Our team connected with this driven, forward-thinking woman, Skylar Schneider. Since a young age, she has traveled and pushed herself out of her comfort zone. A Team USA Cyclist, Skylar shared her journey into cycling (that started when she was just 4 years old!), some of her greatest challenges and how it got her to where she is today – living in and biking for Holland.
Where are you from and where do you currently live?
I’m from West Allis, WI which is just outside of Milwaukee. Home is still West Allis, however my base in Europe is in Southern Holland.
Tell us about your journey to cycling. What inspired you to start?
My dad was already a cyclist when he met my mom in high school, although she didn’t think the sport was cool enough and swore that she would never touch a bike. Later in their relationship he built her a custom hot pink bike, which was enough to change her mind.
Both of them raced around the US and passed on the love of the sport to my siblings and I. I did my first race at four years old and am now one of the youngest women in the World to be racing at the highest level of the sport.
What has been your greatest achievement?
In 2016 I qualified for the World Championships and represented Team USA in Doha, Qatar. I went on to finish 2nd place and earn a silver medal in the road race. Standing on the podium in the red, white, and blue of the United States uniform is a feeling I’ll never forget and hope to achieve again one day!
And your greatest challenge?
The greatest challenge is the time spent away from home. In a given year, I spend more days away than I am home. Therefore, I sacrifice a lot of time with my family and miss out on holidays. During the Spring while I was living in Holland, my dog passed away and this broke me. I knew that when I returned home it would never be the same. I grew from this experience by realizing that it was OK to cry and it was OK to talk about it with my family as we mourned together, despite being so far away from them. In other words, communication is key – especially with loved ones – and something I’m constantly working at to keep our relationships strong despite the distance.
How has traveling and living abroad inspired/pushed you and provided you with valuable life experiences?
I have realized that every time I travel, I am changing a bit as a person. My own understanding of the world has been shaped by the beautiful and imperfect places that I have had the opportunity to see, and the people I meet along the way.
With these valuable and raw life experiences, I’ve been pushed and inspired to have more compassion and an understanding for other cultures. You can learn a lot from people by observing- especially the locals who have a rhyme and a reason for the way they’re doing things. Like this, you’re opening your mind to doing something different than you might normally and developing a better understanding for the people around you.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned since moving abroad? Any advice for someone thinking about living abroad?
At 19 years old I essentially moved abroad where a lot of unknowns and lessons awaited me. I was living in a place where my only transportation was by foot, bike, or train. I learned to strategically plan my grocery store trips, load a train card, and plan logistics for getting the places I needed to be (…and so much more).
For anyone living abroad, there’s a balance between letting go and living in the moment, while also understanding when it’s super important to plan for the future. Ultimately, you’re going abroad to enjoy it and not be stressed out the whole time, so really take advantage of learning from your mistakes and remembering that ‘que sera, sera’.
What is your fav place you’ve been? Where you’re off to next?
“My favorite place to travel to is Colombia! There’s something about the charming towns, happy people, and fresh food that makes me fall in love every time I’m there! The culture is dramatically different than what I’m used to in America or Europe, but what I’ve learned from Colombians is that you truly don’t need a lot to be happy- in other words- money doesn’t equal happiness.
Although 99% of my travels throughout the year have to do with cycling, my next trip is an actual vacation! My family and I are going to Montreal, Canada. My grandma grew up in Montreal but hasn’t returned in many years, so the family is going with her to learn more about her roots. It has been in the works for about 3 years and now it’s just 2 weeks away!
Overall, I hope women will feel encouraged to travel using Behere, and inspired to learn more about themselves by embracing the challenge and independence of going abroad.”