This summer, Josh Nagy ’26 spent two months on a cross-country cycling expedition with his father, Carl Nagy. Their goal: to raise money for organizations tackling homelessness and housing insecurity.
“There are tons of studies that show that if you don’t have a stable place to live, it’s really hard to get the rest of your life in order, no matter what you do,” said Nagy.
“I wanted to do something about this incredible loss of human potential, and I thought there would be no better way than by exploring the beautiful country that is allowing me to maximize my own.”
Given his longtime advocacy work and penchant for cycling, Carl agreed. So the Boston-based duo started their journey in Anacortes, Washington, and cycled around 80 miles per day.
Nagy recalled some beautiful moments. Descending Washington Pass in the Cascades was “like the Alps—snowcapped mountains all around,” he said. “My favorite part was being in central Montana and having the Rockies [receding] in the distance.”
An occasional family disagreement was inevitable.
“If one of us was annoyed, I would usually ride ahead for a little while,” Nagy said, laughing. But these disputes were few and far between, he added. “I remember laughing a lot, just having fun.”
The hardest part of the trip was not the physical strain.
“Anyone in decent shape could do what we did,” Nagy said. “But mentally, the idea that ‘I’m going to do this all day, and I’m going to do it for the rest of the week and then the rest of the two months’—that’s a big thing.”
They also spent many hours thinking about the notion of being “away from home”—and the privilege of not having to worry about staying safe. During one remarkably windy night in Montana, Nagy recalls thinking, “Wow, many people have to deal with something worse than this every single day.”
To date, Josh and Carl have raised approximately $12,000 through JustGiving, a web service that collects the donations and distributes them directly to the National Alliance to End Homelessness and the Pine Street Inn, a Cambridge organization focused on offering shelter and affordable housing.
As for the trip, Nagy has two takeaways.
“Every part of our country is really so beautiful,” he said. And it is during your hardest moments that “you really learn a lot about yourself and what you’re capable of.”