Monday, April 27, 2009

The Last Hill Before Home video


video

I had an opportunity...so I took it...

Back in September of 2007 life was running along at its usual pace. I was the Director of Sales for a boutique Real Estate Finance firm in downtown San Francisco. I had an amazing apartment full of nice stuff in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood with a killer sweeping view of the city by the bay. I had the nice German car in the garage. And since I had been living in San Francisco for the past 10 years I had the city figured out. Life was great but at the same time I was looking for something more. I was looking to expand the way I saw the world. I was looking to travel. My dream for the past 5 years was to give it all up and travel the world.

The economic crash was on the horizon and the real estate industry was already starting to tank. Our company had to lay off some employees and from there my business partner and I started to question our careers in the real estate industry. Eventually we closed up and I was left with one question..."what now?" With nothing really holding me down I realized that I had the opportunity that I was looking for. I had the opportunity to pursue my dream of taking the year off and travelling the world.

On November 19, 2007, my best friend Davy and his sister Krissy dropped me off at San Francisco International Airport. All I had on me were two backpacks and an around the world plane ticket. The plan was to travel to South East Asia, India, Eastern Europe, North Africa and eventually South America. I was scheduled to get back home to San Francisco 9 months later. Well....a year and a half later I arrived back in San Francisco crossing the Golden Golden Gate Bridge on a bike. Its truly funny how some things work out.

Along my travels I had an amazing time. I met people from all over the world. I joking say these days that I could do the whole trip again but this time Ill have a couch to crash on wherever I go. I ate exotic food from grasshoppers in Thailand to goat head in Morocco. I saw some amazing sights like the Pyramids in Egypt or Iguazu falls in Argentina. I lived in Barcelona, I studied yoga in an ashram in India, I walked across Spain on the pilgrims trail and I studied Spanish in Santiago de Chile. I made the most out of my time.

People often ask me..."do you feel like you changed"? I can honestly say yes. Along my travels I saw many things that affected the way I look at the world. I came face to face with the challenges and hardships that countries face. I saw the ugly side of pollution, poverty and homelessness. One specific example, I remember, in Mumbai I saw a women begging for money with one hand while clutching her dying baby with the other.

Before I returned home I wanted to do something. I wanted to give back. When I experienced that horrible sight in Mumbai I felt helpless. I really didn't know what to do. So finally while I was living in Santiago de Chile, around the same time that Barack Obama was filling the international airwaves with rhetoric of change and peace, I decided to do something about it. I decided to create. I decided to DO. I decided to create a grassroots charitable fundraiser that was aimed to bring awareness and funds to children living in poverty. I decided to do an inspirational event that would bring attention to the cause. I decided to ride my bike 3,500 miles across 8 countries to bring the stories of the children to conscious of the public. I worked with an amazing non profit organization, Plan USA (www.planusa.org), and with their leadership and guidance I was able to make this dream become a reality.

On April 25th, 2009 I crossed the Golden Gate bridge on a bike. It was a long journey, an amazing journey and this blog has been the story of that ride. Crossing the Golden Gate bridge with friends and family cheering me on was a day that Ill never forget.

As of right now the unofficial total that we have raised is about $11,000. Were raising this money so that we can give the gift of education to a small community of children in a town about 3 hours drive from Guatemala City. I rode my bike from Panama to San Francisco because I love adventure, I rode my bike through the jungles of Central America because I love the great outdoors, I rode my bike through the wind, rain and desert because I wanted to get peoples attention so that I could tell them about the struggle and challenges that people living in poverty face today.

This video above is the story of my life from the past year and a half. This video above was a gift given to me and the Last Hill project as a chronicle of the adventures. This video was probably one of the best gifts I have ever received. For this I have to thank one of my best friends James G. James put countless hours into the video. If you watch closely you can even see that the lyrics match the photos. James was so dedicated to this project that he even spent his Saturday afternoon, the same Saturday when I rolled over the Golden Gate, to put the final touches on the video. James works as a writer/editor for CBS TV in LA. One thing that is truly amazing is that this project is bringing together people that are using their professional skills to contribute to an amazing cause. James...I don't know how to say this or how to ever repay you but...thank you my friend...thank you.

I hope you all enjoy the video...

Peace, Power and Pedal

Aaron

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Aaron!
I was in SF last weekend and was invited to your fundraiser event at the Atmosphere Lounge and learned about who you are and what you are doing.

I am sure you have already been in touch, but Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, has spent many years building schools for girls in Pakistan. He might be able to impart some financial/political advise to you and your endeavor!
Best of luck!