We are 5 grads from The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University- Nakia Pearson 03', Andrew Spidahl '03, Jim Durfey 04', Adam Wolf 05', Peter Ehresmann, 04' who are forming a "bike band" and touring internationally across Asia and Europe. We left Beijing in September 2007, proceeded across Asia and will work our way to Paris by November of 2008. We embarked on this journey for several reasons, and although we each have different personal reasons we have attempted below to elucidate some of the big joint reasons.
1) To experience a big cross section of the world by traveling through rural agricultural areas of Asia wherein resides most of the world's population. While these people might lack material wealth, we are eager to share their experiences and thus reach a deeper understanding of our own lives and cultural backgrounds. We suspect that, as Westerners, we have great deal to learn from these people. At the same time, we believe most of the world's people have similar hopes and fears and harbor benevolent feelings towards their fellow human beings, regardless of how they feel about politics. We would like to test this hypothesis, thereby achieving a deeper understanding of humanity through personal experience, rather than second-hand through the media.
2) To help build bridges of understanding to the people we'll meet along our journey. Playing and singing music will be a major tool for us to have meaningful interaction across language barriers. We especially look forward to jamming mid-trip with local music groups. Bridge building will also include sharing our experiences with our native communities, whether Minnesotan, Bahamian, or Montanan. Misunderstanding and ignorance breed conflict. We hope that by providing intimate portraits of the people we encounter to reduce inter cultural ignorance. We also aspire to put a human face on regions or peoples otherwise only encountered through esoteric U.N. statistics or difficult-to-pronounce place names. We plan on combining our talents and gifts with this trip to show these areas as they are, with the people living normal lives of beauty and anger and pain and poverty and wealth.We plan on writing essays, taking photos, and filming video in an effort to use different media to share our experience during and after our trip.
3) To advocate deliberate, simple, low-impact lifestyles. During our journey we will travel only with what we carry on our bikes, thus eschewing the clutter of possessions that often seem to encumber the lives and relationships of anyone lucky enough to be above the poverty line. We believe that addressing environmental issues, especially global warming, go hand in hand with living simpler, more sustainable lifestyles and caring about the justice and equality available to our fellow human beings. By the nature of our trip, bicycling will figure prominently in our lifestyle, and we believe that biking is good not only for the environment, but for our communities and the bikers themselves. When possible we will extol the necessity of lowering carbon emissions everywhere, and the role that bikes are able to play in that issue.
We are considering raising funds for one or several charities, but are a bit overwhelmed at the challenge of finding and choosing those charities. We are also very interested in aligning with other organizations that share similar goals. Publicity, moral support, and other support are all much needed to make this a successful journey. Any interest and advice are welcome!
Thanks for your feedback and support!