// Parting ways //

May 12, 2010

There is quite a bit to explain in this post, and I hope you’ll forgive me if it seems a bit off, as it completely breaks the format of all of my previous entries. After much thought, I have decided to prematurely discontinue my participation in the rest of the trip. It may come as a surprise to many of you but it is a conclusion that I came to after much diliberation, with myself, my family, and with Dawson – and is one that so far I am confident in. There are a number of things which lead up to me making this decision, and I am just going to describe a very limited portion of my thought process – because I feel that the followers of this blog deserve to understand.

I want to eccentuate the fact that I am not leaving on bad terms, nor am I thinking negatively about the time and energy that I spent on this. The month that Dawson and I spent on the road together will be cherished in my memory forever as one of the most fantastic adventures imaginable. Nothing specific happened to turn me off from continuing, nor have my positive feelings towards Dawson changed. I have simply decided that the lifestyle that is necessary to do a bicycle tour such as this is not one that I am as comfortable in as I had anticipated.

The aspect of the lifestyle that I was having the most difficult time coping comfortably with was the eventual disconnect that occurred (and would continue to occur) between me and the rest of the my world. My relationships with my family and friends are crucial to my well being, and I found that the times without cell phone service, or the long periods when the charging of phones was impossible, were the hardest for me. In the early portion of the trip, we were able to maintain our cell phone batteries for longer periods of time – and I was able to keep contact through phone calls and text messaging. The further we got the harder it seemed to continue interacting with those people, and I began to notice the effects that this disconnect had on me.

Another disconnect that was growing was the infrequency of access to the internet, which caused there to be more time between when I’d actually get to post the entries that I’d written – and even less frequently have the time to read all of the wonderful comments and respond to them. I found that this blog was really an important part of the experience for me – that being able to share my adventure with my family, friends, and the world was as important as the adventure itself.

I began to notice these things within the first several weeks of the tour, and at that time Dawson & myself discussed it at great length. I wanted to make sure that I gave it a fair chance before making any decision, as I am aware that things can change quickly. After a month on the road, I recognized that these disconnects were increasing rather than decreasing, and that the premise of another two months from here seemed somewhat daunting. I expressed my concerns to Dawson again, and once again he was supportive of me doing what I felt was right, but that he would continue nonetheless. I told him that if I was going to leave, that I would make a decision within the next several days. In that time, my feelings did not change, and in fact I became more confident in the fact that I wished to stop.

I shared this with my mom, and being the caring mother that she is, she set out to find the means through which I would get to my final destination, which is still Portland, Oregon. Later that same afternoon she called me back and told me that I could take an Amtrak train from Carbondale, IL (just ahead of us on the trail) to Chicago and then on to Oregon. It is nearly midnight on May 11th, 2010 – and I am currently on said train, en route to Portland. I shared the official news with Dawson that afternoon, and he passed it along to his parents back home.

He expressed to them his desire to complete the trip, even on his own, and his parents support his wish to do so. They arranged a place for him to pick up a package of some things he needed (spare tire/cell phone/etc.). While I know that Dawson is somewhat disappointed that he will no longer have me to keep him company, he is also a bit excited because he tends to ride a quicker pace than I, and will now be able to make some better time.

As far as our fundraiser for the National Coalition Against Censorship goes, I want to reitterate my continued commitment to their cause, and to helping to raise awareness about the importance of combating censorship. All past and future donations that we receive will obviously be forwarded to the NCAC, and Dawson is still proud to be biking for that cause. My intention is to remain commited to not only spreading the word about Bike For Progress, but about the NCAC and the censorship issue as a whole.

I hope that you all can understand the decision that I have made, and not hold it against me. This will be the last post on this blog for now, unless Dawson changes his mind and wishes to update it. He will, however, be updating the Bike For Progress Facebook Page, so if you’re interested in following, please visit http://www.facebook.com/bikeforprogress

I am going to end this final post with a short quote from the novel Anthem by Ayn Rand.

I stand here on the summit of the mountain. I lift my head and I spread my arms. This, my body and spirit, this is the end of the quest. I wished to know the meaning of things. I am the meaning. I wished to find a warrant for being. I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction.

It is my eyes which see, and the sight of my eyes grants beauty to the earth. It is my ears which hear, and the hearing of my ears gives its song to the world. It is my mind which thinks, and the judgement of my mind is the only searchlight that can find the truth. It is my will which chooses, and the choice of my will is the only edict I must respect.”

Thank you for following along, for all of your comments and kind words, and for your continued support.

-Matthew Lang Sottile


10 Responses to “// Parting ways //”

  1. Megan said

    Can’t wait for you to arrive! ❤

  2. Julia S. said

    Love you!

  3. Onlooker said

    I certainly wish that the lack of internet was not a great burden for you. I wish that you would have enjoyed the trip for YOURSELF, and posted about it in your FREE TIME for everyone else to experience it. We did not need constant proof that you were out here! We knew! Keep a journal if you needed to jot things down! No cell phones? Use a pay phone once or twice a day!

    We were all very excited for this journey to be taking place, it’s something a lot of people dream about – to put their life on hold and drift about the country. I wish you gave it more of a chance, and weighed technological luxuries less in your decision 😦

  4. Onlooker said

    If you are against censorship, then why did my post get deleted?

  5. jon said

    hey dude, these things happen and above all else this is a trip to learn more about yourselves and your wants and needs in life, and you simply found the value of your family and friends out there. there is no shame in returning to familiarity, you accomplished so much more than some people will do in their lives; believe me, you got hundreds and hundreds of miles further into the trip than i did! and for that i will always be jealous. you gave me something to look forward to on the internet amongst the monotony of everyday life. congrats on your accomplishments and i hope to see you this summer and shake your hand in person. good work sir and good luck

  6. Chris Ochoa said

    Hi Matt,

    Well, I’m sorry I won’t be connecting with you in Colorado as I’d hoped. Sounds like you were really needing to stop, though. The amount of riding you did, and what you experienced, will be something you’ll never forget. Say hello to your uncle Pat for me!
    Aunt Christine

  7. Tu Hermana Losephina said

    Thank you for helping me while i cried with my locked car!!!!!!!!

  8. rose bishop said

    Hey Matty…..you gave it your best shot and that’s what counts! You must have gotten what you needed and it’s time to come on home and make more plans. It was fun following you along and I’m proud of what you did accomplish! You are an awesome guy.

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