distance: +1,000 miles (By Train)

“Mike check mike check” … “okay I think this thing’s on.” (sorry I had to)

So, this is my first blog post, written from an Amtrak coach cabin en route to Jacksonville Florida. I’m not sure where this dialogue will take us, nor do I know where this journey will take us, but I can promise we’ll go somewhere. The motto is Awareness Through The Journey, for that particular reason. By this point I hope we all know how this started, but for those unfamiliar with my story, I’m a 23 year old recent college grad about to venture off on a 4000 mile cross country trek that will span roughly 75 days. I’ve decided to call it Ride4Parkinsons, and while the name appears to state the obvious, you’ll soon realize it merely scratches the surface. In its simplest definition, it’s a bike trip across America. Beyond that it’s a mission to spread awareness about Parkinson’s disease. Its also a fundraiser for Parkinson’s research, with a goal to raise over $50,000. Essentially, it’s a story I intend to tell, about the lifestyle I intend to live. I hope to provoke a sense of motivation in other people, to pursue similar life challenges that will indefinitely produce the upmost fulfillment life can offer. I feel as though this experience will provide as much mental growth as it will physical.

Before I go any further, I would like to lay out some ground rules for this journey. It puts me at ease to know you can hold me accountable as well.

  • This bike trek will end no later than May 15th.
  • No cheating: There will be no westward advancement other than what’s made through my own power. This is a cross country bike trek, and it’s meant to challenge my limits physically.
  • Remain true to the cause: I can’t forget why I am doing this, despite the many distractions that will come my way. My intention and motivation must serve as a constant reminder why I am on this journey.
  • Safety is everything, don’t do anything stupid: While this makes the list as my fourth rule, it should be first in my mind always. This ride is a calculated risk, and to do something like this I must understand and accept the potential dangers involved. Respect the road and the road will respect me. Respect drivers, however I cannot say they will always return the favor. I need to stay aware of what dangers I can control, and the rest falls into unfortunate happenstance. Safety is everything, don’t do anything stupid.
  • Enjoy The Ride: I’ve said this before and I’ll say it many more times. It’s the motto within the motto. It’s meaning will continue to change as time goes on, but ultimately it serves as a reminder that this trip is not about reaching the finish line; it’s about the 4,000 miles of pavement from Point A to Point B. Enjoy the people, the places, the experiences; that is what the ride if all about. Enjoy the time on the road, like anything else it will eventually come to an end.

That’s about all I’d like to say for now. Tomorrow I’ll post an article I wrote several weeks ago titled “The Power of A Cause.” I think it helped me to put into words how I define good intentions, and how motivation serves as the vehicle to achievement. It’s useful for me, and I think it can also help you. Please check back in for that, and more updates about the start of my journey!

Enjoy The Ride,

-Matt