Oct. 17, 2010
Total Distance for today: 14.7 miles
Total Distance for Trip: approx. 150.2 miles
Current Location: Wilmington, DE
Important: The Flint Journal ran a story on us today! You can read the excellent article here! I’m quite certain that it was run in print as well.
Skating and Surfing!
Today was a really good day, and it came right when I needed it, in terms of motivation. I skated from Eddystone, PA to Wilmington, DE. It was a beautiful skate, and I captured some good footage, which you guys will be able to see, when Dillon edits it all together. Upon arriving, I was greeted by my first ever Couch Surfing host, Anthony, and I must say that Anthony and his family have been most hospitable; I pretty much ate like a king for about two hours straight after arriving!
It felt so amazing to enjoy my first long shower since I left Michigan about a month and a half ago. Typically, we’re trying to conserve water in the RV, as it is actually harder than you might think to find places to refill, and it is even harder to find places to dump! Anthony and I enjoyed some interesting conversation. Both of us are fairly new to Couch Surfing, but we’ve encountered similar responses when talking to people about it: Most people are quite frightened by the idea of spending the night in a stranger’s home or putting some random person up for a night. I find this fascinating, because the fear seems to be based in some alternate reality where the majority of people really are creepy serial killers who are just looking for someone dumb enough to let them in! 😉
In all seriousness, Couch Surfing employs user-rating functions and allows you to leave comments about your experience with another surfer. There’s also all kinds of other ways that people within the community can establish/prove legitimacy, but that’s not what’s interesting to me. What is interesting is that, after you get past all of the credibility indicators, the Couch Surfing community is a different breed of people all together. It’s a community of people who basically choose to trust people, because most people are not terrible monsters! Why not? Most violent and sex crimes are committed by people well known by the victim, and most are not reported! The truth is, a community that promotes transparency and openness, like Couch Surfing, is likely to be safer than the street you live on! Like so many things, it is the fear of the unknown that holds us back, and that fear prevents us from some extraordinary experiences and connections along the way!
Like any entrepreneur worth his salt, I am guilty of getting bored with a project easily, when things seem stagnant. Dillon seems to have some pretty good intuition in reading people, and he was picking up on my recent lack of enthusiasm toward this project. We were talking over dinner, and he said that he couldn’t explain it, but he felt like I had lost something with the skate. He was right! I was sort of “drudging my way through,” because the speaking tour portion of this journey seems to need a jump-start. It’s actually quite difficult to schedule speaking engagements, when you’re on a moving tour like this, because windows of opportunity are so short, and I’m as yet, a relatively unknown entity. We’re creative, and I know we will solve this problem (We’ve actually been discussing some interesting solutions already), but I know that’s what has been down about the project. Dan, the president of APV, who is sponsoring the tour, has been an encouragement to me lately. He’s pointed out that we’ve already had a lot of success with the tour (Harvard, Yale, Mass Challenge, etc), and things don’t happen overnight.
Today was a liberating experience, because I was reminded of an important lesson that I’ve learned one too many times already: Our perception of our reality changes our reality! I was able to apply that today, and recognize that I’m doing what I said I want to do: I’m skating across America. It’s now my task to make the experience what I want it to be. If it’s not, it’s because of me. This is not just a generic motivational lesson, but actually backed by science! Studies in Quantum physics have shown that observing electromagnetic energy, for example, actually changes it! Apparently, it exists in wave form when not being observed and particle form, while being observed! We could get really deep here, but the point I want to make for our purposes is quite simple: Physical events take place in our lives, but more often than not, it is what we do with an experience that makes it “good” or “bad.” This isn’t just for everyday ups and downs: The consummate opportunist takes any change, positive or negative, and views it simply as a change, a shift, and an alteration. With this mindset, the change always presents some form of opportunity, but sometimes, it takes a special intellect to see it. I guess it just depends if you want to sing in the rain or cry! It also depends if you want to ask why or why not?