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To be completely honest with all of you, this year has been the toughest year of my life. I studied economics at the same time as I had 8 jobs and worked from 6 am to 2 am and slept for about 4 hours each night. I had the ambition to make the most of the year and to do my best. I did not have time to workout or sleep enough, I gained weight and felt more and more tied up. When  I was surrounded by this hectic life, the thing that gave me a feeling of freedom was knowing that me and my friend would do this biking trip and would not have to think about anything else for two months. However this changed rapidly as my friend got in a accident and was not going to be able to take part of this trip due to some injuries that would take time to heal. After that I was standing there alone with the decision to give up or to try to do this project on my own and I remember thinking that even if I was now alone on this project, would that be a reason to give up? The year I had behind me had every reason to tell me that I could not make through even the first day of this journey. I did not want to believe that I could make it, but I was  once again about to show myself that I was capable of more than I thought. 

Then the time was here, the first day started, i struggled like never before, I had blisters, my knees were hurting and all I wanted to do was to give up, to end the project and to end the pain. However I continued, one day at a time and got even worse blisters that I ignored. I biked alone in the woods and ignored my fear of being alone and my fear of running into different animals. I made the decision to ignore all the negative thoughts and feelings that I had in my mind and tried to be positive. I reached new destinations each day, I experienced new feelings, new thoughts, new people and new places and I felt completely free. I felt like I really was capable of doing this, like me and my bike was the only thing I had to care about. Day after day I listened to my favourite music and saw the ocean on my right side and experienced feelings I never thought I could and I saw places I never thought existed. Although being a person who never shows emotions, during this journey something has changed. I am no longer afraid of showing how I feel because I know that everything would get easier when doing so. I learned that negative thinking would not take me forward. 

I thought I could make it all the way, until my luck turned and a bacteria entered my body. When I got sick the first day I thought that it was terrible, I thought that I am going to miss a whole week of biking, but who thought it would end up being 3 weeks, who thought it would end up to end this fantastic journey and all the fantastic feelings that I thought I could experience for two more weeks? It ended up to make me take the toughest decisions that I have ever made so far. You know the feeling when you say to yourself that you are going to listen to your gut feel and that gut feel has two different opinions. One minute you want to continue no matter what the doctors say and the other minute you think that you really should not risk your health. I cried several times and for several days just by the thought of giving up on this project. It took me weeks before actually making the decision to be happy with what I have achieved so far and to end the biking in Sölvesborg. It is hard to end something when the driving force for your project has been the feeling of reaching the destination. To end something after that you have biked for 3 100 kilometers, collected over 70 000 to Barncancerfonden and completed 3/4 of your goal. To not reach the destination.

However visiting the hospital for two times, being sick for 3 weeks and the words from the doctor that I need to have at least one month rest after these weeks of sickness, made me think about my health. The doctors said that if the medicine I got would not have worked, there is no other medicine that my body can get, due to my deadly allergy to penicillin. They told me that most likely it was a bacteria that attacked my body, but due to the risk of hurting my heart, I should not continue. It is hard to give up something that you know you could have done, if not a bacteria would have attacked the body. To know that something you have been planning for for several months and offered so much time as well as money would end today. It is hard and what makes it even harder is that it was a decision that worked against my own personality of being a stubborn person who never gives up on things. Several times I fed my mind with thoughts like “If kids get sick and get cancer, do they just stop fighting Meiju?!” and these thoughts only made the decision harder as the obvious  answer is no. 

Although I know that there are several people saying that I made the right decision and that I should be happy for what I have overcome so far, it is hard. There are so many hours behind this project that I have gone through with using the simple thought that it will all be worth it in the end, that all the tears and all the pain as well as the joy and the people that I have met during my journey will blend into this fantastic mix of happiness when bicycling the last day to Umeå. Unfortunately this was the end of this project and I have needed to learn how to give up on things, how to listen to your body and how to know when enough is enough. Today I have to go towards the next challenge with the simple thought that if I had not gotten sick I would have finished this journey and with the simple trust that it is never too late to try again.

What I have learned is that it is important to live in this moment, to embrace it all and to understand that we only live once and we are here to achieve our own dreams how unrealistic these dreams might be. Today I will go to bed with the thought of the next project and the next chance to do something big for this worlds, to make a change. I have also learned that my driving force is, the simple want to reach higher, to make a bigger change and to challenge myself as well as achieve my dreams, one day at a time.

Fortunately even if my journey for this time is over the collection of money will continue until the end of september and my hope for closing this project is that we together can reach 100 000 SEK, which means that there is about 30 000 SEK left to reach that goal. As I said kids with cancer never get the choice to stop fighting and this is something that is above all meaning, these kids only want to get the chance to continue fighting even in the future, help me give them this chance, because this is something that we can do something about. 

