The meaning of life on the road less travelled
By Lois WilsonCasey Miller was always afraid of riding a pushbike and he doesn’t like camping or being alone. So why on earth would this young businessman even think about riding across America, more than 3,200 miles with only a sleeping bag and two T-shirts?
At age 31, Casey had already experienced much of how the world defines success. He had graduated from Harvard and built a successful international company that turned garbage into electricity. He seemed to have it all; had travelled the world, made some money and acquired stuff. Yet somehow he wasn’t happy and neither did he feel meaningful.
“Like many people of my generation, I was stuck between the allure of capitalism and the painful realisation that more does not mean better. I felt empty, even though my life was surrounded by wonderful places, experiences, and things,” said Casey.
Heartbroken after being dumped on the Eiffel Tower, homeless and uncertain of the direction of his career, Casey fell into a deep depression. Looking back on it now, Casey says that this devastation created the perfect storm to define his personal journey to find true meaning in life.
“I am deeply interested in what makes people get out of bed in the morning” said Casey, “and before I knew it, I was announcing to the world that I would ride a pushbike from coast to coast, interviewing people on how they found meaning in their lives.”
Based on Socrates’ 2,500-year-old quote “the unexamined life is not worth living”, Casey purchased his first bike since elementary school, named it “Socrates” and set off, two weeks later, from Portland Oregon on August 8, 2011.
A particularly bizarre idea since he was afraid of riding a bike but necessary he felt to push the envelope of his vulnerability and discomfort. He arrived 67 days later in Cambridge Massachusetts having conducted over 400 interviews with people he met along the way, asking them “What inspires you? Are you doing it now? And “If not, why not?”
Interestingly, of the 67 days of his journey, he only had to camp out for three. People received him warmly, fed him and took him in. From mad scientists to homemakers, he interviewed them all.
One of the main things he learnt he said was that: “People are good and people respond to people who are being genuine” and “the more people give away of who they intrinsically are, the more meaning they have in their lives”.
Not surprisingly he found meaning in his own life. He is shortly to publish his book “Six and a Half Meanings to Life” and has since launched his “Long Road Home Project”, a cross-country bicycle ride that aims to give the healing power of a transcontinental bicycle journey with a group of people who need it now more than ever recently returned soldiers.
Starting in Seattle, WA in July 2012, three soldiers will cycle across the United States, arriving in Washington, DC four months later. Along the way, they will meet, speak, and stay with hundreds of other veterans, shedding light on the question: “What can we do to serve our veterans as they come home?”
Recently featured in the Huffington Post, I have a feeling we are only hearing the beginning of Casey Miller’s life journey. He is an example of that breed of entrepreneur that is driven to give of themselves through discomfort and hardship and thereby ultimately find true success and a new, unexpected and untraditional path in life, the road less travelled. To find out more about Casey go to www.socratesspoke.com.
Something to read: “Achieving the Impossible a Fearless Leader, a Fragile Earth” Lewis Gordon Pugh. Something to watch: Lewis Pugh’s mind shifting Everest swim www.ted.com
This article was written by Lois Wilson. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of
The Royal Gazette.