In June I had the pleasure of meeting Diana, who had just graduated from Oregon State University’s veterinary school and was biking from Corvallis, OR, to Savannah, GA, to attend a music festival. She had contacted me through WarmShowers.org—and despite hosting nine(!) people this summer, she was the only person I met through that site.
Atticus and I were both thrilled to be hosting a vet! She’s more interested in the public health aspect of veterinary medicine (think: the Centers for Disease Control and livestock inspections), but she had lots of fun with Atticus and I learned a lot about large-animal medicine that I didn’t know before.
Diana has been journaling about her trip ever since she left Corvallis on June 10th, airing her concerns and celebrating her personal triumphs. Before she set off, she was concerned about an old knee injury causing her excruciating pain. Despite the anxiety, she was so speedy that she ended up deciding to take a side trip to participate in RAGBRAI. In order to get to the start, she had to bike across Nebraska—six days of riding at least 90 miles per day, in 100+ degree temperatures. She made it, and then did RAGBRAI, which meant essentially doing the same thing across Iowa.
After RAGBRAI she visited friends and family in Wisconsin and Chicago before starting to head back on course. She ended up taking a couple of weeks off in Kentucky (where the local newspaper wrote a story about her). She finished her trip, which included a long rest period, in 90 days.
Pretty amazing, huh?
Diana decided to end her trip in Atlanta, a month ahead of when the music festival was to start in Savannah. While the end of her trip didn’t end as you would expect, as with everything else she did it on her terms. The final entry about her trip was very thoughtful:
I learned that ‘fun’ is highly overrated in our culture. People would always ask me, “Are you having fun? That doesn’t sound like fun!” Of course the trip wasn’t always fun. I wasn’t always happy. But especially in the early days of the trip I found that the most fulfilling and satisfying experiences were those that were not fun but instead were difficult, challenging, uncomfortable, painful, or scary. We are far too preoccupied with fun. Go do something hard instead, you’d be amazed what it does for the soul.
Diana’s words couldn’t be more true—the most satisfying victories are often the hardest won.
While she is hoping to get a job at a rural veterinary practice while she completes a distance program for a Master of Public Health, I hope we cross paths again in the future. She’s a huge inspiration, and a joy to spend time with!