Monday, September 28, 2009

An amazing event

On November 19th, 2007 I set off on an around the world trip. The plan was to visit South East Asia, India, Africa, Europe and South America over a stretch of 10 months. On Saturday, April 25th, 2009 (17 months later) I finally made my way back to San Francisco, CA. Instead of stepping off a plane at San Francisco international Airport I came back on a Raleigh 300 cross country touring bike via Panama City, Panama.

My 17 month around the world experience was a life changing experience. My travelling mantra of "try anything, do everything and challenges are only opportunities" changed the way in which I see the world. Along my travelers I met many different people from all places on this beautiful planet. Before I came home I wanted to do something to give back to these amazing people and to this beautiful world. So...I decided to ride a bike from Panama City, Panama to San Francisco, CA. I did this to raise awareness and funds for children living in poverty in Central America. Specifically, the goal was to raise $15,000 for a school construction project in a small community 3 hours north of Guatemala City. I worked with an amazing organization Plan USA. Combined with Plan USA and supporters from back home in San Francisco we created The Last Hill Before Home. A grassroots all volunteer project aimed to create solutions for children living in poverty in Central America.

I got back to San Francisco on April 25th, 2009. By the time I rolled across the Golden Gate bridge the Last Hill Project had raised $11,000! Not bad especially considering the economic time that we live in today.

To raise the remaining $4,000 we decided to throw one last fundraiser. The Last Hill project decided to turn its attention to a one day special photography exhibit benefit and auction. For the fundraiser, I would gather together 6 other photographers that I met on my trip around the world. Bringing together these photographers was a challenge in and of itself but the hard work paid off. When all the photographers were picked I had a collection of 7 photographers with 7 photographs. Each photograph told a unique story about travel and culture. These photographs became the backbone of the "7 Views" photography exhibit. In addition, we were lucky enough to get 111 Minna Art gallery in downtown San Francisco to host the event. On top of that, San Francisco's local emcee Orukusaki provided an amazing line up of entertainment. from there, the Last Hill's very own Michael Ward presented a poetry reading and another artist Michael Peterson donated an amazing original piece of art. the stage was set for an amazing day.

About 150-200 people from the local San Francisco community rolled out to the event. The photographs were amazing and inspiring, the music was entertaining, the poem was moving, the painting was breath taking and the crowd was supportive. Everyone came together to and talked about giving and helping and in the end the last remaining funds were raised for the school construction project in Jalapa. With the funds the 400+ children of Jalapa, Guatemala will be able to have a clean and safe place to be educated. For the first time there will be enough space to open up high school classes. And maybe, eventually, these kids will be able to attend college.

Thank you to everyone who came out to the event. It was a spectacular time!

Peace, Power and Pedal


Photo's for sale - Help the children of Guatemala

Chennai, India
Wandering through the slums
Rishi Oswal
Sliding Across The Sky
Valle de la Luna, Atacama Desert
Trekking through the Atacama Desert in the Spring of 2008.
San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
Aaron Zukoski
Tel Aviv, Israel
This was one of a series of spectacular sunsets that I witnessed during my stay in Tel Aviv, Israel. On this day the sky had a pink purple tint and horizon was clear except for this one sail boat.
Wei Hu
Every satsang and puja ends with a ceremony know as 'arati'. A flame, symbolizing the light of knowledge, is waved before images of the deities and teachers while mantras are chanted. Likewise the ego vanishes without a trace when incinerated by the dawning of knowledge.
Rishi Oswal
St Louis Arch, Missouri
Joshua Rapp
OK Pilot
Brian kelleher
Wilhelm Scream
Brian Kelleher
“The Fight”
Carson Pass Trail, Sierra Nevada Mountains
Joshua Rapp
“Keeping Time”
Astronomical Clock, Prague
Joshua Rapp

