Originally published on Groucho Sports blog.
“I see you have me on the Tour de France. Does that mean I’m going to Europe?”
Those are the words that came out of my mouth when I called my manager after receiving my first ever schedule for Trek Travel. I wish I was joking about that. I was too excited to make sense.
I took a big gamble when I applied for a job with Trek Travel back in 2005. It wasn’t actually the first time I applied to be a guide. I’d applied one year earlier as well. At a time that it made a lot more sense for me to uproot and take off. A year earlier I was just a part time sales rat at Penn Cycle. I was living in an apartment that was both too big and too expensive for me to keep. My life was in flux.
Fast forward to 2005. I was fresh off a promotion. I was putting down offers to buy a house. Things were coming together. I was pretty content where I was. But the chance to travel, ride bikes, and have my paycheck say Trek Bicycle Corporation in the upper left corner seemed like too good of an opportunity not to take one more shot at it.
Long story short, I got the job with Trek Travel. I went from comfortable and settled to fish out of water in a matter of weeks. I quit my job that I liked. I moved out of an apartment that had begun to feel like home. I parked my car. I consolidated my entire life into a yellow Pedros rolling suitcase and a blue and silver Timbuk2 messenger bag.
I boarded a plane bound for Amsterdam, to our European headquarters in Nijmegen, Netherlands. From there I loaded into a van with three strangers and headed off to nearly six weeks in France, learning a new job, working in a country where I couldn’t even speak enough of the language to order a beer or a coffee, experiencing Europe for the first time (for that matter, experiencing anything other than the US for the first time), and about to get thrown into the mayhem of the Tour de France.
I was unspeakably terrified.
I was unspeakably excited.
I was setting off on a journey I couldn’t begin to imagine, and looking back, that I still have to convince myself really happened.
I just left Wisconsin, where we just trained in our next round of new guides, about to take the same leap. They’re in for an adventure they could never imagine.