Every day I receive dozens of emails from individuals around the world who are planning, preparing for, or executing their own bicycle touring adventures. Most of these emails are from people who have questions about what to pack, where to go, or any number of other normal bike travel topics. As is expected, every once in a while I will get an email from someone asking me a question that I don’t know how to answer. But an email sent to me this past Tuesday by a reader named Phil is by far the strangest one I have ever received. Here is what it said:
You are an inspiration. A true friend. Really, I have been reading your website for a long time and getting your emails all along. I have learned a lot from you and been telling my mom about everything you do.
I have told my mom that I would like to leave home later this year and do something like you. Maybe I will ride my bike, but I will have to learn first. My problem is twofold. Maybe you can help?
You see my mom does not want me to go. She really loves me and does not want me to get hurt. I guess I am kinda sheltered and she doesn’t want me to leave or get bloody and die. I really want to travel like you and so many others, but my mama is afraid and I am too a little.
I know you are a buzy individual and have many friends, but I really need your help. I want to do like you do and see the world, but my mama won’t let me go and there are alots of of thing I am really afraid of. Really afriad!
You seen, I have never gone anywhere but in my home city and I really want to. I just live at home with my mom and then I walk to get groceries at the supermakret and then come home. But that is all my mom will let me do. My mom doesn’t even drive a car or ride a bike because she is too afraid of getting hurt or dying or something like that. And she doesn’ty want me to do these things either.
But now I want to be like you. I want to get out of my city. There are only 242 people in my town. Very big for these parts, but I know, still verty small. But in order to get out, I need to help convince my mama that I can do this. A big problem. Maybe? But I think I can do it.
My bigger problem is that I have been having some fears myself. I really want to be like you and travel around the world on a bicycle, but when I start to think about it I get really really scared. Like I start to shake and rattle and get all pink and stuff.
One reason I am so scared is that my family has a history with this sort of thing. You see, my uncle went to Las vegas once and when he came back he was never the same. He had changed if you know what I mean. My mama says she never seen anything like it but then she started getting some of the same problems that my uncle was having.
It’s kind of hard to tell you now, but my family we is different you see. When my mom was a little girl she and my uncle had an “encounter” with a light from the sky. I don’t really know the details, but my moma says that she and my uncle were out playing tin the sandbox when all of a sudden a big white lite started to shine down on them from the sky. I think it passed over them once and them came back and second time and hoevered for a few seconds before flying away. My mom says it didn’t make any sound and that it was really really bright. Like you was starring into the sun.
A couple years after that my uncle started to get these bumps showing up all over his body. Under his body actually. They were these little small bumps that sould snow up under his skin. They were on his legs and arms and under his neck and behind his ears and all over the place. It really scared him. The doctors didn’t know what it was, but some of the bumps went away.
After that, my uncle went to Las vegas and when he came back he was not like my uncle anymore. My mom tried to help him, but then she started having some problems. Too. Its hard to explain, but she just sees things and talks to people that are not there if you know what I mean. Furniture moves around the house on its own and lights go on and off all the time. And whats seven more scary is that I have been seeing the lights recently myself.
I took your advice and camped out in my backyard like you said. I got a tent from the supermarket and had my mom help me set it up. But when it got dark and my mom was inside I got all afraid. It was so quiet and I could hear things moving outside my tent. And then I saw the light! A bright lite from the sky like I was looking at the sun.
Now I woke up last week and I have a bump growing under my chin and I saw a strange man looking at me through my bedroom window. I don’t know what it is, but I am really really scared.
I really want to leave here and see the world and travel with my bicycle like you do, but I am scared and my mama is scared too and I am afraid that these creatures from the light are going to get me when I leave home. I am 47 years ofl and feel like life is passing me by. I know I can do it, but I can’t be afraid of the sky creatures anymore.
Hjave you ever had this problem before? Can you help? Maybe we can go on a bike ride together. What do you think?
Thank you for your wonderful website and all your help you have given me. I will leave here one day and be very very happy thanks to you. Thank you friend. I hoope to hear back from you soon.
Note: Phil G and this entire email is 100% fictional. The whole story is something I made up for April Fools’ Day. That said, hundreds of people thought this email came from an actual person. The truth is, however, the entire thing is 100% fake. I would never publish an email like this if it had actually come from a real person – especially not without their permission. April Fools!