About a year and a half ago, Orian first mentioned he was going to take a major bicycle trip.
"You should come," he said.
I immediately filed it away in the "that would be fun" category where ideas die a polite death and float around like ghosts, occasionally whispering to the conscious psyche about what might have been.
About a year later, at his wedding, he mentioned it again. He planned to bicycle from Cape Town to Cairo, starting in January. Quinn was there and expressed his own interest, not committing yet but adding to the momentum that was then almost imperceptible.
It may have been the presence of further confederates—Orian's wife Karen would be on the trip as well—or it may have just taken a reintroduction to the topic, but something stirred and the ghosts awoke.
I could do this, I realized.
It took months, but could gave way to should gave way to would, and the ghosts, at first teasing, became relentless. The continent loomed in my mind.
My life became like a snowball rolling downhill. Obstacles arose and were mowed down or bowled over. Africa and bicycles consumed me. I spent less time at work, less time with my friends. I haunted the Portland bike shops. I read and took notes compulsively. I built a bicycle.
I moved out of my apartment, dumped all my stuff in my parents house. I quit my job.
The snowball has swept me up with it and it's picking up speed. This week I met MinWah, our fifth accomplice. We boxed our bikes. Tomorrow we fly. On Sunday, Orian and Karen Welling, Quinn Baumberger, MinWah Leung and I will meet in Cape Town, South Africa.