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On the 12th of December, accompanied by our fathers, we pedaled the last few strokes to the finish line in The Bund, Shanghai, to the cheers and hugs of many of our friends and family. We’ve spent the last weeks reveling in the comforts of home and adjusting to our post-trip lives. The question on everyone’s lips is the same: what’s next?
While exactly where we’ll be for the next few years for us remains unclear, here’s what we have planned for the next few months, and some musing about our next steps.
We’re compiling a book about our journey, which should be ready a few months after we return home. It’s a compilation of our best blog posts and published works, buttressed by some new narrative writing and excerpts from the extensive diary entries and notes we maintained during the journey. It’s a book that doesn’t require a reader to start at the beginning. One will be able to pick up any chapter and relive, for a half hour, a period of our journey. We’ll keep P1 fans up to date on progress, and of course announce when you can order your copy on Amazon or download it onto your Kindle.
The Editor Trip
After spending the month of January visiting friends and spending time with family, we’ll take off for a tour of Chicago, DC, and New York to meet with all the editors we’ve built relationships with on our journey. The point of the trip is to assess who we want to work for, where we want to work, and get advice from power players in the industry on next steps for a career in journalism.
Chris and I have developed a few TED style talks about how to tell stories. They are based on the foundation of our journalistic strategy: CCR, or Character, Conflict, Relevance. One talk, spearheaded by Chris, talks about how to think like a journalist to get more out of your relationships. The other talk, spearheaded by Morgan and followed by a short workshop, is a practical lesson in how to use CCR to build powerful 30 second anecdotes that will help sell your ideas. We’ll be giving these talks at various schools, companies, and headquarters upon our return. Let us know if you’re interested in hearing us speak, or you know someone who is.
From Morgan: Musings on My Future, and a Life of Adventure
I left Paris with the notion that I might “settle down” after this trip, that so grand an undertaking might actually quench my thirst for adventure. By the time I got to India, I realized just how ridiculous that notion was. Adventure, and the challenges and excitement that it brings, are a part of my spirit that I will never shake. I have to embrace it, and follow the turbulent path upon which those urges guide me.
The question that lies ahead is not about whether I will quest for adrenaline highs and exoticism and the limits of my endurance, but when and where. It is also about whether I can overcome the opposite: a vitriolic fear of enclosed spaces with computer screens. The allergic reaction I have to chaining my life to such a space is strong enough that is has dampened my ambition. I’ve always had dreams of power, but somewhere on this trip I decided I would sacrifice them, for a while, on the altar of total freedom.
So while I’m not sure where I will be three months hence, I can say one thing: I will not take a job where I’m required to be in an office every day. I might have to become an office monkey later, when some great goal of enterprise or politics forces a routine. I will probably even have to make a compromise now, for journalism is a passion, and writing has to be done somewhere and editors have to be appeased. But my adventures are far from over.
I imagine that my life over the next few years will be some sort of hybrid. There are three things that I really want to do with them: find and write good stories, travel and learn languages, and spend as much time as possible climbing mountains. More specifically, I want it all. I want to climb the tallest peaks, take year-long walks across Africa, work on an Arctic expedition. I want to plumb and experience the hells of humanity that I have barely brushed on this trip: entrenched poverty, ethnic conflicts, wars. I want to write about all of that.
I imagine that that lifestyle will have to be supported by some combination of freelance writing and table waiting, or perhaps teaching English in foreign countries. Supporting myself will require some creativity.
I’m not totally sure where I’ll be three months from now. I need to get a lot of advice, and maybe make some money, before I take my next big jump. The decision, though, will hinge on two questions. Where can I build a name as a journalist? Where can I learn to climb?
Here’s to all the shenanigans, challenges, and friendships to come.
For now, a career in journalism is the game plan. I’ve got my eye on three publications in SF, DC, and NY that specialize in the type of long-form feature stories we honed throughout our journey. I know I’m about to become a poor, struggling writer, but I’m addicted to the thrill of it. Each story becomes its own adventure. Breaking into obscure scenes like child boxing and hip hop is just a badass career to have as a twenty five year old.
But for me, the real focus of the next two years is building relationships. Cycling from Paris was a chance to explore a vast swath of humanity — so many different lives and cultures – but it has been difficult to truly know people and places we passed. Creating bonds takes time, and I look forward to suspending some of my mobility in the next couple of years to accomplish that.
I know I’m not done traveling yet. I’ve got another long adventure in me, and the next two years will serve to gear up for some of the loneliness and loss of community that such adventures entail. I want to give back to the friends and family who so generously allowed me to vagabond over these last two years. Because come 2016, I know I’m doing it again.
(This post is written by Philippe Hartley on behalf of the PostulateOne team – they’re busy enjoying the thrills of victory, like giving interviews, sleeping, and seeing people they have known for more than an hour)
PostulateOne brought us excitement through the finish line itself. Not shown in this piece is the PostulateOne Master of Journalism plaques which were awarded Chris Walker and Morgan Hartley to cheers on a rooftop hotel overlooking the Pearl.
We hope that, via these few minutes of video, PostulateOne fans all over the globe can share the fabulous closing moments as we lived them. Many who have helped Morgan and Chris along their voyage do not have any way of seeing these images, or ever knowing what happened to those two bicycle journalists on a long voyage. To them, and to the many, many people who went out of their way to help, we say ” ‘wish you could have been here.”
The festivities were the product of vision and preparation. In China, public assembly is strictly forbidden, especially on the heavily patrolled Shanghai Bund where the finish line stood . Just putting up this post and video required determination to get around the firewalls. What seems like a easy upload or a good street party to Americans is cause for arrest here, and our public celebration was definitely a guerrilla move, as the documented party break-up attests. The Walker and Hartley families wish to recognize the teams at ChaseFuture and Strikingly; a rousing bravo to Elisa Montalvo and her dancers. All backed the call for a special effort, and helped deliver. A tip of the hat specifically to Greg Nance and David Chen for their winning leadership and friendship. We thank you all.
(Note: this posting was not authored by either of the PostulateOne writers). In the link below, the advance welcome team intercepts PostulateOne 35km outside of Shanghai center. The video starts as the two parties find each other. Chris’s father John Walker (who had met Chris and Morgan the night before), Philippe Hartley (Morgan’s father) and Greg Nance (close friend of Morgan’s and a Shanghai resident) escort the team through the outskirts of the massive city of 25 million. Philippe captures a few key and emotional moments along the electrified ride in, as the sun drops, and the kilometers melt away toward an unforgettable evening. See “PostulateOne – The Finish & Celebration” for what followed.(to be uploaded soon)