This past summer, one of our students from ILSC-Melbourne, Adonai Vera, made the decision to cycle from Melbourne to Sydney, with the organization Steer North. The group of 12 rode over 1000km to raise money for cancer research. Initially, Ado was fundraising through events like salsa classes and ping-pong tournaments at ILSC-Melbourne, that is until the rest of the ILSC locations caught wind of this initiative and wanted in on the project. All nine ILSC locations around the world decided to host different fundraising events in order to help Ado raise his $3500 goal, and after just ONE week, Ado reached his goal!
Now that his incredible journey is complete, we spoke to Ado one last time to find out more about the ride, his experiences, what it felt like to finish, and what is next for him. Check out the interview and video recapping his entire remarkable adventure.
How did you prepare for this trip physically and mentally?
I rode my bike three times a week for an hour in Albert Park, which is a famous, beautiful park in Melbourne. When I was training, I usually rode around 30 km.
Being prepared mentally was the most important skill on my trip. I had to remind myself that if I think I can do it, then I could do it. I wrote on pieces of paper and put them on my walls, phrases like “Everything is in your mind,” “You can do it,” “Help,” “Contribute,” and “If you want to change the word, start to change yourself or start with small actions.”
Describe how you felt when you reached your goal of $3500?
It was truly the most amazing part of my life so far. I felt so proud that we did it. The first 2 hours after I found out, I was stunned because all happened so fast. I believe in fate and I think that everything happens for a reason, so that is why when we got the goal, I knew that I was doing the right things with the right people. I felt like I was part of a family and a team that supported me.
What was the hardest part of the entire journey? How did you deal with that?
I think the hardest part of my journey was saying goodbye to my team when it was all over. It’s true that your legs, arms, and body hurt, but when you are traveling with a team, that is the least important part. The hardest was when I had to say goodbye and know that it might be the last time that I will see my team, who became my family.
What was the best part? Why?
I had a hundred “wow” moments on my trip: breakfast, lunch, dinner, the rest between the rides, the community in the different towns, learning about the Australian culture, and most importantly, about each person of the team.
If I have to say a specific special moment, I would say when I arrive at Bronte Beach in Sydney and I saw all of the students, teachers, and staff of ILSC-Sydney. That was amazing.
What was the craziest part?
The craziest part was climbing all of the hills because you feel like your legs could not do anymore, but you just keep going and going and then when you get to the top, it’s the most incredible feeling – you start to know more about yourself.
Can you tell us about the type of people you met along the way?
We were 9 Australians, 1 Pakistani, and me. Every one of the team was different but all together we formed the perfect family. Each person contributed different visions, opinions, and goals about life.
What was traveling in a group like?
Travelling all together was the most amazing thing. I started to know more about each person because we went everywhere together. You start to know who snores, who sings in the shower, who spend 20 minutes in the bathroom, who eat a lot, and a hundred other qualities of each person.
What did it feel when you reached Sydney? What was going through your mind?
The exact moment when I arrived my mind was blank. I couldn’t believe that we had done it. We reached our goal; we traveled from Melbourne to Sydney and met amazing people during the trip. When I saw all the ILSC team, it was just perfect. 150 students, teachers, and staff of ILSC were waiting for me. I remember exactly the moment when someone said “thank you for showing me the importance of helping. Sometimes we just forget it, and that is the most important part of life.”
Right after I arrived, I thought, “Now what I’m going to do?” It is strange because you train 3 months for a journey and then when you finished it, you wonder what will be the next stop, the next project. The good thing was that after the trip, I already had planned to travel to Spain and that made me feel more excited for a new project and new people.
What would you say to someone thinking about doing a similar trip?
In life, you are going to have many opportunities, and the only thing stopping us is fear. I would like to say that if you take the risk, I know that you will enjoy more than if you did not. When I saw this opportunity, I first thought it was too difficult or too high of a goal, but then I would not have done this thing that changed my life. Take the risk, and try to enjoy each second or your life.
Can you explain your entire experience in one word? What would that be and why?
It would be two. Mental strength – During my trip I always said, the power of your mind is the most important thing because it can control everything. You have to believe in yourself, believe in fate, and always try to do or be the best person. Helping with small actions.
What is next for you?
My next step will be traveling to Spain, I have to finish my career, but I’d like travel more, know more about cultures, and I would like to keep doing things that will help more people through my career.