Each morning this week before the start of daily meetings for my conference in D.C., I have been riding a bicycle from the Hotel, through Rock Creek Park, along the Potomac, and down to the National Mall. A firm believer that education should extend outside of the classroom, I think this theory likewise applies to my circumstance here in Washington, learning everyday within the various conference halls but also recognizing the importance of this beautiful city which I am able to visit annually.
Leaving with the rising Sun at 6am, I put in my headphones and while most others are still asleep, enter my own personal dreamscape, surrounded by nature and history; beauty and knowledge. As I ride along a silent but swift river, the music acts as a secondary alarm clock, a soundtrack to my mornings which I share with joggers, rowers, and other bikers, each of us valuing this special time of day where we try to find direction, around some corner where it’s been waiting to meet us. The sky turns from a sleepy Grey to an awakened Orange, mirroring the positive attitude change in me as well, grateful for these opportunities.
While riding a bicycle in Ethiopia would be akin to a Death Wish, outside of East Africa, it still remains my singular favorite means of transportation. With extensive experience riding along the West Coast of the United States as well as the entire length of South Korea, I think that a bicycle affords more mobility than either by car or foot. The best way to see a new place, I continuously welcome the chance to ride, floating it seems through both time and space; foot to pedal and wheel to ground.
To arrive at historical monuments in the early morning with the Sun painting them its own special color, I am able to ride around the National Mall, visiting everything from the Korean to Vietnam War Memorials as well as the Lincoln and Washington Monuments too. With occasional trips which deviate to the White House or Capital Steps, it is a great way to start a day, underlying some of the cultural and historical foundations which helped to lay the groundwork of our country. Having visited the respective monuments of various capitals around the globe during my travels, I would be remiss to not the take the time to see Washington’s, a short bicycle ride away from where I spend a week learning how English Language Fellows are Cultural Ambassadors as well.
The fresh morning air combined with the sights which pass my eyes is a great way to start the day, enhancing my love for this city with each passing mile. Unsure of whether these daily rides are a continuation of my dreams from the night before or the start of a new and empowering day, regardless I remain grateful for these opportunities, surrounded by dynamic people, natural beauty, and historical contexts…