Epilogue: Moral of the Story
Watsky – Moral Of The Story
Arkells – Knocking At The Door
Stars – Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It
Having just returned home from our official welcome home party hosted by Wade’s wonderful friends Jamie and Ryan, I’m feeling especially grateful for all the kindness and generosity we’ve received throughout this whole experience. With the ride done now, I want to thank everyone for their support throughout this whole experience. Before doing so though I want to recap the last couple days since for me they have been just as much part of the whole experience as the cycling. So go use the washroom now, grab a snack and get ready for a long read.
Waking up yesterday and today in my own bed has been a strange feeling. Despite being gone for only 37 days (34 of them spent riding and the others out west enjoying some music with friends) I found that I quickly adjusted to waking up in a different place each day. With no definitive plans yesterday besides the obvious one of going to watch Hollerado and Stars play at the festival it was the first time where I had an entire day to myself to do whatever I pleased. I spent the more finishing up my final post of the trip and then decided to treat myself to some of my favourite food I’d been craving since leaving town. Cycling over to Democracy (the place where Wade and I had our first trip meeting) I got myself a vegan “Hello Dolly” and some delicious cauliflower wings. With the beautiful weather outside I opted to go eat them in the HAAA park nearby. There I spoke with my brother Jamie who returned from China the day before and was congratulated by him on the fundraising success and completing the ride. It was nice to hear from him since we hadn’t spoken since he dropped me off at the airport for the trip. He shared with me something that I thought was really meaningful. He said that when he travels he tries to take a lesson away from the experience to reintegrate into his life when he returns home. His goal from this trip is to cut back on the amount of plastic used as much as possible. Quite a challenge, but certainly a worthwhile effort to make. The amount of plastic and garbage that Wade and I produced on this trip was something we talked about each morning and it was certainly something hard for me to deal with as a self-identified environmentalist. I suspect with some time there will be some lessons from this trip I try to integrate into my own life.
With the lack of sleep and adrenaline from returning fading, I then returned home for a nice long nap before heading out to the Festival of Friends. Once at the festival I spoke with some volunteers which I was surprised to learn had heard about my bike trip. They kindly gave me a donation and reached out to one of the organizers (Lisa Giulietti) who came to greet me. Lisa was filled with enthusiasm to meet me and so incredibly kind. She shared that she was really inspired by my story and drive to make a change. She surprised me with two free VIP passes so I could watch the music tonight from the pit! I made day was totally made! On top of that, she said that if I need any more I could just reach out. With my friend Yasmin coming from Toronto later it was so nice to know I could guarantee her a great spot to watch the show.
From there I spent some time wandering the festival grounds. While wandering the festival grounds I ran into a lot of familiar faces. My first encounter was with my friend Dan. It was great to see him and share the excitement of being back with him. After chatting with him for a bit I went to see the first act of the night: Dizzy. Knowing nothing about them I went in with zero expectations. Speaking completely honestly – they blew me away. I loved their set and I’m really looking forward to following their music. I chatted with them a bit afterward and they haven’t released anything yet, but I can say with certainty that I’ll be supporting them as soon as they do. Following their set, I wandered a bit more and quickly found myself running into a number of other people. As Hollerado was just getting started I then had a quick series of encounters with my friend/co-worker Scott, my cousin Michael, and my brother Mat and his partner Gessie. It was so nice to see them all and share the excitement of being back from the trip with them. Keen to see Hollerado up close I went into the pit for their set and had a great time. I managed to get myself a set list and guitar pick from the show. After Hollerado’s set, I met up with Yasmin and then I stumbled into my friend Olivia and her friend Taigan shortly before Stars were starting. Learning that they were both Stars friends I reached out to Lisa G to get a few more passes and had them join me and Yasmin in the pit. Lisa being so wonderful had the passes for me within minutes and also brought me an amazing t-shirt from the festival which is pictured below.
Just as Stars were getting started my cousin Michael and his partner Lisa joined us as they managed to get free passes from their friend. Here I was now surrounded by so many wonderful people (including two great guys I met in the pit named Ryan and Wes) ready to enjoy my favourite band. I seriously couldn’t have asked for a better homecoming experience! As always, Stars put on an AMAZING show which was only made better by my great company and when half through the set before starting a song Torq took the time to say a few words about me and my bike trip to the ENTIRE festival. Paraphrasing him from what I can remember he said something like:
“There’s a very special person here in the audience tonight named Nathan Savelli. Nathan just finished biking back from Vancouver to Hamilton. He’s biked to Toronto to see us before. Nathan is a giver, he works with youth and is a good person. He is your local Hamilton hero. Check him out online to support his cause and his fight to end Alzheimer.”
It took a lot of effort to fight back the tears. Torq really does have a heart of gold. My phone was exploding with messages of support and disbelief from friends in the audience. It was seriously such an amazing experience and one I won’t ever forget. I managed to get the set list as a souvenir of the night as well.
