The Tour de Timor build up was pure madness: Ramadan, crazy work load, anxiety about the race, packing a bike and accessories, emailing people to donate, Eid celebrations. As a team there was lack of communication and how could I know what to expect? when I have never done anything like this. It was scary.
The last days before I left was consumed by work, with a quick get a way to get my bike packed and visiting family. The highlight of this stressful experience was the generosity and kindness of people around me, from receiving my first 1000 dollars which was equally as big as receiving donations from old grannies who contributed what they could.
As my mother and I stumbled out to the airport in the early hours of the Saturday morning, I couldn’t help feel the love by seeing my awesome surprise send off committee. My friends actually got out of bed on a Saturday at 7am to send their love and give me the sexiest t-shirt ever. It just highlighted to me that all my great experiences would not be possible without the love and support of my friends and family.
If that wasnt cool enough, you can imagine my surprise when Papa Satha (my other team mate) and I realized that President was on our flight. We introduced ourselves but when we got to our seats our Gone Cyclin’ team knew that now was the perfect opportunity to get a little interview with him.
Interviewing President José Ramos-Horta, who is also a Nobel Peace Laureate and gaining insights on his impressions about peace gave me shivers as it was similiar to my outlook which was peace is more than just the absence of war.
He said something that inspired me when he spoke about his 24 years commitment to try to gain independence. “I couldn’t fail or give up [in raising awareness for Timor], I would never be able to forgive myself or look myself in the mirror everyday”.
That heavy responsibility and his commitment is but a gesture to remind us that if you focus on a bigger picture and keep in it mind you will ultimately win your battle. It’s kind of a great note to set the stage for my crazy adventure.