Updated: Nov 18, 2021
Who are you?
How old are you?
26- Until September then I'll be 27
Where are you from?
Middle of Kansas
What is your purpose?
...to be determined...
"My name is Cheri," I say without thought, after the cordial "hi."" That's how I introduce myself to people as I stretched out my right hand like a robot. Then I repeat this motion over and over and over again. I have met so many people in the corporate world, and to be honest, I can't remember their names. I would bet money, they can't remember mine either.
When I am shaking a hand, I try to focus on the feel of whoever's hand I am touching. I feel for the hand's grip strength, callouses, the temperature, and the size. I look to see if the nails are polished, bitten off, and/or if they have dirt underneath the them. The old saying, "you can tell a lot by a man by the way he shakes a hand" isn't quite accurate. You can tell a lot by a person by the way their hands are.
There are songs with lyrics talking about hands. My personal favorite is "Can't Help Falling in Love" by Elvis Presley. Take my hand, Take my whole life too. Words to live by. The first contact and lasting connection you make is with your hands.
I didn't feel much while I was working for corporate America. The only thing I ever felt was someone's hand.
I didn't feel emotion. I never felt drawn to anything particular while I was working, except for the weekends. I was an engineer for manufacturing companies. I told myself, "as long as its a decent work environment, I can make it through each week until the weekend." I had to tell myself that every week.
The thing about being in a corporation, is the pay is amazing, but you will never work for yourself. Bottom line, you will always be working towards your boss's goals, and their boss's goals, and so on so forth.
I thought having an $86,000 job would pay for my travels but I never had the free time to go anywhere. I would have to work weekends, 50-60 hours a week, take phone calls, go in at night. That is the expectation for any manufacturing company.
I asked myself: What is freedom?
Freedom is deciding what your hands are going to do every moment of every day.
Nobody telling you to type a report, to make an ice mocha soy milk latte with two pumps of cane sugar, or to attend this "mandatory" meeting at 4:30pm on an Friday.
What is the price of freedom?
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it -Henry David Thoreau
This is my story.
I was born in Salina KS. I am a middle child of 4 kids. My mother is a math teacher. My father is an engineering manager for a pneumatics company.
In high school, I ran cross country (only to come in last every single JV meet my freshman/sophomore year) and track (same story there). I did one year of swimming. I was talented at swimming but I missed the sunshine and running through the fields. I did power lifting as well my last two years of high school. The coach, 'Mr. Smith' was a total silver fox. And you can bet, I never missed leg day ;)
I was a scholastic decathlon warrior. I made straight A's. I took every AP class available. I started college course my freshman year of high school. I was in Forensic, Business Professionals of America, Marching Band, Science Club, Mathletes, Scholars Bowl, and Science Olympiad.
I represented Saline County at Girls State in Lawrence KS where I was then voted as Secretary of State by all my fellow Kansas female peers.
I was then Miss Teen Kansas the summer of my junior year of high school.
I had a full ride to college with the Dean Scholarship.
I sound impressive right?
HA HA HA! I'm not.
I lost my scholarship my first year of college at Kansas State University. I failed multiple classes, and because of that, it took me five years to graduate with a Biological Engineering degree. I had several mental break downs and chopped off all my hair and joined the military (Army Reserves and did ROTC in college). I didn't finish that and got out 2 months before I was suppose to commission as an officer. When I eventually graduated, I managed to graduate in the top 5% of engineers (you can google that if you'd like)
I went to work for Anheuser-Busch making a starting pay of $72,000 plus a moving bonus. There, I was assaulted by an hourly team member and the company's HR and my boss did not follow up (they actually hid the complaint on file) after I had reported it to them. I was passed up on several promotions following that incident. I was then suspended due to an ex-wife's Facebook post accusing me of sleeping with her husband who worked at the facility (obviously got my job back). I left Anheuser-Busch, and took a job as an engineer for Sazerac at a salary of $86,000 plus a moving bonus. Six months into the roll, I was fired, before I could finish moving from Oklahoma to Maine.
So, you might be asking yourself, "Who is this person?"
On paper- I look good (I took a few resume work shop classes).
In reality- I look like a confused person who doesn't know what they want in life.
There's nothing really expectational about me. I have never fit in to a group, a sport, a job, or a societal "norm." I blend in the background of a crowd.
I suck at running but that's not the point. When I ran, I was moving. I had a direction and purpose. I always ran my best in a field or the country. I picked up cycling, and became a competitive semi-pro cyclist in only 2 years. In 2020 I rode 8,000 miles. My favorite rides are 60+ miles around the mountains.
I ride and run because it is my escape. I get to decide which way I want to turn, how long I want to go, and how hard I want to push myself.
I started hiking and backpacking in college. On a whim, I would look at my friends and tell them, "I'm going to go" mid conversation. I have my tent, backpack, and supplies in my car at all times. And I would go to a random destination and be outside for a few days. I continued that lifestyle into my working world. I would look at my colleges mid conversation and tell them, "I'm going to go."
It is July 22nd 2021. I have no job, a house in OKC, an RV, a truck, a dog, a cat, and a sexy husband.
I have been dying on the inside. I constantly think, "I have all the things I have been told to make me happy. So why am I not?" I found myself traveling every 4 weeks and paying thousands of dollars to sleep on the ground under the stars.
Here is where we are at. We are selling our house and all our possessions and are going to use the profits from the house to live on the road in an RV as we hike, and bike across the Nation.
I don't know how I am going to make money. And for some reason, I don't care. I don't have a timeline, I don't need one. I don't have a final destination because I don't want to start with a stopping point.
For someone who "had it all," (the house on the corner, the car, the job, the money, the success, the friends, the hobbies) there will be nothing left, except only the things that matters. My husband, my animals, and my need for adventure.
I don't know what my purpose is. I know it has to be something unconventional. I know I have to strip away everything I think I understand about life, and rediscover who I am and not who people tell me I am suppose to be.
So, Hi, I'm Cheri.
Welcome to my blog where I will share my journey with you. I'll let you guys know where I am going, what I am hiking, the best bicycle riding, my favorite eats, the equipment I use, the cost, and the truth of it all. Because, "The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it" and my time is priceless.