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“I am losing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news.”  -John Muir

             There are whispers of adventure that often build into a louder voice—a small stream of water that spills over into a wild and chorusing waterfall.  A fleeting thought that catches and gathers itself into a centered and unified desire. More often than not, the collective rhythm of our days doesn’t afford us the room to chase awake the muses that hibernate inside; so, that’s when you quit your jobs, buy a reliable bike, and set out on a seventeen-month biking trip from Oregon to Patagonia.  Or at least that’s the cure to keeping wonder alive that Jedidiah Jenkins and Philip Crosby chose. Thirty-year-old Jedidiah Jenkins, son of Peter Jenkins, author of Walk Across America, and Philip Crosby, twenty-eight, can currently be found on the Pan-American Highway somewhere in Costa Rica, biking their way to the southern-most tip of South America.  Jed had been mulling over maps and planning  “Oregon to Patagonia” for a few years prior, and now the strung together routes are unfolding roads they wake up to ride.  Jed has a symbol for “South” tattooed on his left index finger to represent the direction they’ve been chasing since they began August 25, 2012, and are estimating to reach its uttermost in Chile by December 2014. Jedidiah took a hiatus from his job at Invisible Children for the trip, and Philip had worked with Charity Water up until 2011.  For Jed, choosing to leave established rhythms, community, and comforts for a year and a half is not an escaping of the responsibilities of adulthood, but rather an uncovering of what growing up ought to mean.  In his article published by GOOD magazine he writes, “The choice to pursue a dream, at the destruction of my comfort, with the loss of safety and certainty, all for the purpose of doing something that inspires others to a fuller life of wonder and creativity and quality, to me that is a burden of responsibility worth carrying. To me, that is growing up.” They travel light, sleeping in either hammocks or on sun-reflectors that you often find in car dashboards.  Their presence is light as well, jokingly asking each other before heading out from a night’s rest at Big Sur, “Hey, where are you living these days?” When asked why they are making the trip, Jed thoughtfully responds, “ My journey is not a reaction to distaste. It is a reaction to an observable trend: human beings amass comfort and minimize risk as they age.” So here’s to the open road and reacting to the seemingly inevitable with a dose of thoughtful risk.  Their choice to live differently is a reminder that we choose predictability, comfort, and safety just like we can choose a pioneer route that will make it all feel more alive.

To follow Jed and Philip ‘s travel stories: @jedidiahjenkins @philipcrosby | oregontopatagonia.com

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