RIDGEFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — “I just rode about 900 miles from Northern California to the Mexican border,” said Ben Grannis, explaining the last leg of his cross-country journey filled with memories.

“Kansas comes to mind first because the towns are so sparse and small,” he said, remembering the trip and its purpose. “It was to put myself in a situation that I foresaw as something that would be uncomfortable and embracing that experience.”

The 27-year-old was also riding to raise awareness for the non-profit TextLess Live More, founded to honor a woman killed by a distracted driver.

“The message is to have awareness about your own life and your own values and what’s important to you,” Grannis said.

He also noted that it’s a way to get away from the constant noise of social media.

This personal reckoning looks different for everyone. For this Kenyon College grad, it’s about connecting with the outdoors.

“Growing up, hiking with my family, Boy Scouts, just being outside was the first way I learned to appreciate time away from everything else,” he said.

In the last year, Grannis rode 7,000 miles by himself, camping, staying with friends and utilizing the app “Warm Showers,” which is designed for cyclists on the road.

Grannis now appreciates all corners of the country, like Colorado.

“Getting to see the purest gold colors set on the darkest greens from the evergreen trees, it made the mountains look like they were on fire,” he said, left with a wisdom that has changed his life. “Without me being aware of it all the time, it’s changed the course of where I want to go for the better and I’m really grateful for that.”

Grannis has raised $40,000 for TextLess Live More and hopes to raise $10,000 more by the year’s end.

He also plans to write a book about his adventure.

Click here for more info about Grannis’ mission.