Powered By Passion: A Journey Through Central Asia for Girls’ Education
Jack Few is an adventure cyclist with a soft spot for the places he travels and people he meets. At 24 he’s already completed a 3,000-mile bike ride through India, self-published a book of stories and wisdom learned on the road, and now he has embarked on an even bigger challenge. This year Jack is riding his bike from Brighton, England to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and raising money for girls’ education along the way. Jack is one of the lastest adventurer-turned-advocates who is using his passion to raise awareness and funds for Central Asia Institute.
While planning this next adventure, Jack was looking for ways to help the communities he would be riding through when he came across CAI’s website. As he learned more about the need for education in these areas, especially for girls, and the projects CAI supports, he knew he had found the greater meaning to bolster his trip. He connected with Jennifer Pearson at CAI and she set him up with his own fundraiser and all the information he needed to be an advocate for girls’ education throughout his journey. He set his goal for $5,000 just before he left.
“I decided to start a fundraiser for this trip because ultimately I wanted to help the countries I cycled through, rather than simply passing by and taking some photos,” Jack explains. “I was always planning on promoting this trip through photos and videos, and I knew there would be an audience that could help contribute something to a good cause, and what better cause than this!”
Staying Motivated on the Ride
Jack began his trip in January, which is the middle of winter in Europe, with the general idea of riding to Kyrgyzstan in seven months. The trip has already been filled with challenges due to winter weather, but cold nights out in snow have been punctuated by nights spent with new friends and the kindness of strangers.
“Like most trips I didn’t plan at all, I enjoy the open serendipities from the road and the spontaneity of new experiences, people, and places,” Jack explains. “Having said that, I’m really looking forward to joining the Silk Road route in Turkey and especially cycling the legendary Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan – a place of incredible natural, unspoiled beauty.”
While the excitement of life on the road is enough to get you out there, it takes a lot more energy to keep going, especially on such a long trip. For Jack, his CAI fundraiser helps to give him purpose, especially when the weather is bad or loneliness sets in. “It’s another backbone to the ride, I also see it as a way to keep myself motivated and determined, to keep going when it gets tough. This is for all of those in less fortunate positions that I can help by continuing to push forward.”
For Jack, this trip is about expanding his horizons and taking on new challenges while bringing attention to different cultures. After returning from his first trip more than a year ago, he had an incurable travel bug and knew the only way to soothe it was to plan his next adventure. He says, “This trip was fully inspired by the last. It felt like the most natural thing in the world to continue when I got back from the last tour, it flooded my life with a new, exciting energy and flavor.”
He encourages anyone with an adventurous side to take the leap too, especially if they can attach a cause they care about to their trips, “Let’s put it this way, I’ve never met anyone who has regretted doing a long bicycle trip, but I’ve met many who have regretted not doing one. Doing a long-distance bike tour is possibly one of the best things you could do with such valuable free time.”
If you can tie that trip to a fundraiser or a cause that you’re passionate about, all the better. For Jack, that cause is empowering women through education. “Education for women equals empowerment of women, one of the greatest changes that the world needs to take. The positive snowball effect of education can change the quality of life for individuals, families, and communities forever. Seeing these changes in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan is essential in what is still a very conservative country.”
The Open Road Ahead
Jack is already two months into his journey. Despite snowy nights and cold riding conditions, his spirits are high and his senses are tuned in to all that is around him. He’s embracing the adventure and living in the moment.
“The best thing for me about this type of adventure is that it’s so utterly liberating,” he says. “I have nothing but an open road in front of me, and I wake up every day excited knowing the day will be fresh and new and unpredictable. I have no idea what lies around the corner, and there’s something about that which wakes up the brain from our habitual patterns and routines and leaves it thirsty for more. It also makes getting to beautiful places and meeting wonderful people even more rewarding, and it makes everything better knowing you’ve used your own head and hands and legs to get there.”
You can follow Jack’s journey on his Instagram account or check out his website for more information on his adventure and his book. If you want to help him reach his fundraising goal for CAI, visit his page here.
What kind of adventure are you headed out on next? If you want to add motivation to reach your goal, you can create your own fundraiser just like Jack. You don’t need to ride a bike across several continents to make a difference. You can run a race, host a dinner party, sail a boat, or anything else your heart desires. To learn more, visit our advocacy page or email Jennifer Pearson at firstname.lastname@example.org. There are so many ways to change the world.