After the concert I connected with Rob Rakoczy one of the key organizers and thanked him for the part he played in making tonight so special. Saying goodbye to my cousin Michael, his partner Lisa, and my friend Olivia and her friend Taigan I made my way to my bike with Yasmin. Leaving the park made sure to text Lisa Giuletti again to thank her and the entire team behind the scenes for making the night so unforgettable. It really was the BEST possible homecoming gift imaginable. I was also sure to go on Twitter and let both Torq and Stars know just how much it meant to me. They really are incredible artists and people.
Having just left the park and waiting with Yasmin for her Uber, I overheard two women talking about the Stars concert and couldn’t resist chiming in. I’m so pleased I did because meeting Jessica and Chelsea was such a nice way to end my night out. We talked about our love of Stars and live music. I shared a little about the trip with them both which they knew about from Torq’s amazing shout out. With Jessica working downtown I feel confident our paths will cross again sooner than later. Chelsea came in from Buffalo though so we won’t see each other as likely so we exchanged contact information so that if we think we might end up at another show we’ve got some good company.
Returning home from the festival I shared how amazing my night was with Mike and then we watched the newest Game of Thrones episode. Wowsers was it ever good! Still feeling high from the evening I went to have a bath to relax my muscles and ease myself to sleep. Remember I had some bath bombs from LUSH, I used one and found this note floating in the tub afterward.
How unbelievably fitting I thought that the whole experience gets wrapped up with a thank you note to my mom as she was after all a major inspiration for me taking the ride and having this unforgettable experience. I wish I could thank her in person for everything she did to make me the person I am today, but of course, that isn’t possible. I have to believe that she knows just how grateful I am for everything she did to make me the person I am today. I like to hope that others reading this though will take time out of their day to thank those special to them for everything they’ve done for them.
Today, I slept in for the longest I have in for ages. I spent the morning and most of the afternoon putting some thoughts together for this post and catching up with my sister on the phone. The evening as mentioned as spent at the wonderful party hosted by Jamie and Ryan. It was great to see my friends Matt, Sarah, Ken and Mike there among a number of Wade’s friends which have been so supportive of the ride. Fitting that we had some terrible weather for it given that’s just how the trip ended. I joked online that our rain plan was for Wade and me to come with our fully loaded bikes and to ride against the wind and rain in our face to recreate what the first 75km of the final day of riding was like for us. Wade added that we’d need people to bring portable air conditioners as well, haha. Also joining us at the party was Laura from the Alzheimer Society that we had been in touch with for months now. It was so great to meet her and put a face to the name of someone I had been in touch with for months. Perhaps not surprisingly Wade and I easily ate the most food out of anyone at the party. It was pretty easy to do so when everything was so good!
Tomorrow, I return to work and perhaps unsurprisingly I have some mixed feelings about it. I’m excited to see my co-workers and working with the youth, but I still don’t feel ready to go back. Perhaps, others might think I’m crazy to say this (and I know Wade is among them), but a part of me still wishes I was riding. I can’t think of a single extended period of time like it in my life where I was living so much in the present and without my anxiety and worry thoughts plaguing me daily. It was a very refreshing feeling, to say the least. I’d be dishonest if I’m not already thinking about how I might be able to cycle from the east coast back home next summer. If the idea interests you be sure to let me know since I’m certain I would surely benefit from some good company.
Before I sign off though there are so many people to thank for making this experience so meaningful and possible for me. Forgive me in advance for the inevitable people I’ll fail to mention. There were simply so many amazing folks along the way it’s hard to list everyone!
To everyone that donated to the Alzheimer Society of Canada: The simple fact that there are too many of you to list is overwhelming. It honestly means so much to me that you did so. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for giving. I hope one day I’ll find a way to pay you all back for your generosity.
To everyone that read/liked/shared the blog posts: It was so nice to see your comments on the website or Facebook. On the days I didn’t want to write it I was motivated to do so by your engagement with it all. Thanks especially to anyone that took the time read my novel size posts!
To all the incredible people we met on the road that talked to us about the trip, made donations or simply shared words of support: thank you so much. It meant more to me than you can possibly imagine.
Ron Tammer: It was so nice to put a face to the name today at the party. I can’t thank you enough for your INCREDIBLY generous donation and words of support!
Arkells: There isn’t much cooler than having one of your favourite bands tweet about your journey and then finding out they made a very substantial donation! Thank you so much for starting my trip off with an amazing concert and getting me energized for it!
Tegan and Sara: Thank you for your music and for the amazing show to start to my trip. It was the perfect way to start this journey.
Geraldine: I loved meeting you and hanging out at the Tegan and Sara show in Victoria! Thanks for being such great company and proving again how amazing T+S fans are all over the world.
Julia L: Thanks for being such great company at the Tegan and Sara show and for being great company on my first day out west!
Andrea and Myles: Starting our trip at your place was the best possible way to do so. Thank you for welcoming us into your beautiful home and spoiling us. Thank you also for the very generous donation!
Heather (Couchsurfing): Thank you a million times over for hosting us and all the delicious food! I still need to get the recipe for that juice and shepherd pie off of you!
Nat (Couchsurfing): Thanks for having us in Hope and taking me to the water to swim! It was a great time!
