by Ginny Evans, Communications Intern
Casey Miller is about to embark on a journey that will take him by bicycle across the United States. Along the way he hopes to come to understand what unites the human experience and, at the same time, raise funds for ChildFund.
He begins his journey Aug. 8 in Portland, Ore., and will end many weeks later in Boston.
Miller paused in his training to tell us more about his motivations, expectations and concerns about his upcoming journey.
Q: Have you been on a trip like this before?
I have never done anything like this before. In fact, bikes and camping have never been appealing to me at all. Having said that, I believe that the greatest amount of personal growth only happens when we are placed in uncomfortable situations. That, coupled with a deep desire to understand what unites the human experience inspired me to bicycle across our nation. Now that I have been training for a few weeks, something remarkable has happened: I actually love biking. Yes, I am sore and still uncomfortable. But something about going slow and being deliberate has already given me a great sense of connection unlike any other I’ve felt before. I can only imagine how I’ll feel in a few weeks!
Q: What drives you to do this?
I am driven to understand how we are the same. So much of our world focuses on how we are different. My project, Socrates Spoke, aims at understanding how we are fundamentally the same.
Q: What do you love about this personal challenge you’re taking on?
I love that I am scared to death. I also love that I will be depending on the kindness of others — really making a web of connections — in order to make it to the other side.
Q: What will be the toughest challenge for you?
I think I am frightened most by the long hours alone. I love people and love being around them. Being alone for long stretches of highway will be hard for me. That said, part of what I am trying to learn on this trip is the art of simply being. And I will have a lot of time to just “be” on this long voyage.
Q: Why did you choose to raise money for ChildFund?
There are two reasons. The first is that two of my friends work for ChildFund. Oscar Fleming works in the D.C. office and Nicole Duciaume works in the Panama office. Besides being my friends, Oscar and Nicole are deeply inspiring people to me and indeed have helped me understand that a large part of meaning in life comes through serving others.
The second reason focuses on the question that I will be asking across the United States, “How do you create meaning in your life?” This is a profound question, and indeed, perhaps one of the most fundamental of all of life’s questions. And while this inquiry may be at the root of understanding our human experience, I view the opportunity of being able to reflect on it as somewhat of a luxury. Only after certain basic needs have been met can humans contemplate existence. ChildFund enables deprived, excluded and vulnerable children — children otherwise condemned to a life of survival — to ask these questions by providing them with the tools and resources to become positive leaders in their communities. This is truly inspiring and I feel honored to be able to help support ChildFund’s mission.