The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly
— Theodore Roosevelt
 Grand Canyon, National Park- October 2017

Grand Canyon, National Park- October 2017

If I could write the script of my own life there are a few certainties that I would want to ensure. A lifetime of good health, laughter, and overall well-being is a given. A good job, an amazing family, and having a strong support group to help guide me through the toughest of times is a given. And of course, an endless supply of kimchee is also... a given. But the one certainty that I would want guaranteed in my life and one that takes precedence over all certainties is that I would want to ensure that the practice of reading came just as naturally to me as the air that I breath and this, my friends, is the main inspiration for this thing I've created and the sole reason why I cycled over 3,500 miles solo across the country in the Fall of 2016. I was determined to rewrite the script of my life-course because I wasn't happy with how far it had deviated from it original trajectory.

For a long time I believed that the number of books read in your life time would equate to your success in life and overall well roundedness as person, and perhaps this is true to an extent, but this belief led me to feel inferior, ashamed, and incapable; because, in all honesty, I'm not as well read as i'd like to be. So my solution to this was to quit all of my jobs and cycle across the country to spend time reading, because somehow I figured that if working so much was hindering me from being able to expand my mind and grow where it counts, then I had some serious catching up to do. I had a long list of books that I planned to read while I was on the road, but hardly cracked through one. Ironically, I hadn't found the time to read as much as I intended. With long days spent on the road, cycling until the sun just dipped into the horizon, I would pull over to my campsite for the night- which could mean the side of the road, a picnic table, or a park- with more concern for maintaining my stealth. So anything to jeopardize my safety on those nights (like turning on a nightlight to read) became less than priority- even if it meant that I wouldn't be able to fulfill the goals I set out with in the beginning. I don't feel that tour was a failure because I didn't fulfill its original purpose. In fact, I feel incredibly fulfilled and at peace knowing that I did make it to my end destination, San Francisco, safely. I felt truly blessed the entire ride and felt that the whole universe was conspiring in my favor to not only see me succeed, but to show me that among all the chaos that there is in the world, there is still so much good in humanity.

 Failure is such is a good thing- it gives you perspective. Celebrate the successes.

This is who I am. Thanks for reading. 

- Tiffany M. Pretlow