#34 – Cycle Across a Desert

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Everyone in the towns leading into Death Valley told us we were crazy, and it only made the challenge more exciting. The heat was deleriously exhaustive and if I’m honest, I was was never sure we would succeed.

The relentless doubt…the inner battle during the mountain climbs and the long stretches of hot black pavement…was a serious mental challenge.

I got to know my mind better. I often found myself to be an observer, floating over my bike, watching the argument between the strong and weak parts of me and their arguments with the bike and the road.

You take something from every challenge you face and when you focus on one challenge for long enough a period of time, having to face it repeatedly, day after day, you will take exponentially more from it. Distractons strip away and you are left only to focus on the raw polarity of the problem at hand.

And from the cycle of those thoughts, around and around and around, burns a new pattern in your neurology, which you can take with you into a new and better life after the ride.

#33 – Build a Kids Library in Cambodia

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It took me a couple of years of travelling in countries with massive poverty and dealing with the infinite moral conondrum faced when staring beggars in the eyes before I found a way of helping that I was genuinely comfortable with. At a loss for not knowing where cash handouts would end up and realizing the quick expiry of impact resulting from most types of ongoing support or aid, I found empowerment through education to make the most sense to me.

I was also incrdeibly moved by the tragic stories of genocide and systematic destruction of educated role models I heard while I was in Phnom Phen.

That’s why I choose to fund the construction of a library for kids in Cambodia.

The experience and success was, for obvious reasons, incredibly rewarding. In addition to the undeniable satisfaction from helping people, I also cherish the learning and self development that came from adopting what was then such a lofty goal – raising US$14,000 for something simply because I believed in it.

I learned people you thought would join you and help, wouldn’t. And people who you wouldn’t have expected to care, to care and help a whole lot.

I learned inspiration is the most powerful way to affect change. Some teachers were inspired to inspire thier students to inspire their friends and family to help. The change there was a lot bigger than just the donations. It was the space between the dollars that I was also very excited about. The learning, curiosity and emotions experienced by those who took the time to listen and consider…and maybe even inspire others.

Learning first hand how to move people to move others, even without the unmatched rewarding feeling, easily makes raising funds to build a kids library in Cambodia one of the top 100 things I’ve done.

A New Children’s Library in Cambodia

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Children's Library in Cambodia

Construction of the children’s library I decided to raise money to build in Cambodia has finally been completed. It is located on the grounds of Hor Nam Hong Preay Nhear Primary and Lower Secondary School in Batheay District, Kampong Cham, Cambodia.

Room_to_Read_logo_color_medium_270x173In the story that drove the fundraising I explained why I believed there was a drastic need for such a library in Cambodia specifically. (You can hear this story via the YouTube video at the bottom of this post.) Thanks to Room to Read and a long list of people and organizations, over 1300 kids in Cambodia now have access to books in both English and Khmer. Read the rest of this entry »

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