Adventure of lifetime

Ted Winkworth is leaving his job at the Lifestyles Center to make an intercontinental trip that will take him as far north as Alaska and as south as Ecuador. (Justine Polonski | The Oswegonian)
Ted Winkworth is leaving his job at the Lifestyles Center to make an intercontinental trip that will take him as far north as Alaska and as south as Ecuador. (Justine Polonski | The Oswegonian)

Ted Winkworth is the alcohol and other drug program coordinator at Oswego State. He is a graduate of the University at Buffalo with a degree in Psychology and a graduate of Syracuse University with a master’s degree in community mental health counseling. He even studied psychology at Oswego State for a year during his undergraduate studies. Now, he is about to begin a journey that will be a new and exciting departure from the norm.

As the alcohol and other drug program coordinator, Winkworth works with the Lifestyles Center in drug and alcohol prevention at the university, a job he had for about three and a half years. Winkworth, however, will be leaving his position at Oswego State after the end of this semester in order to embark on an intercontinental motorcycle tour.

This new adventure that Winkworth is about to embark on started out in a normal way, but after some thought on his part, turned into the exciting journey he is now planning.

“I originally had applied to a Ph.D. program in Seattle, because I wanted to move to Seattle,” Winkworth said. “I thought it might be cool to get there on a motorcycle, and I said ‘OK well I’ll just sell all my stuff and that way it will be easy for me to get there on a motorcycle.’ But, as I caught myself daydreaming, I wasn’t daydreaming about going to school; I was daydreaming about the trip to get there.”

Winkworth said he realizes the time was right to start the tour.

“I thought to myself, I am going to be 30 years old in June,” Winkworth said. “I thought, we’ve all got this limited amount of time on this planet, and if I’m daydreaming about riding around on my motorcycle, why would I go and get myself locked into six years of school? Maybe I can make something out of my life that involves doing the things that I daydream about, rather than just doing what I’m supposed to. So that’s what it is: I am going to try to make a go of it and see if there’s something out there for me that I can get hooked into.”

Ted Winkworth with the motorcycle he will use on his trip across North America and South America. (Justine Polonski | The Oswegonian)
Ted Winkworth with the motorcycle he will use on his trip across North America and South America. (Justine Polonski | The Oswegonian)

The idea for the journey came to Winkworth a few months ago.

“The first thought of it came to me in January,” Winkworth said. “I was looking around at all these great things people are doing in all of these different places, and thinking about all the places I would still like to see, and all the good I’d still like to do.”

Winkworth said he waited to continue that type of lifestyle.

“I thought to myself, I could do this all the time,” Winkworth said. “And that’s what I plan to do; I plan to bounce around and volunteer at different places and help people farm, and help people build houses—basically wherever anybody will have me.”

Winkworth said his inspiration came from a transitional phase that he went through.

“We all go through these transitions, for a lot of people it is graduation, and the thought entered my mind for the first time in a few years: what am I going to do with the rest of my life?” Winkworth said. “And, I had that thought while I was sitting on a beach, watching waves roll in.”

Winkworth said he also does not want to keep his life on a set path

“I thought to myself, there are no limits on what a person can do,” Winkworth said. “We get this idea of what we’re supposed to do, but why? And, I had to really ask myself what it is that I want. What I want is to travel, and I want to meet people, and I want to learn, and I want to inspire people to make their lives better. I think I can do that from the back of a motorcycle.”

Winkworth started a website, “In Every Direction,” and uses it as home to his blog, resume, the sales for his belongings he is selling and a place where people can donate, if they choose to.

“… I am going to take photos of cool places, I’m going to talk to them about different places they might want to travel to, and I am going to talk about the experience,” Winkworth said. “The blog and the project are all about helping people understand that there is more out there that they can get connected into, if they just let go of their plan for a little while.”

Winkworth said his goal is to show that any person is capable of accomplishing anything.

“If I can pull this off, and it comes off in the way I want it to, I think that could be a message to a lot of young 20-somethings that are trying to figure out what to do with their lives, to hopefully ease some of their anxieties,” Winkworth said.

Winkworth said he can prove to college kids that not having money does not mean they have no options.

“You might not be staying in five-star hotels, and you might have to be a little creative, but you can go out and you can get thing things that you want without having to get locked in to all of this other stuff that you are told you are supposed to do,” Winkworth said.

Winkworth went on to say that students should chase their dreams while they are still young.

“Don’t wake up one day when you are 40 or 50 years old and say ‘why didn’t I do that?’ Because you convinced yourself that it was beyond your reach.”

Winkworth’s departure from his position on the Oswego State staff is not going to be easy for him.

“It’s super hard. I love this place. Our center is super fun,” Winkworth said. “We, I think, have reached a lot of students since I’ve been here. I love the connection that I have with the students here. This is the hardest job I’ve ever had to leave.”

Winkworth is well-respected by his co-workers at Oswego State

“As AOD Coordinator in the Lifestyles Center, Ted Winkworth has been a proven asset to our students and within services provided at Walker Health Center,” said Elizabeth Burns, nurse practitioner and assistant director of Health Services at the Mary Walker Health Center at Oswego State. “Ted easily relates to students and his colleagues and will be greatly missed. We wish him well in his next adventure.”

Shelly Sloan is the health promotion coordinator in the Lifestyles Center at Oswego State. She works side by side with Winkworth on a daily basis in the Lifestyles Center.

“Ted is one of the best coworkers ever,” Sloan said. “We have a lot of fun at work but we also get a lot done.”

Rebecca Burch, a professor in the psychology department, also works with Winkworth.

“I have known Ted for almost a decade and he is one of my favorite people, actually, he is my favorite person,” Burch said. “I think his new adventure is exactly what he needs to do, and even though I don’t want him to leave, I can’t wait to see what happens. It’s going to be amazing.”

“At the Lifestyles Center, we are a family,” Sloan said. “With Ted’s departure, we truly feel like we are losing a family member. We will miss him tremendously but wish him well on the next chapter of his life.”