During the early 1990's I was actively involved in the sport of triathlon focusing on the longer Ironman distance events. I was living and working in Whistler, B.C and would spend most of my weekends doing long bike rides or runs. There is only 1 highway there so you have a choice when you want to ride, north to south or south to north, it can get repetitive. One day I was heading out on my very familiar route with the wind at my back and found myself wondering what it would be like to just keep going, across the province, country and beyond. I thought it would be a great way to travel, fast enough to feel like you are getting somewhere but slow enough to really see and experience the world without the protective insulation (and isolation) created by a windshield.
In early 1999 I was living in Vancouver, working in an accounting firm but becoming consumed with the idea of a bike trip around the world. I bought a world map and marked up possible routes by linking places of interest. A rough line joined Ireland, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Taj Mahal and Mount Everest. Around that time I found a book "Miles from Nowhere" by Barbara Savage that would confirm that a trip by bicycle is possible. The evenings of the next few months were spent researching ways to circumnavigate the earth on bicycle, figuring out what you would need, how much it would cost, how long it would take and how to avoid the extreme weather in various countries. My days became a routine of work, wolfing down a quick dinner, going to the bookstore with my hot chocolate (a very clever move by Starbucks to set up shop in bookstores), and poring over maps. I had everything ready to go except a bike, equipment and money. It's unfortunate that when you're young you have time and little money and when you get older you have money and little time.
I passed my exams to be a Chartered Accountant (C.A) and in late 1999 accepted a job in Bermuda. My plan was to work for a few years and then start my trip with the money saved. Life has a way of throwing curve balls and things didn't quite work out that way. I spent 5 years in the U.S. but the plans of doing a long bike tour were never far away. At my job in Boise, Idaho I posted a world map right beside my desk and would often continue my daydreaming nature and wonder if those plans would ever come to fruition.
In 2007 I returned to Bermuda to work with International Advisory Services (IAS) and once again planned on staying for a number of years and then head off on my trip. The reasons for leaving would soon change. I had always thought of just cycling and seeing the world but was lacking a specific purpose. Travelling for the sake of travel is fine but I suspect would slowly become routine and I would soon end up looking for another challenge. In 2008, one of the Filipina girls at IAS (Marife Bacasno) asked if I would like to attend a kick-off dinner for ANCOP (Answering the Call Of the Poor), an international fund raising event for the poor in the Philippines and elsewhere. It was during this dinner a film was shown that caught my attention. A scene of the poor children in Manila living and playing in a river that ran through a garbage dump triggered an idea. I had always wanted to work in an orphanage and I thought why not combine that with my plans to do a long bike trip? I could volunteer in the Philippines and instead of flying to the islands, would simply get there by bike.