Walking through the front door to my house - after being away for 8 weeks – and being greeted by Jamie, Robbie and Janey was incredibly exciting and an emotional moment for all of us. My boys had grown so tall in the time I had been away!
They had decorated the front and the inside of the house with ‘Welcome Home’ balloons, ’congratulations‘ banners and US flags. Frankie Miller’s song ’Caledonia‘ was playing in the background and there was a large map of the USA highlighting my route and where I stopped each night. It was fascinating to study this and reflect on the scale, the terrain of the wonderful adventure I had just experienced.
It is a massive credit to Janey and the boys that they were sufficiently supportive and understanding that they allowed me to fulfil this dream of doing the Trans Am adventure. I am in no doubt that the ledger of brownie points are now stacked very heavily in Janey’s favour. So I expect the conversation for the foreseeable future to go along the lines of ’A new pair of shoes? Of course, dear! ….. a new handbag – go for it …. are you sure one is enough? … ‘ :-)
My family has given me enormous encouragement throughout my cycle trip and it was hugely encouraging to receive messages of support each day from Janey, my Mum & Dad, Claire and my brother, Neil. My Granny and my father in-law had Janey printing off my blogs on a weekly basis so they could follow my progress. I know they are all incredibly proud of my achievement and delighted I returned home safely. I am so appreciative of their loving support and their heartfelt messages which were so important to me throughout.
It was amazing to catch up with friends and a whole network of people who had heard about my adventure and subsequently followed my blog. I began to understand where the hundreds of daily blog hits came from as some of my friends told me that their friends, parents or work colleagues were following my journals too. I was amazed by this!! It was becoming a daily routine for them and some even began questioning if I was OK when, on some occasions, I didn’t post a blog (because I was out of internet reach) on a particular day.
I am truly appreciative of the interest shown and the complimentary words everyone has given about my trip. I thought I was just documenting, for the benefit of my family and close friends, what I had done each day. However, I am pleasantly surprised at the level of interest my daily accounts provided and delighted some people were able to share in my magnificent adventure which I was so lucky to experience.
I now fully appreciate that I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to fulfil my dream and this wonderful experience will live with me forever. I would encourage anyone who has a lifelong dream to take a chance and go for it. Now that I have been home for 4 weeks it certainly feels like the 8 weeks I was in the USA was such a short part of my life, yet it was certainly one of best experiences. Indeed, I will probably need to revisit my own blog to remind myself of all the wonderful things I experienced.
But I now need to return to a normal routine and find a job in the tough financial services sector. It’s not a particularly buoyant marketplace for managerial positions because of the economic slowdown and inevitable cost cuttings across the industry. Despite that I have already been for a number of interviews and I am hopeful of making a decision in the coming weeks.
Jamie & Robbie are now enjoying their school summer holiday and I am looking forward to the novelty of spending some extended time with them.
In my spare time I’ve been appreciating the wonderful Scottish scenery and landscape while out walking, playing golf, getting my fix of cycling and some running (as I contemplate preparations for September’s Berlin Marathon).
Before I arrived in America I had a list of the things I wanted to do and things I wanted to see but my trip was defined by the wonderful people I met. In particular:
- John & Pam Urso who rescued me when I encountered bike problems in the remote Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia and showed such kindness
- Sam and Steve & Mrs Richardson, Virginia for their local advice and ongoing support through my blog
- Derek, Erika, Eric & Sabrina McCann from Nashville who were fabulously hospitable and showed me a great time the weekend of 28 & 29 April when I visited their home town
- Fes Shaughnessy from St Louis, Missouri for his consideration, thoughtfulness, hospitality, guidance, advice, kindness and friendship
- The Top Dogs – Prairie Dog, Dan, Andrew, Mike, Matthew, T-Bone & Stu for making me feel so welcome and letting me hang out with them in Illinois and St Louis and their ongoing support
- Ward Garrisson from Missouri who gave me some useful directions and was a regular contributor to my blog and help support me throughout the remainder of my journey
- Jim and Bridget Paterson from Pueblo, Colorado for their excellent company and their very generous contribution towards my charity fundraising
- Tom & Kathy Sheffer from Sheridan, Montana for spending a very enjoyable afternoon of 31 May with me
- Scott Arnone from Clarkston, Washington who kindly looked after me by taking me out for dinner and put me up in his fabulous panoramic home
Many Europeans seem to view Americans as having a reputation for being sort of cold to strangers but I found that nothing was further from the truth. People were hospitable and generous in all parts of the country. There is something about bicycle touring that makes you vulnerable, and when Americans see that you are really putting yourself out there, they respect that.
It was lovely to re-establish contact with some of my old friends such as Keith ‘Chuggy’ Wilson, Slim, Dave Leigh and Keith Logan. I really appreciated their encouragement and support and I look forward to catching up with all of them sooner rather than later.
My neighbours were very supportive with their comments posted to my blog and the very generous sponsorship support. So thanks to - the Heaphys, Duffs, Lucas’s, Mackies, Aitkens, Thains, Hitchens, Woods, Spinks
It was enormously motivational to receive messages of support and encouragement every single day from my best friends, Stuart & Fiona Cameron Bowman and The Chicken Ranchers: (the Barrys, McDermids, Mitchells and Nisbets).
I want to thank everyone who supported my charity fundraising efforts http://www.justgiving.com/Scottybhoy I reached my £2,000 target on the day I reached the Pacific coastline and I am expecting this to exceed £3,000 in the coming days. I know the Childrens Hospice Association of Scotland (CHAS) are thrilled with this valuable support.
In bringing my blog to an end I would like to thank you all for your interest, kindness and tremendous support – God Bless all of you and ….
for providing me with an amazing adventure - God Bless the United States of America