There is a moment that I absolutely dread when people find out that I’m cycling around the world. It’s that once-over most people give me, a sweeping glance up and down my body that is usually blink-and-you-miss-it fast. I never miss it.
People get judged by their appearance every day, and since I’ve put myself in the spotlight recently, I get judged a lot. I know that I’m not skinny; I know that I don’t look like the typical athlete.
But I am more than my weight. I am more than my body type.
I am strong. I am determined. I have an enormous will-power, and what I look like has nothing to do with how good of a bicycle tourist I am. It has nothing to do with the smile I get on my face when I get on a bike a sunny day. It has nothing to do with the song in my heart when I’m discovering the world from a saddle. My weight has nothing to do with how strong I feel when I’ve climbed a hill and stand at the top feeling absolutely unbeatable. Like I can do anything I want. And I can.
Would I be faster if I was thinner? Maybe.
Would I be happier? No.
This trip is not about what I look like, it’s about doing something I love and living the life of an adventurer. My body is amazing and I praise it regularly for what it can do, something everyone should start doing instead of judging it by how it looks. My legs are strong and they can take me places far away. My arms can lift heavy things and give warm hugs. My stomach is strong enough to hold me up during hours in the saddle, and every time I laugh I can feel the muscles working to my advantage. My brain can process things faster than a computer and it can learn languages and make up stories and it gives me courage.
There is more to me than what I look like, and I want you to remember that.