We are joined today by Jerry Kopack who has bike toured through 17 countries. He is propelled by the curiosity of the “human experience” and lives by the mentality to always say yes.
We are joined today by Jerry Kopack. Jerry has bike toured through 17 countries and is a member of the Warmshowers Board of Directors. He is propelled by the curiosity of the “human experience” and lives by the mentality to always say yes.
Jerry had been following the “formula for success” he was taught in college and worked for ten years in corporate finance. In 2005, his mom called and announced that she wanted them to start a hospice together. Jerry didn’t even know what a hospice was and thought she meant a hostel! But after learning more, he made the leap and joined his mom. Dealing with end-of-life care is difficult, especially at a young age. But within days, Jerry found his purpose and knew he would never return to a “cubicle” job again. Running the hospice was the best thing he ever did in his life. The greatest lesson he learned there – the value of time - will stay with him forever.
In 2015, Jerry stepped away from the hospice and suddenly had time on his hands. While deciding what to do next, an opportunity to take a bike tour came along. Jerry grew up riding, and bikes have always been part of his life. As he got older, he made some short trips but had never been gone more than a few weeks. Jerry set off for a 6-week trip and met many amazing people along the way. He thought his journey was complete when he met fellow tourers who invited him to ride along with them for a few more weeks. He said yes, and before he knew it, his 6-week trip turned into nearly two years!
One of the craziest things that happened to Jerry while touring was in Israel. He made a post in a Facebook group that he was in town looking for good places to camp, eat and visit. Later that day, he walked into a café, and the person behind the counter looked at him and asked, “are you Jerry?” Bewildered, he answered, “yes, why?” The café worker pulled out his phone, called a friend, and handed the phone to Jerry. The friend had seen his post, and without even knowing him, offered Jerry a place to stay for as long as he wanted.
That’s one of the things that Jerry finds so unique about bike touring – you never know who you will meet along the way and how it will impact your life. Bike packing has become a passion for Jerry, and he takes every opportunity to tour. Even a few days on the road, experiencing new sights and meeting new people, is not to be missed. He has learned that tomorrow is not promised, so always say yes when new opportunities present themselves. If you are given the gift of time – take it!
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