Bill and Laurie (WarmShowers): Thanks for being such an amazing introduction to the WarmShowers community, the great conversation, wonderful dinner and place to stay.
Arielle (Couchsurfing): Thanks for hosting us in Bassano, the dinner, and board games fun!
Mel and Corrine: Thanks for having us in Calgary and for the great dinner! I looked forward to seeing your faces around Hamilton sooner than later.
Leslie: Thanks for hosting in Golden and working to make sure we were as comfortable as possible!
Ron (WarmShowers): Thank a ton for the wonderful dinner and hosting us after such a long day of riding! Everything was amazing!
Marya: Thanks for reaching out while we were in BC and meeting up for breakfast! It was such a nice surprise!
Jim and Karen: Thanks for spoiling us at Boon Burger, all the snacks, Voltaren gel (Wade used it so much) and for hosting us for the night! Massive thanks to Jim for driving Wade’s wallet out to him and for keeping us entertained for the day in what was otherwise the most boring place in the universe!
Boyd Lalonde: Thanks for being a great source of inspiration on the road! Best of luck with the rest of your walk!
All of the amazing motel staff: We dealt with so many of you throughout the trip and can’t say enough good things about you. Thanks for your services and good conversation!
Adam Luker: From the start, you were so supportive sharing the fundraising page and getting the ball rolling for us. The use of your Bluetooth keyboard was so helpful in writing the blog as well! Thanks a ton!
Campbell Holinger: Thanks again so much for sending me the iPad to blog on. It made it so much easier and pleasant to share this experience with others.
Daisy: Thanks for constantly sharing my posts and being so supportive! It means a ton to me!
Chris Wilson: Thanks for putting me in touch with your Dad for the article!
Paul Wilson: Thanks for taking the time to write such a beautiful piece about my story and trip. It’s a really wonderful souvenir to have from the whole experience.
Heather Cooper: Thanks for all the support from the start to the finish! It was so great being able to share my story on the radio! Also, I really appreciate your help to share the news of the trip with the family!
Bernacki Brothers (Tom and Jack): Thanks for your support and for being the connectors of Wade and I. Without you two we could never have taken the ride together!
NHCHC and Pathways Team: You were all so supportive of the trip from the beginning until the end and I can’t thank you enough for it. It meant so much to me know you were all rooting for Wade and I. Thanks for helping to make this dream and healing journey become a reality.
Isabelle and Anne Marie: I loved meeting you both on the road and staying in touch over the ride! Isabelle, best of luck finishing it! I hope to see you both in Montreal at some point!
Andy Milton: I said it before, but I’ll say it again thanks for being such great company along the ride that though Lake Superior Park. It was such a pleasure to meet you and I hope we can take another ride one day or chat again over a meal.
Alex Rosso: By now I hope you know just how much our time talking together meant to me. Thank you again for being so open, listening and helping me reflect. You’ve touched my heart in an everlasting way. I hope our paths cross again.
Mike: Thanks for holding down the fort while I was gone and that clutch almond milk purchase. It was comforting to know great knowing that I didn’t need to worry about anything aboYou have no idea how much I was looking forward to that milkshake when I got home, haha.
Dad and Clara: Thanks for all the support on Manitoulin with getting to the motel and dinner! It was so nice to see some familiar faces again!
My family: Your support through this whole journey has meant so much to me. I can’t thank you enough for all always being there for me. Knowing I can count on you all for anything is a true gift!
Lisa Giulietti, Rob Rakoczy and everyone part of the Festival of Friends: I can’t thank you all enough for making my return back home so special. I’ve said it elsewhere, but it’s worth repeating: it was truly the best homecoming gift imaginable to get to see Stars up close with of my close friends and family.
Yasmin: Thanks for being engaged with the blog and for the delicious vegan chocolate loaf! Thanks also for always being such great company at every Stars show.
Torq/Stars: Thanks for a really special show at the festival and the extremely heart warming shout out during the show. I’ll never forget it.
Emily, Rowan, and Isabelle: I can’t thank you all enough for letting Wade take this ride with me. I can’t imagine how tough it must have been to be without him for so long. It’s been only a couple days and I miss the guy already! Seriously, I know it must have been so tough, so thank you for all you did to help make this happen and welcome us home with such a bang!
Wade: I will never be able to fully repay you for all you did to make this happen. You made a dream of mine come true. You jumped started all of this with that simple email. Your sense of humour kept me going on the toughest days. From the start to the end you were always there to support me. You took a trip you poured hours into planning and made it all about my story without a second thought. There are no words to describe your level of selflessness and kindness. Thank you everything, but most of all your friendship. I’ll never forget this experience together. Unfortunately, I’ll probably also never forget the taste of Green Monster Energy Drink…
Moral of the Story: Well Wade and I did the cycling part of the trip you all of you played an important part of this journey. Through your support, you made it possible for us to live out a dream and make a real difference in both the lives of those suffering from Alzheimer and their loved ones. This trip was successful because of your support. When we work as a community we don’t need miracles we’ve got something far more powerful. From the bottom of my heart to yours: THANK YOU!
Until next time…
Love, Peace and Bike Grease,