A21 Across America: My 3,000 mile journey for freedom
In 2014, I bicycled 3,000 miles across the United States of America to raise funds and awareness for anti-human trafficking in support of The A21 Campaign through a fundraising campaign I called "Project What Extent".
My bicycle journey began in Costa Mesa, California near the headquarters of The A21 Campaign and ended 21 days later at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.
It was a grueling journey, both the preparation and the execution of it on my bicycle around 165 miles every day.
I had to face sandstorms and desert heats over 115 degrees Fahrenheit all through the California Borrego Anza Desert, the State of Arizona, and then Monument Valley in Utah.
I bicycled low and high through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the flat plains of Kansas, the rolling hills of Missouri, Indiana, and Ohio, and the Appalachian Mountain range of the Eastern United States,
Around every corner was another stretch of road.
It was hot and humid most of the way across the States with plenty of pesty flies, mosquitoes, locusts, and other bugs to keep me company in my agony. There were also miles of stinky cow manure odors, strong winds, and long stretches of never-ending roads, but in the same days there was incredible beauty, dazzling sunrises and gorgeous sunsets, and wide expanses of God's amazing creation.
It also got lonely at times out there in the great outdoors, but thankfully I always had my close bicycle companion, Baby Grace, with me every pedal stroke of the way. I also had the loving support of my incredible parents, friends, and who would've thought, my future wife.
I learned so many lessons on this journey, about myself and about the world at large. By far, one of the biggest things I learned was that freedom is not free. Not only does it cost something, but someone has to actually pay for it, work for it, and sacrifice for it - with time, talents, and treasures.
So many people inspired me with the passion they had to support the cause. There were people I already knew, and many others whom I would come to know through the months of my campaign.
I heard so many stories told to me through tears streaming down a person's face. And it was in those times that I knew I was doing something meaningful and life-changing, not just for myself but also for the people who came in contact with my story.
Everyone wondered what was motivating me, and the answer was simple: I wanted to show people the full extent I was willing to go with my God-given talents to challenge them to go the full extent with theirs. I was on a mission to build community by empowering people with my story, with my faith, and with my 3,000 mile journey across the United States of America for the greater good of freedom.
What extent will you go?
I believe everyone can make a difference. Let's be the changes we want to see!