H2Ography recently took a quick break from taking underwater snapshots of little swimmers and grabbed our bikes to pedal 500 kilometers across Thailand for five days. The bike ride is an endeavour held annually by the Business Blueprint group to raise funds to alleviate the living conditions of orphaned children and impoverished families supported by the Hands Across The Water charity.
The ride had been a truly incredible journey that put our patience and endurance to the test. We started the ride brimful of hope and energy and crossed the finish line exhausted yet with a renewed passion for life.
The highlight of the event was our immersion in the slum areas in Bangkok, getting acquainted with their poor living conditions, and rubbing shoulders with our beneficiaries. The experience was priceless. We returned to Australia carrying with us tons of realisations about life and living as a whole. We are sharing with you the life lessons we’ve gleaned throughout the five-day ride:
1. Know how privileged you are. Other people are struggling to achieve the things that you take for granted.
A roof above our heads, three meals a day, the gift of education, and immediate access to health services — while most Australians enjoy these essentials on a daily basis, our friends living in the urban poor areas in Bangkok don’t even have a penny to spend on a single meal. Most of them are without jobs and are struggling to make both ends meet daily. Be grateful for what you have. Share your resources with others who are in need.
2. Happiness is an inside job. It should not be defined by circumstances.
The families we visited in the Klong Toey slum in Bangkok model this truth each day of their lives. Despite barely eating thrice a day, being smacked right at the middle of the poorest area in Thailand, and having no clue about what the future holds for them, the people still have the strength to smile and remain optimistic. It takes dogged courage to be content during trying circumstances.
3. A small group of like-minded individuals can work together towards a unified goal and achieve it.
Over the course of five days, 48 entrepreneurs coming from various parts of Australia with different backgrounds, ages, beliefs, life experiences, and level of fitness banded together to improve the lives of people who did not win the lottery of birth. We did not let our diversity deter us from working towards our goal. If anything, we lifted each other up and encouraged one another to finish the ride strong. As a result, the Business Blueprint group was able to raise almost $300,000 for the charity.
4. The right mental state can push you further in the toughest conditions.
Majority of the riders are no expert cyclists nor have we ever pedaled a whopping 500 kilometers in our lifetime. Each day of the ride presented varying challenges that really stretched out our patience and endurance to the maximum. But despite the physical limitations, our drive to finish the journey and better the lives of our beneficiaries resounded loudly, drowning out all excuses to quit the ride.
5. Everybody needs a strong support system to pull him up in difficult times.
Everyone in the Business Blueprint group found an ally in each participant. The ride would have been insurmountable without the presence of a group that persisted through rocky terrains, bumpy roads, strong headwinds, and overwhelming inertia. This also applies to daily situations in life. We all need to be surrounded with the right people — be it your spouse, your parents, siblings, your business partner — to encourage us to walk on and remind us of our purpose.
H2Ography is honoured to have been part of this worthy cause. Being put through such challenge and discomfort developed in us a sense of gratitude for all the blessings bestowed upon us.
We have committed to take on the challenge every year as a means of paying it forward. We also hope this experience and the lessons we’ve imparted will inspire anyone reading this to break out of their comfort zones and serve others who are in need. One does not need to have plenty to be able to help others; everyone has the capacity to better the lives of others using their time, talent, and energy. These things can go a long way in improving the lives of those who are in need.