Well, I could say that the planning of this trip first developed during the first week of June of this year…a week before my birthday. But, thinking more, I realize that I have been dreaming of this for awhile…was it when I arrived in Shanghai to live last September? Or was it during my first visit to China, my first exit of the dear ol’ US of A?
Maybe it goes further than those moments…to the days of a 5 year old girl wearing her favorite set of PJ’s, the ones with Cowboy’s on horses. Through the days of thumbing through National Geographic magazines and wandering through the woods…pretending to be living alone in the wilderness…of her backyard. Up through the days of college, with her continued fascination of being a Cowboy in the lonesome and wild West.
circa 2001 – Copyright Eleanor Moseman
After graduating in 2002, dreaming of running to some far off place. To see, to experience…to push myself…to find my breaking point.
Living here in Shanghai has been difficult, looking for work, finding friends…finding myself. Everyday, I was telling myself…if I could just get out of this city to see the country. Looking at myself in the mirror every morning wondering how I was contributing to the greater part of humanity. Being an expat makes you realize how small the world is…and how much smaller your life is in the whole picture. Who cares how much money you make, or what kind of clothes you wear, or the car you drive…it’s what you do to help others, the positive difference you can make in someone’s life. I am no martyr by any means – but life is too short to live a life chasing money and material possessions.
So here I am, wanting to see Asia, wanting to make a difference, and letting the world know…as a young woman…I can do both of these and make an impact someone’s life. In parts of the Eastern/Middle Eastern World, women are still considered lesser than our male counterparts. Sure, make your assumptions about women in China – we have all heard the stories of discarded female babies in rivers. This isn’t really relevant these days, but the boy is still valued higher in the countryside and if a family has more than one child – the boy is going to school. And of course there are schools being burned to the ground in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the sex trade/smuggling in Southeast Asia. I watch interviews of little girls in Afghanistan, after their school being forced to shut down, saying how they want to be doctor’s or a President. I am a firm believer if you want to see a difference in this World, you start with the children.
In June, with nothing to lose, I decided to do a bicycle trip around Asia. Now, somewhere in my heart, it just felt a bit selfish…roaming around Asia…on two wheels…aimlessly. I needed a true mission, something that meant more. After research, and knowing I am not the only woman riding around the World, it clicks…do it for the girls! What a better way to get a point across, than an independent American woman riding her bike around Asia to promote education for girls. I am fortunate enough to be of a Nationality where education can be afforded (with a slight debt of Government Loans), my dreams would never have culminated to the point they are now.
When I think of myself 20 years ago, lying down on the floor, my face buried in magazines and books…dreaming of exotic lands and people…never would I have imagined my life where it is now. Thanks to all my teacher’s – especially the women – that pushed my imagination, the encouragaged my creativity. To my current mentor’s – that remind me to embrace who I am. And most of all to my parents – for always reminding me that the world is completely open to me and I can do anything. Who would of thought, a modern day Cowboy.
In November, I began rock climbing here in China…and to teach myself I pulled every online resource I could. I have become a loyal listener of podclimber.com. When I was thinking of an organization to ride for…I remember hearing about Girls Education International on this podcast: www.podclimber.com
Excellent! An organization established and run by women, for women and girls. I chose this particular organization because I felt that no matter how much money I raised – it would make a difference. How often have you donated $15 to the WWF, PETA, or any of those large foundations only to have about $30 worth of mail dropped on your porch asking for donations. If I had not donated $15 – they would of saved $15! Simple math folks…quit bombarding me for money when I see how much postage costs and all that paper stuffed in the envelopes.
I pulled some resources such as
and contacted Girls Ed to see if it would be okay if I promoted them on my site for my 6 month trip around China. And here we are…I am still planning…and hoping for a trip even longer than 6 months.