I have spent the last week in Denver, Colorado staying with a friend. During this time, I was able to get some much needed rest, hike at Rocky Mountain National Park twice, visit some nearby towns, rode some incredible roads on a motorcycle, and took a dip in the river at Ault rock.
Here are some photos of Rocky Mountain National Park:
Thank you, Nick, for being a compassionate and gracious host.
I attempted to contact the office of International Refugee Committee here in Denver to try and see if a family or individual refugee from Syria would be comfortable with sharing their story. Unfortunately, after multiple attempts of calling they never got back to me in time.
I also went out for a coffee with a wonderful young woman named Kristyn. We spoke about spirituality and I inquired about her life and the work she does here in Denver. She does a lot for the local community by trying to use the bicycle as a tool for empowerment for women through leading rides, building a strong female/trans/bi community, and teaching them how to fix bicycles as well. She is an inspiration and is also very passionate about coffee. Her dream is to open a meditation center one day. We met at a local coffee shop.
I watched an incredible documentary put out by National Geographic called Hell On Earth: The Fall Of Syria and The Rise Of Isis. Here is a link to the trailer, as I highly recommend watching it:
The documentary does a good job of outlining the various complexities surrounding groups involved, and historical events that lead up to and surround the conflict in Syria. It is very informative, but also very sad and disturbing. Please prepare yourself if you decide to watch it; at times it contains graphic and emotionally difficult material.
I have been thinking of constructive ways to help others see reality from multiple perspectives in a respectful and constructive manner. After meeting so many people that are experiencing fundamentally distinct realities from one another, I am concerned that many have a difficult time empathizing because of this fact. I do not know if there is any one clear answer, but I am grateful for whatever brought this question to my attention. It will continue to be a guiding force in my life in whatever I decide to do next.
It is amazing how the simple inability to relate to others due to living different realities can diminish our ability to empathize with one another.
It has been amazing to experience the amount of support many have shown to Jason Creswell, a man I met back in Hindman, KY who was also riding on the TransAmerica trail. He is originally from New Zealand and most recently had lived in the U.K. for a number of years. Unfortunately he was hit from behind by a car biking over Hoosier Pass and he suffered many severe injuries. The day after I found out about his injuries I started a gofundme account for any medical expenses he may have incurred being airlifted to the hospital. So far people have donated around $9,000! How wonderful! Here is a link to the page if you wish to donate, or just read more about what happened:
On Friday I will be taking the bus down to Pueblo, CO to continue on the journey to Astoria, OR. I am a little more than halfway, and expect to be in Astoria by August 1st.