Back in September of 2001, many of us throughout America looked upward in panic and scanned the skyline for highjacked planes.
With no smart phones, we relied on the original forms of social media to get us through.
We spoke to each other to express our fears and listened to each other to soothe our burgeoning anxiety.
For those too traumatized to speak, we even petted dogs and stroked cats until our spirits were calmed down.
And we hugged…we hugged a lot as a wayto silently say, “I am here for you.”
I was naive then - naive enough to think that 9/11 would be a watershed moment and there wouldn't be any more mass killing like that anymore but everyday it seems there is another event to show just how wrong I was - The Boston Marathon, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Orlando, Chicago every day, Dallas, San Bernardino Baltimore, Ferguson, Aurora, Charleston, Fort Hood, Tucson and too many more.
Withinthe last 15 years, I have done my best to use the form of social media I grew up with - smiles, hugs and high5s - to engage and inspire people around the world and it been as fulfilling a life experience as I could have ever dreamt.
Because it's been a long road, manypeople ask “Aren’t you finished with all this?"
To those folks I say, “Hell no” and am announcing that I'm in initial stages of planning THE WORLD'S most epic road trip where I plan hug and high5 people in all 50 states next year.
With the help of University of Pennsylvania professor Randy Olson I am coming up with a map that will take me through the continental 48 states that will go through many of the towns where tragedy has struck as well as some of the cities that i have biked through in the past.
But wait there’s more!
I am also partnering up with other charities so that there members can stand and hug with me and thus far I have been in contact with The Wounded Warrior Project, The Betty Ford Centers and other national charities.
Details of this ride that will start spring/summer of 2017 are coming in fast so please stay in touch and if you want to help me right now just take a picture with someone and hashtag it #HugsMatter