The each day achievement of the cycling:
Day1:40km,day 2:41km,day 3:35km,day 4:30km,day 5:65km,day 6:80km,day 7:60km,day 8:60km,day 9:70km,day 10:break,day 11:111km,day 12:93km,day 13:105km,day 14 to 15: break,day 16:93km,day 17:0, day 18: 30km.
It was a real adventure cycling across Cambodia for 18 days covering 1,000km. This was a fundraising trip that supported Cambodia youth and education,organized by PEPY, an NGO in Siem Reap. I was very blessed to be apart of this journey. I was one of the trip leaders. There are many reasons why I did this project.
First of all, I am fighting against a cultural barrier that always says a girl should not travel far from home. In Cambodia many people still believe that it is better for women to stay home in order to cook and take care of the children.It is safe to do this way! But I want to show that women can do many things with their lives.
Another reason I decided to lead the PEPY trip is simply because I wanted to see the real Cambodia through cycling. There are many hidden places of Cambodia that its own people should explore and learn about. I also want to promote a green environment through cycling and raise awareness about how cycling can improve the future. I wanted to challenge myself with this 1000km. I knew it was a very long way. I also knew would learn many things during the journey and meet people from many different countries. Being a trip leader means I need to be fully responsible, flexible, and have good teamwork skills in order to bring this journey along smoothly and successfully. This was my first time to lead such a long trip.
What a person learns from school is not enough for me. In life there are so many experiences to teach us about ourselves and the world we live in. Real life lessons have given me a chance to open my eyes to see and evaluate my country better. I have had the opportunity to travel to many places that other Cambodians have not been. Yet I always have had a dream to travel around my own country; to better understand and capture the beauty of Cambodia.
Most of my previous traveling I had done by bus or motorbike. Travel cross country by bike gave me a deeper perspective. I realized that I was so welcome in my own country. In the rural areas I cycled through, most of the kids were running after my bike saying, ”Hello, Hello!” Some of them were running to have a “hi-5” with me. Honestly, I have traveled to many countries in parts of Europe, Asia and the United State as well. But I have not found any place that has the atmosphere of welcoming a stranger like Cambodia. Especially in the rural areas. If I did not travel this way I would not have learned so much more about Cambodia. Cycling brought me deeper into my own country and culture.
At the same time, I also had met some people that still carry on an old way of thinking. like one man I met along the way. He was surprise to see a Khmer girl leading cycling for such a long ride. He laughed a bit and said, ”You cycling with the foreigners, are you not tired to do such a thing?” He seems to think that all Khmer girls should just stay home and cook. Why are not they surprised to see my other co-trip leaders on the trip too? He is also Khmer, or is it because he is a man? I said to him back ,”If boys can do it, girls can do it too!” After that, he said no more. I want to prove to Khmer society that there should be more equality between boys and girls. Sometimes, I just fight for better respect for women in my society, I do not ask for more. I know the physical body of a woman is often not as strong as that of a man, but it does not mean women can not do it. I will not give up on this type of random thing that happen to me. I know it is not only happen to me,but to many others Cambodian girls as well. Why not try to give them encourage to do a better things for the society instead of they should stay home and taking care of the babies?
At the end of this journey of 1000 km of Cambodia I have gained great friendships. I will miss those people very much when they go back to their own countries. I have also come to know myself and my own country better as a result of this challenge. I am sure there are still many things I learned on the trip. I will surprise myself when I discover ”I know I have learned this during the ride!” I hope from what I have learn and experiences through this adventure of a lifetime that I can be a small messenger for you to know better about Cambodia and as well as Cambodian people. I wish, more Cambodians would consider cycling and adventure tours throughout Cambodia as a form of education. They can go out to discover themselves and their country in a new and meaningful way.
I realized that I would not have done this amazing thing without commitment and belief in myself that I can do it.What’s next? Who knows, I might inspire other girls to do a cycling crossing Cambodia or on the other word”girls on a bicycle crossing the country.