Cycling Around the World
Show MenuHide Menu

What do you need?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I’m sat in McDonald’s eating my French fries, which are smothered in salt. It’s hot and I’m pretty tired, even though it’s still morning and I’ve only covered a little over 20 miles. My bike is leaned up against the wall just outside the side door, always in view.

I catch a beautiful lady out the corner of my eye, wearing a green t-shirt with a slogan on. I like the slogan (sorry I’m not sharing it). She glances my way and I obviously pique her interest and half expect her to speak to me, but she sits at a nearby table. Despite my on-line self confidence, I’m far too shy to initiate conversation (and I say to myself – you fool Derek).

She’s leaving and casts me another glance. I know she just wants an excuse to talk with me and also know when she steps outside she will find it. Sure enough, she returns and asks if I’m the cyclist. We laugh, because it was such a dumb question. This lady is no dummy, that’s for sure. We chat, about her own battle with cancer and mine. I’m asked if I’ve considered going to one of the specialist cancer centres here in the USA and I’m too embarrassed to say it’s not possible, for many reasons, but funds being the main one.

Then she drops the bombshell:  “what do you need?”

I mumble that I’m not used to asking for things, but wish I was not such a coward. I know exactly what I need. How do you tell a complete stranger the truth?  That I need someone to ask me to stay a while so I can enjoy living a ‘normal’ life and offer the chance to get to know me. That I’d just like time without the pain, which has now spread to my lower back. That I need to stop worrying about dying and enjoy living.

“If you need anything call me, I can make it happen.”  She’s speaking the truth, she almost certainly could. I want to speak out, but remain silent. Then she leaves and I feel I have lost something.

The cycling (and pain) make it easy for me. I can handle it. I can write my blog and everything will be fine. It’s so easy to wear a mask, it eventually becomes part of you and you stop even noticing you’ve got it on.

Saturday, July 12, 2014 at 7:05 pm

Hi Derek, I’m a friend of your friend Hang from Vietnam. I’m traveling in Canada at the moment. If you head to Toronto or Montreal, please let me know.

    Saturday, July 12, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Hi there, I’m on my way to both Toronto and Montreal!

Jenny Huynh
Saturday, July 12, 2014 at 7:09 pm

Love your thinking of “enjoy living”, do what you think! I will donate for the trip, and hope you could enjoy life always.

Saturday, July 12, 2014 at 8:08 pm

Derek this leaves me with many thoughts and questions for myself. Thank you for sharing your stories and thoughts with the world.

Saturday, July 12, 2014 at 9:26 pm

Derek … Molly and I agree that if your route back across the States should come through Duluth, we would love to have you stay longer than your past visit of four days … much longer.

Saturday, July 12, 2014 at 9:36 pm

Derek, your honesty is admirable and moving. You will remain in our hearts forever, and are always welcome to stay with us or any member of our family. We will think of you always on Marathon Day, as part of our family.

Andrew Marsh
Saturday, July 12, 2014 at 11:16 pm

Derek, please will you get in touch with me at Thank you. Andrew

    Sunday, July 13, 2014 at 2:57 am


Mike Yealland
Sunday, July 13, 2014 at 1:46 am

Derek: I am a good friend of your distant relatives, the Toronto-area Boococks, and an avid follower of your travels. I have lots of space in midtown Toronto and would love to have you stay here and to show you around. Do you have any idea when you will make it this far? Mike Y

    Sunday, July 13, 2014 at 2:57 am

    Mike, I’ll give a more definite update once I leave Windsor. At this time I don’t know what my itinery is.

Sunday, July 13, 2014 at 2:58 am

Ha ha Lynn, if only it worked that way. Sadly not in my world.

Sunday, July 13, 2014 at 7:09 am

Thanks for sharing this encounter. I loved the story, and the way you told it. Great, engaging, writing.

But let me say life is too short to be ashamed or embarrassed about anything. All that is real is real, beauty is truth, and truth is beauty–even if its the ugly truth. There is a liberating nature to it. The truth without shame, in all its honesty, its vulnerability, and humanity. This is the best of us. Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed of being who you are, and speaking the truth always, even if its not easy. Say what you want, say what you need–esp. if someone asks you this question. What a wonderful question.

“I’m too embarrassed to say it’s not possible, for many reasons, but funds being the main one.”

Money is never a real problem. Its just paper. If you need it, they can print it. If a problem can be solved with money its not a real problem. People WILL help you! And you deserve it. And people SHOULD give, and its okay to be frank and ask for what you need. Its their duty to help their fellow man in need, and those with more money should help those with less, esp. esp. if it can save or extend your life. There is no reason you should be in pain, if you don’t want to be in pain.

Sunday, July 13, 2014 at 8:26 am

The truth is beautiful. You are living in truth inside Derek and share it through your writing so we can benefit from experiencing it too. Thank you.


David Boocock
Sunday, July 13, 2014 at 7:28 pm

David Boocock 3rd cousin and friend of Mike Yealland with heads up. We live in Ajax just east of Toronto (accomodation) and no plans to be away. Constance Bay Boococks (Jonathan near Ottawa) will be at a Boocock wedding in Bosnia July 30th to August 10-second ceremony Aug 16 in Oakville just west of Toronto. Son Graeme Boocock in Ottawa away July 27-Aug 4. Looking forward to meeting you. Good cycling.

Brooke Boocock
Monday, July 14, 2014 at 6:03 pm

And Derek if your schedule has you passing through Toronto on August 16th we would be honored to have you at our wedding. I have sent you a message on Facebook so please let me know if you would like to join and we can work out accommodation and details for you. It would be special for all of us to have you there.

Steve Lupson
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 9:48 am

Hi Derek

Steve Lupson here “purchased the D3 from you” You’re an inspiration to so many people and deserve happiness… Call that lady and see what happens. Stay strong! Ps have enjoyed your blogs

Le Tuan Anh
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 10:35 am

Derek. We read the stories about you, and saw your pictures were took in Vietnam. It’s pleasure to welcome you in our country. I hope you live well, and keep going with your dreams.

John Hoffman
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Hi Derek. Teresa and I always “provide”. People come over for dinner, we supply all the food and wine. The annual pig roast at our cottage for 60 some people, we provide all the food, beverages, and stuff to pull off the event. Relatives get married, birthdays, anniversaries, etc, we go overboard with presents, or give good money. Always telling our friends don’t bring anything, don’t worry, we got it, we’ll get it, blah, blah. We always drive other peoples kids here, there and everywhere. It goes on and on. Why? Because it makes us feel good to give.

Everyone likes to have that warm, fuzzy feeling! Because we always want to be the ones that give so generously, we forget, heck, don’t even give it a second thought that we’ve DENIED someone that same warm fuzzy feeling when we refuse their offer to do something for us in return.

Someone once wanted to buy me a mirrror for my bike because he had some extra Canadian Tire money. It was a simple, kind gesture. I said no several times (because I wanted to be the one to give). Finally, I gave in because I remembered. He needed a warm fuzzy. It was his way of saying thank you for taking me here and there. Thank you for taking the time to get to know me (a total stranger). Thank you for spending an afternoon with me. Thank you for buying me a power cord.

Update: As I thought at the time of purchase, the mirror wasn’t going to be the right one. Once confirmed I was right, I took it back for a different one, that works quite nicely. So if you’re ever passing thru here again, I have some more Canadian Tire money for you! hahaha!

People give because they can. No one will offer to buy you something if they can’t afford it. When you tell someone no, when you tell someone you’ll be fine, it’s ok, don’t worry about it-it’s not ok. You, my friend, have denied them the warm fuzzy.

Love you like a brother man.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *