Baby we did it! We made it as a charity to our final stop of Vientiane and I have some beautiful tan lines to go with a great feeling of accomplishment...This train wasn't stopping....and I must say thank you to everyone who supported and contributed this project because not only did you bring happiness to many, you gave me an experience that I will never forget....Today rolling into Vientiane I was full of energy.....I believe the whole town knew I was coming.... but there is no better feeling under your own strength and determination to give back to the people who need it most....There was a few times I put myself in some difficult situations, but sure enough there was always someone to make sure I kept moving along the right path. The people of Cambodia and Laos opened their homes and I must say I didn't have one negative experience....I made it here safe and I thank the people for helping me complete our journey.....
A big thank you to the staff and students of Sino-Canada. I know I must drive you nuts with my ideas and energy......but we should feel proud of all the charity we have done! This is a special school and thank you for allowing me to share my energy and passion with others....Thank you to my sponsors for believing in this project and believing in me. I wasn't going to let you down and this wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for your faith and your support. Also, much love to my family and friends....Mom I know I must put you through a roller coaster ride at times, but don't worry I am always in control......! I appreciate all the emails of encouragement and the people I care about were right here with me....
After 2232 km cycled in 17 days I am going to hit the buffet.....The purpose of this journey was to give kids the gift of sport and the privilege to play....Through hard work of battling heat, winds and trying to beat the sunset, I believe that message was delivered....This is it for the time being, but I will back doing what I know best....Thank you everyone....I am truly blessed to this life and I am forever grateful....Follow your passion....
We Haul 2 Play
Day 14 Savannakhet to Thakhet
My trailer is almost empty and I have three basketballs left to handout....All the donations from this tour have been utilized and I have tried my best to reach out to as many kids as possible... Since this tour has started many people have reached out asking how they can get involved and I hope this project can continue to grow to achieve greater heights...This is a great educational tool for our future leaders to understand the world and the struggles people endure....As I travel through villages I see certain countries providing aid to schools to improve their educational needs. In the future I hope we can continue to help and I would like to dedicate more time in one area to witness grow within a community...
Bangkok seems very far away, but we brought a lot of love to many people along the way.....You can see the ground covered from the beginning, to my current location of Thakhet. Today I started my final push towards Vientiane and I have 338 km to cycle in two days to catch a flight back to China this Friday....so it is time to get these legs moving! I believe the legend of Heinz Stucke will be with me as I make my push towards the capital.....A toast to the legend of Heinz!
Day 12 & 13 Pakse to Savannakhet
Yesterday I left Pakse and continued my way north towards Vientiane. By the time I found a place to crash I cycled 168 km and called it a day. I had lunch at the 100 km mark and passed out for an hour and was awakened by a gallery of locals who were wondering my purpose given the tank I call a bike I am riding.....
Every time I ride through a village I hear the chant of "sabaidee" from the children and at times when I stop the children starting running for their lives, not realizing I am bearing gifts....Today I rode past a school and the students were waving and greeting me hello, but as soon as I turned into the school they went into survival mode, running back into their classrooms and warning their teachers that a wild man is on the loose! Once one of the kids on lookout realized that I was here to provide gifts, they all came back out and the teachers introduced who I was and what I was doing.....Kids are hilarious and have made this trip one to remember!
At times I feel like an Asian Santa Clause and I often wonder if the kids think that this will be a yearly event when the hairy man on the bicycle returns to give them sporting goods....I would love to come back and work in a rural setting to witness growth and development for months at a time....who knows maybe one day I will start my own school....
Today was a light day and I am in Savannakhet. I have three days to make it to the capital and basically will be riding into the airport.....woooooo! I wish had more time on this adventure, but I am proud of what we have accomplished as a charity in this short time....Going to get some rest for the 400 plus km in the next few days! Big push....here we go!
Day 11 Don Det to Prakse
Today I left Don Det which is a small island off of the mainland. I also said goodbye to my bungalow facing the west side of the island and jumped back on a boat to get back on the road! It was nice to have a few shakes, swim and sleep in a hammock....but I can only sit still for short period, until I feel the need to start moving once again.....This trait has been a downfall with some relationships in the past....
There were many kids hanging out near the highway chasing after me today wanting to say hi and it was fitting to give them a ball...Afterwards, I would watch them run to the closet field and start kicking around the ball....We are not reaching out to every single kid, but we are doing our best as a charity to help out where we can..
There are many small villages in Laos similar to Cambodia in which people are living at the poverty line.... I gave a boy a ball who lives in the house you see above...I saw him playing behind barb wire fence and I threw him a ball from the highway......
The kids I have been meeting have been sporting sling shots and at times seeking mischief to pass the time... When I was younger I was no saint....basically I was trouble, but I had my interests to stray away from my mischievous behavior at times! It was nice to give out some equipment to these kids so hopefully they will get involved with something more constructive than smashing bottles or shooting rocks at one another....
The landscape is changing and I am starting to cycle through very lush areas. My legs are being put to the test with the continuous hills I am starting to encounter..... but you will be eventually rewarded and today I had a beautiful 10 km descend into the town of Pakse. Today I cycled 150 km and made many stops. The energy from the children really keeps me motivated and the thought of crushing a mango shake at the next town always ads an extra push! My spirits are high and I am truly loving the ride...Big day tomorrow and I have no idea where I will end up....I will just work hard and see where the day takes me....By the way I googled Heinz Stucke and the Guinness Book of records stated that he has traveled by bicycle more than anyone in the world! Check out this link to find out more about Heinz!
Day 10 Kratie to Dondet (Laos)
Yesterday I was determined to put in a shift on the bike. I started my assault to the Laos border around 6:00 am and packed it in after 188 km cycled. I ended up 18 km away from the Laos border spending the night in a hammock off the highway with a family of six. Everyone was sleeping in a hammock and occasionally I would wake up to a car flying by on the highway or a disgruntled pig wanting to eat.....but I was grateful for the place to rest since I was battling hills and the winds all day.
Along my travels I met the myth, the legend Heinz Stucker who has cycled over 650 000 km in his lifetime! I believe it was a rare spotting to find Heinz because he has lived most of his life off the grid....I managed to get a photo while he was ranting about his travels through Africa and through our brief conversation he had a few good stories to tell....He is from Germany and he told me that I am incredibly stupid to be pulling a trailer......but once I told him about the cause, he took back his judgements.....He autographed my bike and we shook hands....Maybe I was getting a glimpse of my future by meeting Heinz.....
This stretch of the tour had very small communities, but it was very pleasant to ride through the country side in my solo pursuit. I felt like I was riding through cottage country back home in Canada with the constant smell of wood burning through the air. The people were very chill and inviting. I ate all my meals yesterday with families since there were no places to eat. I learned how to say "eat rice" in Khmer so it went long way yesterday to ensure I had fuel to move forward.
It is a great feeling today to cross the border into Laos, but I will hold fond memories of Cambodia and my experience. They really opened their doors and I felt welcomed every single time I approached a family or handing out donations. The enthusiasm from the kids and appreciation was worth all the hard work and I am looking forward to coming back and helping out the way I know how.....
I cycled into Laos and made a stop in a place famous for having 4000 islands. I am in Don det and I brought my bike over by boat to enjoy the water,relax and get ready for my final push into Vientiane. I will be riding solo for the rest of the trip and I am 800 km away for my final destination....I am working hard and living life....I am in a happy place...进入老挝后我在一个著名景点停了一下，这个景点以4000多个岛屿著称，它就是东德岛。我带着我的自行车在船上玩了玩水，放松一下，为最后一段到万象的冲刺做准备。接下来的这段路我将独自骑行，全面还有800公里啊，加油！生活多美好！
Day 9 Suong to Kratie
I was on the road today by 6:00 am and waved goodbye to Suong......My push towards the north is a work in progress given the state of the winds. The winds are coming from the north similar to my Vietnam tour, but the landscapes I was riding through made the winds an afterthought.
Today I started riding along the beaten track to get to Kratie. I was riding up and down hills all day and frequently getting views of the mighty Mekong. There were many small villages in which I paid a visit to greet the children.
I met these kids right before they were going to school. I just hope they actually attended class and didn't stick around and play....
I also made a stop at a school and witnessed the most chaotic soccer game I have ever seen....and I had no way of controlling the kids....The girls were passing the volleyball around on the sidelines, while the boys ran around like a bunch of Neanderthals.....I just slowly rode off and waved goodbye and watched the madness of play take place....
I met this gentlemen on the road and we compared biceps....He had his own mobile business and he was a kind soul. He was challenged and was very happy to see me. I could tell he loved my rig and in his own way was cheering me on....
I met these farmers on the road and gave them a volleyball to hit around after work....
I am now in Kratie and the total amount of kilometers cycled this trip has been 1100 km. I am going to make a mad push to the border of Laos tomorrow which is over 200 km. I am not going to make any guarantees, just going to go hard and see what happens....I just got a new load of equipment and I am excited to hit Laos. Jeans will be re-engaging at the border and getting back on the horse....Big day tomorrow!
Day 8 Unknown location to Suong
"Here I go again on my own".....and now I find myself in a town called Suong after lots of stops and 110 km cycled. I would have continued further, but this is the last town before I hit Kratie which is located in the northeast of Cambodia. The town of Suong is something else....Lots of abandoned buildings, not many lights, mobs of kids on scooters and a central carnival area which reminds me of a Taratino flick from the 90's...I was just waiting to get circled by a scooter gang when I rolled up today so innocently.......and I was ready to make peace by giving out a soccer ball....but my security wasn't an issue and tomorrow I will be heading out early to hammer that road!
Today I was cycling and met a kid collecting bottles on the road....Thanks to everyone who contributed to this charity I am able to perform random acts of kindness and hopefully he finds time to play and have fun....I made a stop at a field away from a school to avoid large crowds....but the kids started running towards me in squads wondering what my circus act was all about. I played volleyball with the kids and gave them a new ball. I gave other groups of kids balls as well and then continued on to the next destination.
Our charity ride through Cambodia is coming to an end, but now I have a better idea of their struggles and the education system. I would love to come back and I can't believe how many schools I come across on a daily basis. Public servants in this country make 50$ a month.....which is not realistic to survive, especially when you have a family.... Funds for education doesn't exist, unless it is given to the school by an outside donation....and that donation might not always go in the hands of the right person....I have enjoyed my time here and I feel I can take this charity to another level if I could dedicate more time to witness growth with these kids in a long term setting....
Once we hit Laos I want to continue to provide kids with the gift of sport....If you would like to make a donation it would be greatly appreciated to reach out to as many kids as possible...and I won't stop working until every dollar is spent to give these kids the freedom to play....
Day 7 Phnom Penh to Unknown
Today I was running around Phnom Penh getting the equipment ready for the next few days. Once the trailer was filled to the top I started my move towards the north. Jeans and I have parted ways for the time being....The road can take a toll on the body and riding everyday is no easy feat. Listen to the body and get back on the horse when you are ready!
I started to make my attack to the north, but I was taking the road less traveled! I found myself parallel with the Mekong for awhile and I was going through very remote communities making stops along the way. I found myself at a new years party and I was told the road I was taking didn't go through! Therefore, I decided to go back to the road that brought me into Phnom Penh and started to make my way north on the other side of the Mekong. However, it was getting dark and this stretch of the highway had no place to stay....
I took my time, made stops to various places and eventually I found this amazing Cambodian family who said I could spend the night on their patio. They served dinner which included 5 boiled eggs, fish, rice, a couple of beers and the company was great! I was so fortunate to have met these people because for awhile it was looking like I might be riding through the night. At first they had a cot setup right near their kitchen, but with an outside kitchen comes rats! Their property was massive and from a distance they were watching me throw water bottles to get those rats away from my quarters! They were having a good laugh at my expense and they relocated my bed to a very nice spot away from hells kitchen!
I just woke and I will be saying goodbye now to these wonderful people. Going to make my way to a town called Kratie and keep on handing out goods along the way. This has been such an authentic experience and I am really getting a feel for the people....Time to get back on the horse, the road awaits....
Day 5 & 6 Stoung to Phnom Penn
We have been traveling through some remote towns and the communication has been limited....However, during our stay in Stoung I met a lovely lady who spoke French and the feeling to communicate was fantastic. Every time we go through a village we hear the chant of "hello hello" from the children and when we make a stop we usually encounter two or three children, which usually turns out to be twenty! I believe the kids perform some sort of tribal call to communicate with their fellow friends and then they start coming from all directions....That is when the whole idea of sharing is expressed and for the most part kids have been playing together.
The areas we have been traveling through have been extremely poor; however, the enthusiasm and love from the people is amazing. Chinese new year is in full effect and the doors are open to us every time we pass through some type of function. We crashed a wedding yesterday and they opened the dance floor for us....The old cats were loving some of the foreigner moves and the "Angkor" beer started to flow. The people were great, but we needed to pullout to beat the sunset so we can find a place to stay. We eventually ended up in a small truck stop 25 km out of a town called Skun. This stretch of highway has no shoulder so we are trying to avoid riding in the dark....
Jeans has been getting stronger everyday and I believe the anxiety of the ride is now eliminated. She is working hard on and her strength is increasing! She is programmed to go hard, but the mechanical skills are still a work in progress.... At first, every time she touched the bike something would break....but it takes experience which she is gaining. In total we have cycled close to 800 km in six days and today we made our way to the capital. We are going through beautiful landscapes and we were off-roading for most of the day. After the trailer is refilled we will be making our way north towards Laos. We still have a long journey and we are looking forward to the adventure ahead. Thank you everyone for your encouragement....it really gives us that extra push to keep moving forward.
Day 4 Siem Reap to Stoung
A special day in Siem Reap
We had a day off in Siem Reap, but I had many things to do! The trailer needed to be refilled and I found a place called Hong sports who are willing to support our ride for the rest of our journey. After the trailer was filled to the top, I decided to spend some time at the orphanage. A girl I met by the name of Rita lead me to the AOEO and I had an incredible time.
I sat down with the director and he told me about the services they provide their children. There are 36 kids living at the orphanage permanently and the children go to a government funded school during the day. However, the orphanage is also a school where they allow all children from the community to expand and learn new skills after there regular school hours are completed. When I arrived there was a mandarin lesson taking place and I was very excited to jump in and join the lesson. The director told me education in Cambodia receives little funds and it is very difficult to obtain supplies. He also told me they love volleyball and they have a drop in program every Sunday where the kids can come and play. We donated six volleyballs, three basketballs, two skipping ropes and a frisbee. Also, we donated a net to ensure they can continue playing when the old one falls apart.
It was very inspiring to hear the director speak. He spoke with emotion about the children and the strides they have made to become educated. The volunteers and people who have dedicated their lives to these types of organizations are heroes....We are glad to help out and the next day I will be back to hang out play some games...
Yesterday we started our day at the orphanage and I promised the kids we would come back for another visit before we head off to the next city. The kids at the orphanage are amazing and their English is pretty good! The volunteers at this orphanage should be very proud of their hard work providing these kids with the gift of education....Thank you AOEO for letting us spend time with you, we look forward to seeing you again!
People have been asking me "why don't you rent a car instead of traveling by bike...?" The answer is you get such a better feel for the people and how they live their lives. I believe it's important to inspire and lead by example....and when people see you battling through the elements of nature to provide them with a gift, they appreciate your charity that much more. The idea of strength has many forms, but I believe the people feel our spirit and hopefully we inspire a few along the way...
There are so many kids heading down highway 6 to Phnom Penn! One of our favorite moments of our trip thus far took place yesterday and we came across a few boys playing basketball with a worn down volleyball that barely bounced and we gave them a new Spalding basketball for them to play and have fun. Everyone who has contributed to this charity should be proud, you are putting smiles on the faces of children who we meet everyday....
We are battling heat and a constant headwind, but who cares....Mother nature can push you around like a bully at a playground, but it's going to be impossible to break the spirit of the ride....Yesterday we finished riding in a town called Stoung and now we are itching closer to the capital to refill the trailer. We handed so much equipment in the past few days and the smiles are worth every km cycled....
Jiayou and to my Chinese friends....Xin nian kuai le!
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