Brian kelleher
Neyar Dam, India
Morning Sunrise past the clear lake against the backdrop of the mountains.
Rishi Oswal
Indian Smiles, Yukson to Tashiding
Sikkim, India
We were walking between the small rural villages of Yuksom and Tashiding when this Ute of four children went past.
Sakes Alive
Brian Kelleher
Mamallapuram, India
Walking under rock formations
Rishi Oswal
West Coast
South Island, New Zealand
This was the first freelance commercial work I had done and the first helicopter flight I had been on. When we’d come to the coast I whipped around and took a few quick snaps of the coast line, it looked amazing.
Lisa Howard
12.5x18 $45
Sliding Across The Sky
Valle de la Luna, Atacama Desert
Trekking through the Atacama Desert in the Spring of 2008.
San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
Aaron Zukoski


Thank you to those of you who made it out to the "7 Views" Photography exhibit benefit and auction at 111 Minna on September 19th. Our community came together to view some inspiring photos from around the world and to raise money and support for a school construction project in Jalapa, Guatemala. In total, about 150-200 people came to the event in San Francisco and with your help we hit our goal of $15,000. The construction is already in progress in Gautemala and in a short time the community will have 2 new classrooms to house 400+ children and to bring much needed education to the community.

A few people have expressed interest in purchasing one of the remaining photos from the event. Above are the photos from the event that did not sell. I have also attached a discounted price to the photo. If you would like to make a contribution to the children of Guatemala via Plan USA you can do it today. Please email me if you would like to purchase one of the remaining photos. All donations are safe and secure and will go towards the school project in Guatemala. I can be reached by email and my address is below.

Thank you again to all that came out in support.



I can deliever the photo to you directly if you live in the Bay Area. If not I will have to ship. Price does no incuding shipping.

Mike's Poem

My great buddy Michael Ward and I at our fundraiser for the Last Hill Before Home at Le Scorpion in Los Angeles.

For those of you who missed it...Below is Mike's poem that he read at the "7 Views" photography exhibit benefit and auction at 111 Minna in San Francisco on Saturday, September 19th. His poem was inspired by two things. One, he wrote the poem as a if he were me. He got the content from stories that we shared as we rode our bikes from Panama City, Panama to the border of Costa Rica. It was an amazing 2 weeks that we spent together and a time that I will never forget. Two, he got inspiration from the photo above. The photo above I took while walking across Spain on the Camino de Santigo. It is one of my faviorte photos from my journey and this poem was inspired by that. The trip and this fundraiser has been a life changing experience for that I will never forget. Hewas able to put this amazing story to life through his poem.
Mike...Thank you so much for the poem and having the courage to stand up in front of a room full of strangers to deliever it. It was an amazing thing to do. Much love...

Born as a simple thought in my mind
A fantasy to leave the daily grind
I poured my energy into this thought
Becoming detached from things I’d bought
Life is not about the big tv
Or these thousand count sheets
So much more for me to see
Beyond these crowded streets
So strong was this thought
It eventually became real
I sold off most possessions
I listened to what I feel
With no idea what I was going to find
I knew I had to leave it all behind
Setting out into the great unknown
How can I describe all the things I’ve been shown?
I walked the world for over a year
Through many lessons
it became very clear
The trip was the beginning
Rather than an end
From all corners of the world
I made many a friend
The places the people
Each playing a part
Teaching me in life
You must follow your heart
I realized that no matter
Where my shadow may fall
That I am
We Are
A part of it all.
With one world
One people
One sky up above
In spite of our differences
We share One Love
Little by little
I began to see
The trip was about more
Than just me
It played in my head
Like the words of a song
“give back to that which I belong”
Scary and crazy it would seem
But I felt my calling,
It became my dream
My vision was born
In piece and bit
When it came together
I knew this was it
All of my travels
Brought me here
At a moment in time
It all became clear
Many of days
My shadow stretched long
Each step I took
Was a verse to this song
It took the world
For me to roam
So together
We could climb
The Last Hill Before Home!

Peace, Power and Pedal

The photo exhibit

It's been a while since the last post. And there is a good reason for that...busy...busy...busy for the "7 Views" photography benefit and exhibit.

