07 October 2009

Thank You


Thank You, originally uploaded by Ryan Runs Europe.

Before I left for Europe, I had spent years dreaming and months planning a trip such as this. Back then, it was just a dream...but a dream that I wanted to try to fulfill. Throughout the whole thing, even up until the very end, I never completely believed that I could do it. I halfway expected something to go wrong just about every day. Athens was always so far away, and the odds just didn't seem to be in my favor. Somehow though, I would just look at each day like its own adventure and it would pass on by. Getting to Athens was the goal, but not really the goal. The goal was to live each day for itself, and to get the most out of each place I saw. Somehow though, each day passed by, and after 130 of them, I found myself at the finish line of my big dream.
I guess that now I can say "I did it." Though to be honest, that wouldn't be a fair statement. "We did it" would be much more fitting. I could never have completed this crazy voyage without you. I didn't really do anything much, I just ran and smiled and fell freely into a world that gave me much more support than I could have ever expected. People encouraged me. They read my words. They wrote me comments and emails that I read on lonely street corners while bumming unlocked wi-fi. They searched for places I could stay. They donated. They gave me food. They gave me care. They gave me culture. They gave me friendship. They gave me advice. They took me into their homes and gave me a place to sleep. These things surprised and baffled me, and for them I am inexpressibly grateful.
When I left for the trip, I had expected to sleep outside on a regular basis...at least a few days a week. I had expected to get worn down and broken by a lifestyle of sleeping on park benches and going for days without having a shower. I had only a handful of places figured out in advance, but in the first 80 days of my trip I didn't sleep out in the open once (OK...once in the Blackforest, but there wasn't really anyone to ask). I was constantly amazed by the hospitality that I found, and by the people who opened their doors to help out a complete stranger. In a world where the news is overrun by violence and crime and people are taught to fear the vices of humanity, I discovered so much kindness, friendship and hospitality. I would meet a person on the street, and an hour later I would be in their home...often feeling like we had known each other for years. I have taken so much from these people, and from the world on this trip. I hope that I can give a fraction of it back in some way, and that I can inspire some others to recognize that there still is magic and good in the world if you look for it.
So to those that helped me along my way, to my friends and family, to the readers and followers of this blog, to the people who spoke to me when I was alone in a foreign place, to the people who offered me a bite to eat, to those who wrote me comments and messages, to those who donated, to those who opened up their hearts and homes and gave me a place to rest my weary head, to those who gave me a shower and a place to wash my clothes, to those who showed me their culture and their humanity, and to God:
Thank you. We did it.

43 comments:

  1. There's a lot of white spots on that postcard map. How about taking a horizontal Europe run? London to Lviv? Now that You know You can do it, why stop?

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  2. Thank you for letting us tag along on your run thru Europe. It has truly been inspiring to follow your journey.
    Look forward to the book :-), there surely must be someone wanting to let you share your story.

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  3. Thank YOU for sharing this great adventure with us. I have enjoyed it so much. You are awesome and I wish the best in the future.

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  4. I second that, Katarina. Thank you, Ryan for dreaming up this crazy trip and writing about it, sharing it with strangers.

    Congratulations on making it to Athens. I've enjoyed "traveling" along with you. It was a nice mental vacation from the desk job in Nebraska.

    Now go plan another crazy trip!

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  5. Anyone have connections with the Today Show? Maybe they can get him on because this adventure has truley been amazing. Hopefully someone picks up on this story and helps him turn it into a book. Take care, and good luck!

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  6. I can't believe you're done! I mean I can beleive it....congratulations! But, I will miss reading your adventure every day and findig out what you found to ear and where you found to sleep! What a journey...it's been fun to read...thanks for sharing it with us here in the blog world!!!

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  7. Your determination, bravery, and willpower is something that everyone can learn from. When I look at my own feeble attempts at running, I think of you and your strength. Thankyou for inspiring in me the confidence that anything is possible.

    Hope to meet you mid run one day.

    All the best.

    xXx

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  8. Ok, I've been readin along without commenting...but I wanted say Wow. You did it. Congrats. Keep dreaming big dreams. And write about them!

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  9. What an amazing, amazing trip. Thank you so much for sharing it with all of us. I'll miss checking in everyday to find out if you managed to find a place to sleep! Best of luck in the future - whatever it is, it will be a great adventure!

