Monthly Archives: June 2014

Days Away

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Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do, than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. ~ Mark Twain

 

In a week I will leave on the adventure of a lifetime. ‘Cycling Around the World’ from Sanya, China back to my home in Canada. Hundreds of thoughts flutter around in my mind as I pose to challenge the invariable unknown that lies ahead. I have thoughts of excitement, fear, self-doubt, adventure, beauty, challenge, darkness and joy. All of these ideas play tricks on my mind, like shadows in the night.

As I complete the final touches before my departure there is a certain satisfaction with having come this far and finally reach my goal. Sometimes these feelings are also met with a touch of impending doom. If I let my mind wander to all the ‘What if…’ scenarios, it is easy to feel apprehensive about the whole thing. It is the last week I will know where I will be sleeping, have an idea where I will be eating and know which way is home. These feelings of self-doubt can be easily overcome by remembering to think one day at a time and living in the present moment. If I knew all the answers there would be no reason to go. I know I will be fine.

Everything is coming together after months of preparation. Last minute purchases are being taken care of and ‘To Do Lists’ have a bottom in sight. I am excited and I am afraid. To say that I won’t feel a certain sense of fear next week as I walk out my door for the last time, would be a lie and understatement. To me that ‘fear’ means it is something worth doing. It is something bigger than myself. There are far too many good things ahead to keep those thoughts in check.

With all of the support I have been given failure is not possible. There are great personal challenges waiting that will make me a better person. It is that wonderful unknown I look forward to. Thank you to all the people that have helped me get this far and to my supporters with my ‘Fundraising Project’ for Free the Children. I can’t do it alone.

From the Ground Up

Over the last few months over $2,000 has been raised in support of my fundraising initiative with ‘Free the Children’. I am amazed with all the care and support everyone has already shown. Thank you, because together we can make a difference.

On July 7th, I will begin my ‘Cycling Journey Around the World’. For the first leg of the journey all funds raised will be going towards the construction and outfitting of a school, in a village called Guang Ming. The village is located in China’s Sichuan Province. The community is in desperate need of a new school for the start of the next school year in September. The construction of the school has already begun; however, more funds are needed to expand and outfit the new school.

image Children between the ages of 6 and 13 in the Guang Ming community are obligated to attend school; however, students face many barriers to accessing a quality education. The primary school only has three classrooms, but they are all declared unsafe. One of the classrooms cannot be used at all because it is too dangerous, so students and teachers are left with two remaining classrooms. As a result, there are multiple grades in each classroom and some teachers have to carry out lessons outdoors.

Despite the multi-grade rooms, not all students can be accommodated. Students are forced to travel two and a half hours through the mountains to attend school in another community where there is enough room for them. Because this option is dangerous for students, 10% of primary school aged children drop out and help their parents in agricultural activities to generate more income and girls are expected to take care of their younger siblings after school.

Currently, there are four teachers in Guang Ming Primary School, but of the four, only one teacher is adequately trained. Similarly, in the neighbouring school that students travel to, there are six teachers but only four of them are trained. ‘Free The Children’ is committed to working with the local government and community to construct a new school that will contribute to a safe and positive learning environment for all children. For more information on the community in Guang Ming, please read the community report provide below by the kind people at ‘Free the Children’.

The goal is to raise $10,000 to contribute to the construction of a classroom while I ride through China. We are already 20% of the way there. With your help we can give the children in the Guang Ming community a chance for a proper and safe education. Click to Donate

Together, let’s turn this: image

Into this: image

Thank you once again for all your support!

Link to the Full Guang Ming Community Report

Why the Bicycle?

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“Life is like riding a bicycle — in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.” ~Albert Einstein

The bicycle. A versatile, strong and roadworthy companion. Transportation made easier all around the world. But aren’t bikes for kids? Kids ride bikes and adults drive cars. That’s the rule, right? You drive down to the river as a kid with your bike and to the office in a car when you are all grown up. The fun is over. No more tricky situations on a bike, just annoying traffic jams and expensive repairs. When you race your bike everyone cheers you on, but when you race a car the cops just get upset. It is easy to forget how fun a bicycle can be as you get older.

The bike can take you anywhere you like, as long as you keep at it long enough. It makes you stronger. Builds character. Eats at your waist. Give you those big highs and the low lows. Uphill battles and downhill roars. The wind in your hair and dry eyes. Everything you feel for quietly slipping through someone’s little part of the world. To drop the bike and take a picture, have a bite, a swim and well deserved break. To feel that sense of accomplishment. To meet a new friend. But most of all it gives you the satisfaction of having made it there yourself.

When I was planning my trip ‘Cycling Around the World’, I had a lot to consider. The first choice was what would be the best way to do it. There are 101 ways to travel and no way is eternally right or wrong. I just knew a bike would be the best for me. I own a motorcycle in China, but that sounded far too complicated and impersonal. I despise buses, but love trains. Would miss everything in a plane. After little thought, the bicycle became the first choice, next to walking. Now that I am less than a month away from departure, I know it was the best choice given the goals of my adventure. The bike was, for me, the only choice. Doing it right and by my own rules.

“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

Don’t underestimate the power of the bicycle. But most importantly, the power of yourself. I believe that the world will be seen best from the bumpy seat of a bike. For everything that the road brings, I’m ready. For everything that we are capable of, I say embrace the challenge. Keep moving towards your dream, no matter the mode it takes to get there. Experience the world around. Take the long way. Experience that challenge of the high road. Remember how you got there, because it is always about the journey.

 

 

 

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