Where do I start? Lets start with the week before the exhibit.

The week leading up to the exhibit was probably one of the busiest weeks of my life. First off....thank you to Brian and Casie for all the help and support that week. Without the two of you I certainly would not have been able to get everything together.

The Monday before the exhibit I started a new job. That's another story for another blog. In short...I'm with an awesome company called Trulia. they are an online real estate search engine. An awesome company with great vision. They help people find homes and help real estate professionals connect with those buyers. I started work on Monday and with that I was back in the great American workforce. So, my days, were filled with dot com stuff and at night I was busy working with Brian and Casie on the event. All of the small things started to catch up with us like cutting cardboard backs for the pictures and inserting them into sleeves. It was all busy work but in the end the photos looked amazing, the programs were ready to go and the show was finally here. It was all a lot of 2am nights but it was well worth the work.

111 Minna, in downtown San Francisco, is the perfect place to throw a fundraiser, especially one that has an artistic element. The event space was perfect! Alfredo was working hard on the entertainment and his band's came through! The music was a great element to the party. Mike's poem was also such a great add to the party. His poem drew in a large round of applause and one of his friends even bought the photo that inspired the poem. Mike's friend, Mike, had his painting on display. It was also an artistic interpretation of the entire ride from Panama to San Francisco. I attached the photo above. The painting was auctioned off for $200 with the money going to the school in Jalapa.

Brian and I got to 111 Minna at 8am. It was fun setting up the photos for the show. Probably one of the coolest stories from that day came at 9am on Saturday morning. Michelle, the event planner for 111 Minna, noticed one of the photos. While she was looking at the photo she got on the phone to her sister. The photo is by Brian Kelleher and is of the punk rock band NOFX. Apparently, Michelle's sister is married to one of the guys in the band. On top of that....the guy in the picture is Michelle's brother in law! Brian took the picture of NOFX in a small bar back east. Its an awesome photo! What a great way to start off the event! Michelle called her sister and she came down to the event with some friends and put a $80 bid on the photo...and won it! Brian if you are reading might like to know that your freaking awesome picture of the lead singer of NOFX is comfortably chilling at his condo in the SOMA district of San Francisco! hahahah!

All in all the event was an absolute success. About 150 to 200 people came through the doors at 111 Minna. The music was fantastic, the photos looked professional and everyone was in great spirits at the event. We raised around $3,000 in total and with that we hit our goal of $15,000. The IF which is the young professional club of the World Affair Forum co-sponsored the event and brought a large group of people. Poem's were read, stories were told but most importantly awareness was raised for children in need of help and a school is going to be built in Jalapa, Guatemala.

Plan's Regional Development Director, Kristina Miletic, also came out to the event to pass out a few flyers and meet some of the attendees at the event. She is a total trooper because she flew in that morning and had to fly out that night for an engagement. She brought down a ton of information on Plan and we were able to pass it out to the people that came threw the door.
There are a million thank you's to give out but I think I may save that for one special long thank you blog. but...for all those that helped make this event successful THANK YOU!!!!!!
Peace, Power and Pedal

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Entertainment for the Event at 111 Minna on Saturday, September 19th from noon to 6pm

Here's the lineup...

Sat Sept. 19th 12pm - 6pm

12:00pm - 1:45pm - (D.J.s)

1:45pm -1:55pm - OrukusaKi

1:55- 2:10pm - Cio Castenada

2:10pm - 2:25pm - Amy Serrata

2:25pm 2:30pm (band setup/DJ)

2:30pm - 2:55pm - Sarah Jaye

2:55pm-3:00pm(band setup/ DJ)

3:00pm - 3:45 pm Panthellion

3:45pm - 4:00pm (D.J.'s)

4:00pm - 4:45pm - Davu Flint

4:45pm - 5:00pm Plan USA / Aaron Z [speach]

(announce silent art auction ends 5:15pm)

5:00pm - 6:00pm D.J.'s

event ends at 6pm sharp

(artist sites)