Sunday, February 26, 2017


There are a multitude of ways to get financial support for biking around the world. One of those ways you may know of already: selling postcards, of course!

Another possible way? Partner with a company like Blackburn Design.

@cyclehumanity just applied to #beablackburnranger2017. This could be me! Hi @blackburndesign!

A post shared by Kyle J. Egerdal (@cyclehumanity) on

Blackburn Design is an outdoor adventure company that makes parts like pumps, trainers, tools, cages and racks. Every year, they run the Blackburn Ranger program to put a few lucky cyclists on routes around the world. This year, the routes are in Europe. I'm applying, because honestly, I'm biking across Europe and blogging about it whether they like it or not! And below is my application video. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Dreams, Fears, and Hard Decisions

I sometimes think that people imagine me sleeping in a cardboard box in the rain surrounded by angry bankers and debt collection agencies and friends and family chiding me for being so bloody stupid as to not plan properly for 'the future', my accounts emptied and all I knew and loved having cruelly turned on me as I descend into penniless poverty hell.

In the spring of 2013, I traveled to India for a project I conceived of and crowdfunded called 90 Bikes, 90 Days. Within the first few days, I found myself face-to-face with an aspiring 3D animator who needed help with his bike so he could ride to class. He was confused what a Caucasian was doing in a bicycle shop in India -- many Indians believe all Caucasians are rich and therefore would not deign to associate themselves with an impoverished person’s mode of transportation. I was impressed that a 15-year-old Indian spoke impeccable English and was taking 3D animation classes at a community college while attending high school. We chatted about the importance of following one’s passion despite what society, or one’s parents, might have to say about it. Before he left with his newly repaired bike, he told me, “Stick with your passion. Don’t give in to the corporate monster.”

The paragraph above was the opening for my personal statement on my application for graduate school. I applied for MS Psychology at the University of Minnesota and the University of Madison, WI and got in to both. Now I find myself reading it again and chiding the irony. The moment described above -- the 15-year-old Indian boy telling me not give in to the corporate monster -- that was the moment I knew I wanted to be a psychologist. What made that Indian boy and I acknowledge and ignore the expectations set out for us by society? What was he doing studying animation? What was I doing there in India?

What am I doing now?

With less than two weeks before my last day at Epic, I have a crucial decision to make. It's not as if the weight of the world is on shoulders, but: bike around the world or go to graduate school? On the one hand, a life of adventure, probably danger, and the unknown. On the other, a life of surety and stability. I am passionate about both ideas.

This is your life. Do what you love, and do it often. If you don't like something, change it. If you don't like your job, quit. If you don't have enough time, stop watching TV. If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing the things you love. Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself. Some opportunities only come once, seize them. Life is about the people you meet, and the things you create with them so go out and start creating. Life is short. Live your dream and share your passion.

I know, I know, #firstworldproblems. This seems a perpetual debate for me: do I uproot my life to live as a nomad? Or do I get a degree, start a career, and live happily ever after? I'm 27, which feels old, but I know it's young. However young I might be, though, I won't be that way forever. If it takes five years to bike around the world, can I establish a life afterward? If I get back and want to go to graduate school, could I get in again? What about my friends, family, and potential relationships? There is so much I am leaving to fate if I choose to leave.

But then, everyone I talk to says they wish they had traveled more when they were younger. "The longer you wait, the harder it gets," they say. First, it's a degree, then a job, a relationship, a house, kids -- and before you know it, leaving even your home state for more than a week or two becomes near impossible.

There are two ways to be rich. One is by acquiring much. The other by desiring little.
Jackie Collier

Sometimes it feels as if my heart is being torn at the seams. I'm terrified of making the wrong choice. I like to think if you're afraid of something, that's how you know you're passionate about it. But thinking that doesn't help you be less afraid.

Travel aligns with many of my philosophies; in particular, the philosophy that too many of us do what's accepted because we fear otherwise doing it wrong. Capitalism posits that happiness is some reward that can be achieved and held on to. Businesses want you to think this so you buy their product: most ads are structured around making you feel something -- happiness, badassery, sexiness, whatever. Don't buy their stuff, and your life will suck: you can't have peace of mind, you won't have a secure retirement, you won't get laid. That's what many of us have been raised to believe: stuff makes you happy. But we've only been taught that by people who want us to buy into the system so we buy their stuff.

Here's the thing: stuff doesn't make you happy. Experiences make you happy.

Happiness is a state of being that you enter and exit, flowing like water in a river through it, into other emotions, back to it, and so on. Once you accept where you are, wherever you are, non-judgementally, you can fully experience happiness and other emotions. If you hold on to happiness, you will only be unhappy once you lose it. If you let it go, and allow yourself to be sad, or angry, or thoughtful, or whatever it is you are, letting happiness go when it is time to let go, then soon, you can greet happiness back as you would greet an old friend.

You can't buy happiness, and you can't hold on to it. Experience it, enjoy it, and when the time has come to feel something else, graciously accept that.

In other words, I can't have one foot on the dock and the other in a boat and expect to go anywhere. It is a tough decision. If I decide to travel around the world by bike, I'm not sure I can fully enjoy it if I'm always wondering what could have been. Or, my bike trip may change me so fundamentally that grad school may not be part of the new me.

If I decide to climb into the boat, it would be best to take a deep breath and let go of the dock.

To realize one's destiny is a person's only real obligation.
Paulho Coelho

I did try flipping a coin. Heads, I bike. Tails, I go to grad school. I sat there, turning the coin over, saying it over and over again. "Heads, I bike. Tails, I go to grad school. Heads, I bike. Tails, I go to grad school. Heads, ..." Finally, I composed myself and sat up straight. I delayed another few seconds, staring at the coin as if daring it to disappear into another dimension. It didn't.

I flipped it.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Fisherman

An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The fisherman replied, "Only a little while."

The American asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish. The fisherman said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, "What do you do with the rest of your time?"

The fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life."

The American scoffed: "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats; eventually, you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise."

The fisherman asked, "How long will this all take?"

To which the American replied, "15–20 years."

"And what then?" asked the Mexican.

The American smiled broadly. "That’s the best part. When the time is right you announce an IPO, sell your stock to the public, and become very rich. You'll make millions!"

"Millions! Then what?"

The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."