When you’re scared of something, you don’t do it. Makes sense? Not for Yvonne. Armed only with a bike (too big for her) she started her biking trip around the United Kingdom. A quest with the aim of bringing awareness about things that matter.
About helping, simple as that. What’s so challenging about it? Well, pretty much everything.
Challenge nr 1: how can I help?
I’ve always really wanted to help people around. And when I want something I usually do it right away because why wasting time? Call it being impulsive; I call it going for what you want – says Yvonne with a big, honest smile. She was born in Malaysia but lived for some time in the United Kingdom. Travelling a few times per month, she attends conferences for youth around the whole world, doing projects about sustainable development… She seems fearless.
I’ve always been quite afraid of biking… – Yvonne laughs as she confesses this bizarre (for many Europeans) thing. But somehow I knew that my own charity project would be interesting if I include biking in it. I just wanted to help… and I found my idea. It was called Project B.I.K.E.
She was looking for ways how could she contribute and whom could she help. I decided to support the Marawi community from the Philippines that erupted by the military and local terrorist groups on 23 of May 2017. To make collecting easier, Yvonne created a website and told all her friend about it. Where people could watch the progress and support the cause.
Right, so we have the will and we have the goal. We have the way to do it: biking through the United Kingdom and giving speeches at schools and local NGOs about the cause. Trying to collect money to support the community. The bike’s prepared, the backpack’s full, Yvonne’s ready.
Challenge nr 2: how can I survive?
The wind was moving her bike as the cars were passing her quickly. Every muscle asked for a break but the stop was not even near. I’m crazy! How could I ever think that I can do it? I‘m not even good at biking! Yvonne wanted to cry as she squeezed out one kilometer after another. Later she would remember this, and many more similar situations, as the challenges that brought her closer to her goal.
It’s like, you do it or you die. If you want to achieve something you need to really, REALLY want it. More than discomfort, fear, or stress. Taking that trip has been the most challenging experience for me so far.
Luckily, it wasn’t always that difficult. During her trip, Yvonne met many good people who helped her on the road. They asked me where am I going and I said that I’m biking to Edinburgh. They’d look at me like at a lunatic and then they would ask why on Earth am I doing this…? So she explained. And talked about the cause she was collecting money for.
Getting recognition happened naturally as she was communicating with strangers on the street, in a coffee place, or at schools, giving presentations about sustainable development. I realized that people are generally good and very helpful. They want to support you if you’re authentic and do something for a good cause they can relate to.
Challenge nr 3: how can I make this last?
It took a few weeks. Speaking about all the learnings and aha-moments, it seems like a few years. Yvonne came back to London with sore feet and dreaming about a good night sleep in her own bed. But it was worth it. She collected more than £800. Comparing it to the whole route (808 km), the final score was pretty much £1 per 1 km.
Maybe it wasn’t veeery much but still, that was something I did on my own. Despite all the fear and obstacles on my way. Thanks to my effort people got concrete support. That is something I was dreaming of doing and now I achieved it!
So everything went back to normal. Well, did it? Extreme experiences like this one always leave a trace. Leave a footprint in our soul and change the way we look at reality. Turns out that the only thing you need to make a difference in yours and somebody else’s life is to really, deeply want it. Do it or die. Do it and you’ll live MORE.
I guess my biggest learning was that nothing is impossible. It’s a slogan we hear in commercials but when you apply it to your life you find out it’s very true. It won’t be pretty and won’t be easy but it’s totally worth all the trouble.
Yvonne’s quest finished as a success. She spread awareness about things that matter, collected financial support for the ones in need and incredibly strengthened herself. “All” it took was a bike trip. A quite hardcore bike trip but an achievable and a very impactful one.
So what now? More ideas, more challenges, more projects in her mind. There got to be so much more than just work, study, home; repeat. Funny thing that we are the ones who can change the direction of how it all unrolls for us. Sometimes it takes consequently-executed daily habits. And sometimes it takes an epic, charity bike quest, as it did for Yvonne.
She measured her given love in kilometers. How will you measure yours?
PS. You can see Yvonne’s full photo-relation HERE.
PS2. Photo credits belong to Yvonne Teo.