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A journey of HOPE and LIGHT

Staff Writer | August 8, 2020 1:09 AM

Jared Larsen helps people connect and share stories on his 1,000-mile adventure

COEUR d’ALENE — When Jared Larsen broke the tape at the finish of Friday’s 47-mile bike ride outside the NexTitle office on Northwest Boulevard, people clapped and cheered. His wife and children ran to greet him. Friends took pictures and posed with him for one.

It was like he just won something big.

And he did.

Only it wasn’t a trophy or a ribbon or medal or money.

It was something better.

“Ultimately this is about riding for light and sharing a message of hope and helping light other people’s lights,” he said after stepping off his bike and getting hugs and kisses from his family. “We connect through stories and we’re gathering stories along the way. And we’ve got some amazing stories. It’s important that people know that their stories do matter.”

Larsen, president of NexTitle, is in the early stages of a 21-day, 1,053-mile journey from Meridian to Eugene, Ore.

It’s part of “NLightN: The World Tour 2020.” His goal is to help people discover and share their own light through stories.

Starting Aug. 1, he’s covered nearly 400 miles on the route through Boise, Coeur d’Alene, Spokane, Ellensburg, Olympia, Vancouver and Salem, Ore. The trek is being documented and he has a support crew in an RV.

He’s already endured rain and wind and monster hill climbs and had close calls with logging trucks as he pedaled on narrow shoulders.

It has been at times both scary and eye-opening.

“As we struggle and have challenges in life, one thing I have realized, it requires the next pedal stroke to get out of it. As hard as it is, it requires that next pedal stroke,” Larsen said.

He has no doubts about his mission.

He refuses to let negative thoughts creep in.

“It’s so easy to get concerned about all of the things that could go wrong rather than all the things that could go right,” Larsen said. “I told myself, ‘You can’t look backward. Just know where you’re headed and if you know where you’re headed you stay focused on that. You move forward and you’ll be good.’”

Friday, sunny and warm, was his first back with his wife and children since he set out, and it was an emotional reunion.

“Six days ago when I left,” he said, then pausing to collect himself, “you dream about the moment to see your family.”

It was 52 days ago when the avid cyclist was on a ride in miserable cold, wet conditions that an idea to pedal across Idaho and Washington, and meet people along the way, came to light.

“Sometimes, when you ride you get lost in your own thoughts,” he said.

On that ride, Larsen had a thought. A vision.

He called Jace Perry, NexTitle CFO, and told him, “Hey, I’m coming into the office. Clear off the white board and get me as many markers as you can. I need to draw a picture.”

That picture included a light bulb and Earth and “NLightN” the world tour.

“That’s where it started,” he said.

Perry, who is driving the RV and makes sure Larsen has food and drink, remembered that day as he listened to Larsen outline his vision for the bike trip to enlighten the world.

“He’s a big thinker,” Perry said.

As Larsen talked and drew, Perry said, “At that point in time I knew it was something I was going to be doing with him. It was an opportunity to talk, share light — to have some goodness in the world is needed and I felt it was something I wanted to be a part of.”

Perry has not been disappointed.

“We’ve heard a lot of great stories,” he said.

On his stops, Larsen shares with people what he’s doing, and then listens to their stories. They are doing more than sharing stories, though. They are sharing life and a message of hope.

“All we do is talk story with them. People are so willing to share,” Larsen said. “Everybody has a story and that story is unique to them, but that story allows others to learn to connect.”

Larsen’s wife, Kayla, said she was also nervous when her husband first spoke of his plan. It sounded dangerous. But she didn’t try to talk him out of it.

“Fear is something that can hold you back,” she said. “As I watched him step into it, put it together, I watched lives before he even got on a bike.”

And she realized something else, too.

“I knew there was a huge purpose for people being able to focus on something light and something good,” she said.

So Jared Larsen will keep riding — and listening.

“My hope is that we can all just simply light one person’s candle as we continue to inspire other people and help them find their light and their story in life,” he said.


Jared Larsen breaks the tape on Friday outside NexTitle in Coeur d’Alene as he completes another leg of the “NlightN The World Tour 2020 - Riding For Light.” (BILL BULEY/Press)