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  10. reallyy well done. :)
    it makes me have just a lil more faith in the world!x

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  11. Congratulations Ryan...YOU really did it!!! You completed an amazing journey and allowed people like me to read about it and share in your experiences. Thank you. I don't think that I am as brave as you are and now, you made the world so much smaller than it really is by connecting alot of people together, who really would not have been connected. Every day brings a surprise, a miracle, which encourages us, inspires us and lifts our spirits to face new challenges. Your blog has done this for me as there were many days that I said, "If Ryan could do that, I certainly can do this!"
    Congratulations!!!

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  12. Congratulations Ryan on dreaming, fulfilling a dream, making goals, attaining them, and then taking the time to tell the world about all of it. This is the stuff LIFE is made of. Far too many people get to the end of their life and realize that they didn't take charge of their own life, and actually live theirs. Your goal of living each day to the fullest is what makes a life rich. Being engaged where you are, and to the people you are with, on a given day, this is perhaps the most important lesson you have to write about. Then as one's life comes to an end (or their journey ends), hopefully they end up as you did with great results. May you continue to dream, make goals and fulfill them. Please do keep writing. Tell us more that you learned along the way. A book? Yes, write a book! The wisdom that you learned every day needs to be told or written.

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  13. Thank You for sharing your journey with the internet :). It's been fun and exciting logging in each morning and reading about your progres, good luck to you in whatever you take up next, All the best, Amy in NYC

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  14. Yay! You made it! Congratulations :) You are now worldly. I enjoyed reading a blog that someone updated every day. Don't know what I'm going to do now.

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  15. Thanks Ryan for your tremendous journey and the great documentary of each day's experiences. Your really are courageous and I see the joy in your writing, seeing each day and each mile unfold before you as it did, realizing now how you were guided, provided for in so many ways and protected by God. Take good care and yes, keep writing, you really are an amazing guy.

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  16. Congrats! I am a 2nd grade teacher in Minnesota, and my daughter who lives in Sweden let me know about your blog in early August - we've both been following your progress. We both enjoyed your adventures, and the way that you wrote about them - a wry sense of humor, but seeing the warmth and kindness that you received along the way. Thanks for letting us experience this vicariously.
    Taryn

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  17. Thanks so much for sharing your amazing experiences and stories with us. Seriously, reading a post from you has made my day more times than I can count. Being able to live vicariously (slightly) through you has been so much fun. It's my dream to see even a fraction of what you have. But you've had such a unique experience, you've gotten to really experience the culture, the people, the landscape.... so much more than what regular tourists do. It's so amazing! You'll remember it forever! Good luck with everything! I hope you'll let us all know about graduate school and your plans!

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  18. Ryan, thanks so much for sharing your amazing adventure with all of us strangers. As much as we've all said it, your are such an inspiration. I know I will miss reading your blog but I hope you'll leave it up so that we can revisit your run. It was nice to read that there are still wonderful, trusting, hospitable people in the world--thank you for discovering that!
    Good luck with your next adventures in grad school and finding a job!
    ECL

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  19. Congratulations Ryan!It was a pleasure to meet you!
    Keep smiling and of course running!
    Giota from Ioannina

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  20. Ryan! I also want to thank you for sharing this incredible adventure with all of us. One of my favorite parts of the day for the past several months has been logging on to check your blog. You have a real talent for writing, and I often felt like I was right there with you on your journey. Good luck with grad school applications/finding a job, and maybe I'll see you around Morningside Heights sometime!

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  21. Hi, Ryan, how are you?
    Complimenti!(compliments!)
    I hope that we can see you in the USA!

    Bye

    Johnny & Sabrina (Bellinzona, Ticino, CH)

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  22. Thank you for sharing your incredible journey with all of us. I loved reading your posts and was cheering you on from here in Cali. I hope you keep posting and keep everyone updated with what's going on with you. You are a really good story teller!

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  23. You're welcome, Ryan.

    You always have a home in Leiden, or whereever I move, or anywhere my fellow CouchSurfers are. It's been an amazing experience keeping up with your stories.

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  24. Ryan, we are so delighted that you've reached the finish and that your dream isn't more a dream but a great reality. We're very proud of your realisation, we daren't believe that it may come true but ... you did it and we are thankfull that we have been a little help to realise your adventure...we wish you the very best and if you are in Belgium you are at everytime welcome by us.Thanks for sharing your experience with us! May God bless you! Lut, Philippe, Wim, Kate, Jonah and the dog Rosie

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  25. I really enjoyed reading about your adventure this summer. It amused, enlightened and inspired me. I am a larger girl and I have never been overly fond of walking, let alone consider trying to run anywhere. But, a few weeks ago I decided to participate in a 5K and to train to run it rather than walking. Thanks for sharing your stories!

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  26. I'm so sad that I didn't get to share in your victory "in real time" as I have been busy with my first semester of college life, but I finally had some free time tonight to catch up on about a month's worth of posts, and now that I've reached the end, I feel just like I do when I finish a great book.

    Congratulations to you for accomplishing the goal you set out to achieve; your enthusiasm and vivacity and sheer love for life are truly inspiring, and I thank you for your insights and windows into what is good in this beautiful, awesome world we live in.

    I may not be a runner, but I hope very much to travel Europe someday as well, and I hope I can experience the same depth and wonder that I have only been able to live vicariously via your blog.

    One more note: one thing I especially appreciated is your evident depth and intelligence as a person from your comments on architecture, history, and the landscape you passed through. Besides that, you have a talent for writing, and your stamina throughout this voyage has given me fresh inspiration for my own "marathon" next month when I'll undertake my fourth consecutive attempt at National Novel Writing Month.

    For everything you have brought to us, thank you.

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  28. Oh... So sad... You allread did it!
    I liked to much to read yours adventuries....

    Well, just happy for you. And you are right: You inspired a lot off people (me too).
    Every days, every hours I dream with a treap, a big trip, just like you did. But never thought at a thig like this... Uoou, much than 100 days... Guy... You are a hero!
    xD

    Was a pleaser met "you", your historie, your trip... And even that I haven't read all days, of all the histories... Every historie, every text was a adventury... A inspiration.
    One day, you'll see... I'll make this way too... And I hope to found that lovely people that you met too.
    xD

    And maybe one day we shold travel to gether...

    Well... but come on... It's not over, it is? When you will travel again?
    Waiting...

    kissies

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  29. Bravo! I realy enjoyed following you on your journey! Beautiful dream come true. Thrue your journey, you have tought us the beauty in humanity and beautiful scenery. Thank you for sharing this adventure with us. Hope you will have another blog with new adventures so we can follow!

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  30. Ryan, you're simply the best.

    Federico - Reggio Emilia

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  31. I am sooooooooo sorry in seeing this sooooooo late.... My life was in chaos... Congrats to you... Thank you for taking us all on your journey.. I enjoyed reading your daily activities as well as the situations u had to endure which somehow u always managed w/grace.

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  32. whoa.... congrats!!! following your trip has been incredibly inspiring and i hope i get to do something amazing like this someday too!

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  33. thank you Rain than you give me the oppotunity
    to meet you and to host you .good luck in anything than you will do in your life.
    all my love to you
    kostas

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  34. Dear one thing I especially appreciated is your evident depth and intelligence as a person from your comments on architecture, history, and the landscape you passed through. Besides that, you have a talent for writing, and your stamina throughout this voyage has given me fresh inspiration for my own "marathon" next month when I'll undertake my fourth consecutive attempt at National Novel Writing Month.

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  35. Bravo! Congrats and hope to hear you plan your next epic adventure soon! :D have enjoyed reading your posts immensely :)

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  36. congratulations!! what an amazing accomplishment!

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  37. I just came back to your blog because I miss it! I hope you are doing well.

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  38. I too just came back to your blog because I miss it! I hope you get a book deal out of this!

    I actually encouraged my high school students to read your blog. Too many of them let their fears hold them back. Bravo!

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  39. thanks for sharing and conguratulations from Turkey!

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  40. amazing!!!!!
    congratulation!!!!!
    Matteo - Lodi(Italy)

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  41. i am following ur blog from long time but i fail to read it day by day but when i finish reading it dt time i realized that i missed d fun.. lolzz..its jus amazing.. well done.. congo

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  42. Travelling to Europe at a cheapest cost is nothing new Europe Flight Deals Planning a vacation is a joyful experience whether it's with your family, friends or even if you're travelling alone

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