To get the ball rolling on this blog I want start by saying thank you! Whether you are a family member, a friend, a donor, or any combination of the above I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to read my blogs. On every sojourn I try to keep a blog (or update, as I used to refer to them) because I enjoy writing them and I love your comments. Because of this enjoyment I have written almost 50 pages over the last couple years about China and Brazil. For this series of blog postings I will be writing about my travels within – and across – America. Essentially this means that I will be taking the same cultural approach I took in China and Brazil and apply it to some areas of the country I less familiar with (i.e. the South). Yet, I get ahead of myself – this first blog is simply going to be background information. The real travel blogs will begin right before I start biking across the country and will end upon my completion.
This blog series is a cultural description of my travels across the Southern part of the U.S. on a bicycle. This trip will take me from Nags Head, North Carolina to San Diego, California and will be completed in conjunction with an organization called Bike & Build. On this trip I will bike anywhere between 30 and 110 miles per day for a two and half month period. I will also be periodically stopping to help the affordable housing cause by building homes (hence, bike & BUILD!), raising awareness for the affordable housing movement (by wearing brilliant blue bike suits), and seeing America at its finest (i.e. we get to stop at Graceland)! I am undertaking this journey because I support the affordable housing cause, love cycling, and enjoy putting myself through life-changing experiences. Through my travels I hope to support a great cause, meet incredible people, enjoy America the Beautiful, and blog about everything for you – my readers, donors, friends, and family – who I love so much!
Now that I have described my personal interest and reasoning in this trip, I would like to offer some insights, resources, and places for you to get involved in the affordable housing cause. The first is, of course, Bike & Build (http://bikeandbuild.org/cms/). Bike & Build has donated over $2.7 million to the affordable housing cause in the last eight years of existence! On top of that they have helped develop a burgeoning group of young leaders who will continue supporting the affordable housing cause for generations to come. Finally, they have only lost one participant in eight years (out of hundreds) in one of the most grueling, dangerous treks a human can accomplish. In short, they are pretty darn amazing!
If you are like me, you are probably asking why Bike & Build is focused on affordable housing? The answer is that the organization was started to support affordable housing because the creators saw that 95 Million people in the U.S. (1/3 of the population) could not afford their current living arrangements. In recent times this has been exacerbated by an economic recession, a mortgage crunch, and an increase in unemployment. According to The U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department (http://www.hud.gov/offices/cpd/affordablehousing/) if the cost of a person’s house costs more than 30% of gross family income then the living arrangements are unaffordable. Most homeowners housing costs range from 10 – 20% of gross income, but renters costs come to a median of 29%. This means that the affordable housing cause is for low-class families who must decide between food and shelter!
Finally, I will be doing work with Habitat for Humanity (www.habitat.org) because they are well connected – though not affiliated – with Bike & Build. Habitat is well known for their work in affordable housing projects around the world but I will specifically be working with the Miami University Habitat and others along the way. To learn more about the affordable housing cause I highly recommend Habitat’s website for some great information and ways to get involved.
Well, that is all I have for this first blog post. If you wish to learn more about Bike & Build or want to donate to my personal fundraising efforts, go to http://bikeandbuild.org/cms/, click donate, and find my name! I Appreciate the support and hope you enjoy my blogs as they tumble out of my brain! For now, I am just working on getting ready and graduating college. Until next time, Bon Voyage!