Will You Be My Human Powered Awesome Valentine?

Have you ever felt compelled to do something that quite frankly scares you a lot yet excites you at the same time?

I’m talking about doing something that takes you way out of your comfort zone, to prove that life is what you make of it, and your living small is serving no-one at all.

It’s something you do to remind yourself that you are a unique and significant part of this world, and that one tiny action you take can actually have a huge impact on someone else’s life.

I truly hope so, because that is what I call really living life. I’m not saying you should do it all the time otherwise you’ll find too many grey hairs on your head and perhaps a bank account that no longer supports your crazy adventurous lifestyle!

And did you know, when you step up and take on such an adventure, the Universe transpires to help you do it in ways that will amaze you.

Take for example my personal challenge to ride 4,000 miles (6,445km) from Nairobi, Kenya to Capetown, South Africa this March.

Natalie Sisson on her Human Powered Awesome ride in Africa

Natalie, her Jamis Dragon 29 and KP Athletic Wear Sponsored Gear

Where this crazy idea came from

The idea to take the ride of my life was planted in my head almost 6 years ago to the day that I am taking off to Nairobi.

I was on an incredibly slow `slowboat’ on the Mekong river in Laos. I was talking to a random Canadian stranger at the time (hi Jan) and since we had 8 hours to kill, we discussed almost everything in life.

During that time, he told me about this amazing bike tour called Tour d’Afrique in which riders could bike just under 12,000km from Cairo to Capetown. My instant reaction was `That is insane. I want to do it’.

Strike forward to present day and that’s exactly what I’m doing.

Where this ride will take me?

It’s safe to say this is by far and away the biggest challenge I’ve bitten off. Those of you have commented on my about page know I’ve won a BodySculpting competition, been a World Beach Ultimate Frisbee Champion and smashed a World Record dragon boating across the English Channel.

But these were all events I took several months to train for and took place over a day or a week. Not TWO MONTHS.

I can’t even fathom getting out of bed every morning at 5:30am or thereabouts, packing up my tent, eating a breaky provided by the tour and then climbing back on my bike to ride another 120-200km through Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.

At first I think this will be fun, by day 7 I think I will be sore, by day 14 I think my butt will consider leaving my body, by day 21 I think I might consider riding the rest of the route on the back of an elephant. Let’s not even consider the end of the first month shall we?

Why would you do this Natalie

Why the hell not? What sort of a Suitcase Entrepreneur would I be if I did not live up to my values of creating freedom in business and adventure in life.

Not only am I having to ensure my business runs for two months virtually without me, but I’m certainly taking this adventure thing to the limit.

So here’s where `the Universe transpiring to help you’ part comes in. I decided some time back, that in order to complete this tour, I needed to make this bigger than my own puny efforts. I needed to do this for a reason, for a cause that made cycling each day over unrelenting terrain, that much more purposeful.

I figured I had this bold and beautiful community of wonderful people who would push me along, and that I should use this online presence I’ve been lucky enough to build over the last few years for a great cause.

And so this is where this became a Human Powered Act of Awesome!

Once I decided that raising $10,000 for WomenWin.org – an organization on a mission to empower young girls to have the rights they deserve in life through sport, I was off and …well cycling.

The power of one is amplified by many

Nat in Human Powered Awesome t-shirt striking silly pose

It started with belief in this project by other people. Colin Wright stepped up to design the Human Powered Awesome logo including a suitcase and bike for me.

This then got transformed into fantastic American Apparel t-Shirts and tank tops thanks to Ben Leis at Sweat Equitees, who offered to donate 50% of proceeds to my cause.

Little by little this project took on momentum. I started approaching people I admired and who had klout and influence and asked them if they’d either:

a) Put out a blog post about it tied into Human Powered Awesome, or let me guest post for them

b) Offer up to shout out about it on Social Media or link to it

c) Buy a t-shirt and send in a photo, or do a short video and tell their community

d) Offer a percentage of sales of their cool products to the fundraising campaign – well you have to ask right? (PS you can do any one of these things to support too, just get in touch)

The four pillars of giving

I found out that when you ask, generally you shall be given. When you make this about something bigger than all of us, when you start making a difference and give young girls an opportunity to have a better life, beautiful things continue to happen.

One: Sponsors step forward and give generously

Two: Donations are made to buy soccer balls, uniforms or whole coaching programs

Three: People use the power of their voice to spread the word and,

Four: People who love to shop and feel good at the same time do just that.

How cool is that? Not one but FOUR ways to get involved.

Others interviewed me on why giving back is so important and then donated generously – thanks Marc. Amazing individuals like Liz offered to give half of her profits from Tighter in 10 Days Valentine’s Day sale to the cause – it’s still going and made $300 in just a few hours. And Janet gave a Valentine’s Day rant to show her support.

