September 2, 2016
Back in 2001, Kat and I pedaled our tandem for three months through the Deep South. The highlight for me was getting the chance to meet Jimmy and Roslyn Carter in Plains, GA. Now at age 91, Jimmy Carter is the longest “retired” president in history, and continues to inspire with his commitment to serving others.
Sometimes in the wake of people who have accomplished so much, it is easy to feel small and insignificant. There are moments of “what have I done with my life?” But you never know who you may inspire.
Just last week I received an email. It read,
“I am wondering if you are the same Willie I met as a preteen in Mershon, GA. You and your wife Kat (?) were on a tandem bike and were going to camp in the yard and my mom had y’all stay in my sister’s room. You had told us y’all had ridden from Oregon or Washington State. I don’t know if you are the same person, but if you are, I have always remembered you guys. Y’all were the coolest and most interesting people that hit that small town. I have tried to find y’all here and there over the years and I think I may have finally found the right person. Please let me know of it is you guys. You have always been an inspiration to get out and do something.”
It had been 15 years, but I immediately remembered asking a woman in a small town in Georgia if we could camp in her yard. She invited us into her home. She had three daughters. We told each other stories, and I remember laughing a lot. One of them volunteered her room for us, and we slept surrounded by stuffed animals.
A tiny fraction of us will ever be President, or Nobel Laureate, or an Olympic athlete ... but everyone can be an inspiration.
Photos by Willie Weir
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday.
Willie Weir is a contributor for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His books, Travels with Willie and Spokesongs, will inspire you to hit the road and might change the way you approach bicycle travel. He lives in Seattle with his wife Kat. You can also find him at WillieWeir.com, Facebook, and Instagram.