The forest behind my house was both adventureland and sanctuary for me growing up. It wasn’t until my first outdoor expedition in college that I began to understand the depths of my passion for teaching and learning in the out of doors. The majority of my working career has been at Earlham College, working as the coordinator of the outdoor education program. There, I spent vast amounts of time coordinating logistics for academic field courses in backpacking, canoeing, rock climbing, and bicycling. I believe as outdoor educators it is our job to discuss sustainability and environmental issues and relate them back to everyday life.
While canoeing in Wabakimi Provincial Park on August Wilderness, my colleague and I started talking and dreaming about the relationship between outdoor education, sustainability, our history with Indiana, Earlham students, and our interests in cycling. Upon returning we started to design a sustainability focused “Bike Indiana May Term” pedaling over 600 miles throughout Indiana. Through research, we discovered Climate Ride and participated in the Midwest Ride from Grand Rapids to Chicago, gaining confidence and building connections.
Wilderness settings have a unique ability to bring people together in close community to learn about each other, the environment, and natural history. Bicycle touring is even more unique in its ability to bring people directly in contact with the community traveling through. This blog started with the documentation of Climate Ride and the Bike May Term. From there, it documented my self-supported bicycle tour from Indiana to Maine and has since evolved into something much larger. Living out of a van is not the same as traveling by bicycle, but it is an increasing popular form of alternative living, and when paired with WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), seemed like a logical experience to add to the blog. After living the vanlife for over a year, I feel thankful for the experience and simplicity. In August, I joined my husband bicycling South, with our dog Fitzroy, pedaling to Argentina on a once in a lifetime adventure. In San Diego we found out our pup was sick so we’ve decided to take a year off bicycling to establish some roots within the project and within our own personal lives.
EarthLifeJourney will continue to exist and share adventures of place, sustainability, and agriculture. For a deeper look into issues of climate change and communities, check out the Western Hemisphere Project.