Todd: So Julia, I was looking at your website and I noticed that you did a bike trip in Cambodia.
Julia: Yes, that's right. I joined an organization called Pepi and we did a ride from Siem Reap to Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City.
Todd: Wow, that's pretty cool.
Julia: Thank you.
Todd: So how did you do this trip? Was it through some organization?
Julia: Well, actually it was a couple of friends of mine lived in the same town as me and it was their idea. They wanted to, they'd been to Cambodia, they wanted to go back and they wanted to do something somehow to help in some way. They recognized there was a problem with education in Cambodia, availability of education. They wanted to build a school so they went online and they found an organization through which they could, if they raised the funds, this organization would build a school for them and so we incorporated the bike ride as part of the fundraising and as part of the learning process. We wanted to actually go to Cambodia and see the country, as much of the country as possible.
Todd: So that's pretty cool. So first let's talk about the bike ride. What exactly were the details of the trip?
Julia: Well, it was, this ride has now become an annual event and obviously that was the first one so the details were a little sketchy in the beginning. We kind of were making it up as we went along. We planned for about a year in terms of preparation, physical training and planning the routes and raising the money and deciding where we'd stay, how long it'd take, all those kind of things. And we, actually we hired bikes from a company in Cambodia when we got there. They were mountain bikes. We had panniers, we actually got a company that sponsored us for those so we could carry stuff with us and we visited about seventeen organizations during the ride and other NGOs, other educational organizations, a few of the other schools that were part of the same project we also visited them and we took with us teaching materials because we did some English classes and some environmental awareness classes as we rode. So those organizations kind of were the pinpoints of where we stopped and stayed.
Todd: So for the bike ride you started in Phnom Penh?
Julia: We started in Siem Reap.
Todd: Siem Reap?
Julia: Which is near Angkor Wat which is near where the school was built.
Todd: And then from there you went to Phnom Penh?
Julia: We went, actually we set off from our school which is on a road that runs towards the Thai border in a very rural place. It was unpaved road, it was very bumpy and it was about a two hour drive north of Siem Reap. So from the school we headed down to Battambang which is the kind of third biggest city, not so famous, but it's a tourist destination and also a nice city, a very nice city and we followed around the lower edge of the Tonle Sap River, Lake sorry, and we did come into Phnom Penh. We spent a few nights in Phnom Penh. Then we headed down to the coast via a town called Kep and ended up at Sihanoukville which is one of the big coastal, it's a big tourist resort basically on the Cambodian coast. We stayed there a few nights then we looped back to Phnom Penh, spent another few nights in Phnom Penh and then we followed the Mekong River through the delta and across the border into Vietnam and into Ho Chi Minh City.
Todd: That's fantastic.
Julia: It's beautiful.