All of this has contributed to reaching 10% of my fundraising goal before starting this Valentine’s Day Campaign today (which lasts til the end of my trip in May in case you wondered).

You can get involved

To raise $10,000 means the world to me, to Astrid the founder of WomenWin and to the many young African girls whose lives this money will greatly enrich. Learn more in this special video below. Then definitely do get involved – I welcome your support in any way shape or form!

Oh yes and in case you missed it, here’s the brand spanking new site dedicated to Human Powered Awesome. http://suitcaseentrepreneur.com/the-ride-of-my-life/

Take some time to look around – it’s very cool (big ups to Leanne at Start Somehwere for the design and Bruno for the implementation).

If you have made it this far and don’t have time to look at the video or the links simply:

Click here to tweet out this message below right now in one click.

Want to make Natalie’s Valentine’s Day extra special? Visit Human Powered Awesome to support her epic bike ride mission http://bit.ly/sLCY8E

Comments

  1. says

    ace videos Natalie!! Really enjoyed watching. I have no doubt you’ll raise the $10,000 and then some. happy to be a part of it!!

  2. says

    Natalie- You’re an inspiration. I love how your seed idea blossomed into a full fledge project of doing, giving and being. I wish you all the best as continue your journey and ride!

  3. says

    Hey Natalie,
    Nice bit of humor in there!! Loved it.

    All the best for your campaign. February and March are the months for Taxes here in India. I won’t be able to support your cause.

    But the good news is that your trip will end by May i.e. the next financial year. I hope to come with my bit of support.

    Nice images!!

  4. says

    Rock on, Natalie!!

    I’m in! What you are doing – creating ways for girls to become what is truly possible…what a gift that is!

    Good luck…to you…and your butt!!!

  5. Erin Woods says

    Amazing goal, beautiful work. And take it from someone who has spent months in the saddle – you have it backwards! At first you will be sore, by day 14 your butt won’t know anything other than the saddle, by day 21 you will feel restless when you are NOT on the bike, and by the end of the month every day will be an absolute joy. Even when it’s not. Pack light, eat well, and don’t be afraid of a beer or a glass of wine.

  6. says

    Hi Natalie, I cycled to worlds, good friends w Patrick. Exciting trip! I’ll repost your message to the SF bay community. Love to learn more about your adventure.

  7. says

    You are such an inspiration. Will you be able to communicate with the outside world while you are on your bike tour? It would be cool to share your journey as it is happening.

  8. peter and gina sisson says

    You always have our support, lovely and outstanding daughter, Wishing you success and a not too challenging ride ! $’s to follow .

  9. Natalie says

    Love that advice Erin – thank you thank you. Was great to read and I’m sure you’re right, I will live to ride once I’ve gotten over the shock. Lance thank you – does that mean you donated? Mike Bruny – I damn well hope so, every 5-6 days we have a rest day when I will be running for the internet to post videos, update everyone and reconnect with my friends and loved ones. Phew thanks Mum and Dad – I knew I could count on my family to donate :)

  10. says

    You know that your adventure is right up my alley ;)

    I’m so excited & proud of your adventure & for commiting to help other women who haven’t had the sporting opportunities that you or I have.

    I am wearing my t-shirt with pride. Stay tuned for the pics & videos

    Best wishes for the rest of your preparation!

    Regards
    Jen

  11. says

    Hey Natalie

    Hats off to you for doing something so epic! Wow!

    We’ll definitely make a plan to support your cause en route!

    We also happen to live in Cape Town, so we’d love to invite you out to lunch or dinner (and help you out in any way we can) when you get here!

    Ang & Sporty ;-)

  12. says

    Hey Natalie,
    Yes, I have donated!! What a great program!! I know that sports have played a big part in my daughter’s life, and her confidence in herself. Great stuff!!

  13. Natalie says

    Hey Ang and Sporty – wohoo. I’m so taking you up on that offer and thanks so much for the support and donation :) I’ll send you an email

  14. says

    Looking forward to meeting you Natalie! Can you give us a ballpark idea of when you’ll be arriving? If you have the time then maybe we can take you on a little sightseeing as well! ;-)

  15. says

    hi Natalie, congrats on your fundraising; I’ll ride the Nairobi MBeya section too, I am supporting several projects active in Tanzania found on globalgiving.com;
    wish I had more time to really follow trhough with them!

  16. Natalie says

    Luca that’s awesome. Can’t wait to meet you. I’ll email so we can meet up and share stories! It’s certainly been a full time job doing the fundraising on top of the training and business that’s for sure

  17. John Stuart says

    This is truly awesome! I hope to raise funds to take my family of four to South Africa next year to see friends from Capetown and Joburg and to help make a difference. I have been to S.A. three times and said that I didn’t want to go back until I could truly make a difference. And now I am doubly inspired by you. I will get behind this and not so secretly wish I could join the ride too. What an adventure and such a good cause!

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