I first got interested in doing a cross country bike trip from getting involved in NBG - the National Bike Greenway. August 20th in Washington, D.C. there will be a large gathering of cyclists from across the USA promoting car free living. As an active member of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, I thought this was a great idea. I didn't need much encouragement.
Plus I was sick of my job and how it promoted commercialism. Product design to me is not only doing what the client wants - there is a great deal of responsibility that goes along with creating mass produced objects. The US industrial design field is far behind some European countries and Australia when it comes to ecodesign. Hence, I'm headed down under after the bike trip.
Finally, I've been meeting many older people still in school or just starting their careers because they took time to travel. I was raised in an environment (upper middle class America) where kids go to high school, go to college, and then work. Dude, that sucks. So here I am. Biking across the US. Traveling Asia, and headed to Australia.
I'd say the most compelling reason for me to go is to be with my brother. I miss when we were in high school and hung out together. It's time to test my memory and see if I can stand being with him for three months. We've already pissed each other off and we haven't even left yet.
Other than that, I also believe in alternative ways of transportation. Anything I can do to help the free-car movement is the least I can do, although I suppose I'm not as fanatical about it as some people. I still own a car, but try to bike most of the time. There's a proper place for cars. Commuting by yourself isn't it.
And finally, but definitely not in the least, I really need a break from life. I too went from high school straight to college (I could make an inside joke here about Reed in four years...) staight to the work force. I'm tired. Time to revujenate my mind and soul and punish my body.