Katie Moss, former Wimbledon High School pupil (1999-2010), is over half-way through cycling 10,000 km from Hanoi, Vietnam to Kathmandu, Nepal meeting social initiatives working in two fields: the education of women and girls and sustainable energy. Katie describes her experiences below.
The expectations of the working world that employers are constantly pitching to bright young graduates rarely matches reality and I found that working in London for two years since University had not given me the type of challenge I’d expected.
With 40+ years of work ahead of me, it was time for a brief hiatus. My boyfriend and I wanted to develop a project that would challenge us, something we and others could learn from, and that would give us the opportunity to delve into the social issues that really matter. We wanted to gain a unique perspective of countries we’d never been to and societies that we knew were changing rapidly.
Using bicycles as our mode of transport has given us a fascinating insight into the lives of people in these countries, despite the physical obstacles we’ve needed to overcome, largely in the form of mountain ranges (or to take the words of the WHS School Song, ‘the unconquered peaks above’). There have been some hot, sweaty and exhaustingly long days in the saddle; the longest yet was 9 ½ hours and over 130 km, not to mention the hills involved!
Cycling certainly gives us a huge sense of flexibility and access to wonderful camping spots: on beaches, in temples, outside people’s homes in little villages, even in schools (although we always ask permission first). One evening in Thailand we cycled into a temple, and rather than asking the monks whether we could camp, we were greeted by a contingent of the Thai army! They were wonderfully obliging and the boss ordered his men to turn on the lights for us, show us to the bathrooms and cook us breakfast in the morning.
Although travelling by bicycle is an effective way to attract people to our social media, the purpose of our project 'Gearing Up' is to raise awareness of the work people and organisations are doing in our two fields. Our aim is to use 'Gearing Up' to encourage other people to engage with social issues and projects, both at home and abroad, but also to form and foster a sense of ‘collective responsible’, that encourages everybody to understand the impact they have, and are capable of having on the world around them.
You can support 'Gearing Up' by engaging with our social media channels: Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. You can also sign up to updates on our website. We’d also love to hear from media publications interested in publishing articles we write, please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org.