Well this is it. I am sitting in the last new room I will have at Grove City College thinking about all the great experiences that I had over this last summer. It is hard to believe that over a month has gone by. It is funny how fast life can switch so drastically. Just a little while ago I was sitting on a much less comfortable but all too familiar “seat” than I am right now on a journey that seemed to stretch on forever but at the same time flew by so quickly. Now it is back to GCC for one final year and then off into the “real world.”
A lot of people on campus have asked me what it is like to bike across America. Honestly, the actual act of riding my bicycle across America this summer seems so insignificant in relation to everything else that was accomplished. A bicycle is the means to get across the country but the journey is made up of the experiences you have in meeting new people and experiencing new things. Being the only team member with previous extended cycling experience I remember the guys and a few of my other close friends telling me before the trip I must really love biking to go across the country again. I told them then, and my view is still the same, I actually don’t really enjoy biking. For me it’s not about the biking at all. This summer I had the opportunity to do something that would change lives to come, invest in the friendships with the guys on the trip and meet people across the country that I could try to impact, but even more so be impacted by. That is the reason I went on the trip.
A couple of days ago I was sitting in Mark Jacob “Loosy” Loosararian’s room talking with him and reflecting a bit about what we learned from the trip. He asked me, “Do you think you now look at things differently after the experiences we had?” My first response said in a semi-joking tone was, “Yes I now feel an overwhelmingly large urge to help people who are wandering and homeless.” But in all seriousness it is hard to put into words how a trip like this can change you. I think that the largest, big picture idea that I took away from this trip was that no matter what people say and think about the people in America, there are a lot of incredible people here. People from all over the country went out of their way so many times and in so many different ways for us for no reason at all. They did not owe us anything or feel obligated at all to help; they simply wanted to do something nice for us. The first week we got back to school we each had to write a paper about some concept or topic that we found appropriate for the trip. The title of my paper was “Altruism in America.”
So here we are. The trip is over and the blog posts are coming to an end. I know I speak for the rest of the team though when I say I don’t expect this to be the end of “Team GCC”. It is out hope that other Grove City College students step up to the challenge of making a difference and doing big things for this school and others. I am excited to see what others come up with and hope to help them along in the process.
As for me personally, lacrosse has started up, I am learning how to cook food for myself (thanks to the help of my beautiful girlfriend Monica) in my on campus apartment and I have just begun searching for a job. I have no idea where I will be 1 year from now and I am kind of excited about that. If you leave doors open God can show you some pretty incredible opportunities, just like he did this last summer. You guys are the greatest, thanks for following along all summer!
Ryan R. Herman