Thank you everyone for following my journey and hopefully you want to take part of my past as well as my future projects that you can find at 

www.facebook.com/meijuvartiainen


Please help me reach 100 000 SEK and to give these kids the chance to live their dream.

Barncancerfonden

https://www.barncancerfonden.se/1309395735/

Swish:

072 55 076 51


Best regards,

Meiju Vartiainen

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Hi guys! 

I haven't written that many blogposts during this trip because of the simple reason that I haven't had enough energy to do that as well as the difficulties that I have had in processing this journey in my mind. Every day I have the kind of feeling that you get when you have been travelling for a while and then get back home and it felt like it all was a long dream, like it never happened. It simply is too much information, feelings and memories to process in such a short time. 

It is hard to describe to people how I feel and how hard it is and I know that I won't be able to do that, not to the extent as to how hard it actually is. I remember when I was planning this trip and I said "Well I will bike it in 36 days, no rest days, should be easy, everyone can bike around Sweden" Now I am on day 41 and with a totally new mindset! Everything always seems easy in the beginning, until life teaches you how it really is, until you put words into action. It sure is true that if something doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you. This trip has changed me in so many ways, I have gained respect for people doing this type of challenges and for the people who every day struggle with different kind of problems and challenges. One thing I am today totally sure about is that challenges only make people stronger, because even if I feel like crying every day I still bike with a smile on my face knowing that I had the luck to be able to do this, to have the chance to complete this challenge.

I know that there are a lot of people thinking about taking upon a challenge, maybe you are too scared, maybe someone told you you can't do it, maybe you are limited in other ways. During my life I have several times heard people say "You can't do that, you are too young" or "That is impossible, you are so naive" and every time I have ignored these comments and done my best and every time I have learned something new. Push away those negative thoughts and people and remember that the only person who needs to believe in you is you. 

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Hi guys! A lot has been happening the past days; preparations, telephone calls, discussions, new meetings and fantastic messages has been sent to me. I have realised that everyone can contribute in one way or another.

I met this fantastic artist Caroline Nyström (http://www.artofcaroline.com) who creates fantastic pantings and who told me that she wanted to contribute by organising an event where she will sell her paintings and donate 50 % of the earned money to this charity project. Fantastic in my opinion! Caroline really shows that everyone can use the talent that they have to contribute in a bigger matter, to make a change. This week on Saturday 18/6 you can come by at the event in Umeå 12.00-16.00 at Sliperiet. You can also find more information at www.facebook.com/activatesweden or https://www.facebook.com/events/222648948119465/. Caroline told me that she wanted to use the talent that she has to contribute and make a change and this is what every painting made by Caroline symbolises. Talent that creates change. I see Caroline and her art as a true source of inspiration for all of us!


Today is also the day that the project received the highest private donation so far from Maria and Greger Hällgren from Piteå, who sent us this message illustrating why they wanted to contribute:

"If we would go out to eat a meal for two with food and drinks, it's the same money. Now we offer this money in memory for those we cannot reach anymore, in memory of our lost friends and family. We like many others, unfortunately have Family, Friends and colleagues who have been or are in the midst of treatments of cancer. So yesterday's call as to whether to help with accommodation for this project was a " kick in the stomach ". so to speak. This is why we want to contribute."



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Hello everyone! :) Hope you all had a great weekend. 

As some of you might know one of the challenges with this project is to get as many to bike with me as possible. To find more information about this please go to the Facebook page and find the events for each city www.facebook.com/activatesweden . 

Another challenge is that I am going  to try to rely on peoples hospitality. In other words I aim to find sleeping places and I hope that you want to host me for one night! If you or someone you know have the possibility to host me for one night please contact me through the Facebook page linked above. 

Now I have the possibility to release the actual plan for the project regarding cities, see the picture below! :)


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Don't you agree with me? Kids are the best persons to provide you with an honest view of the world.

A couple of days ago I was babysitting some amazing kids and we went biking and talked about my bike project, when the youngest one in the age of four years commented;

"Why are you biking that far? Isn't it way too tough and way too hard? Why don't you take the bus or the car instead? Although you will experience a lot, maybe meet kids like us? It could be a great adventure!"

You just got to love kids! This is the way they see the world; problems, difficulties, but nothing that is impossible to overcome. They have this view of a world that is just amazing. As if challenges never are challenges big enough and you can never experience too many adventures. I think that we all have a lot to learn from kids.

Let us think like kids, let us take upon challenges that we are way too afraid of and instead see these as adventures. Why not simply be honest, like kids, and say that challenges are hard, but at the same time it can be an adventure that will shape us?

Think like kids - be adventurous!


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Hope you all had a great Monday! :)

My day consisted of writing on my thesis and daydreaming about the bike trip! Really looking forward to it! Fortunately I got to end the day with a bike workout with one of my best friends, who also is my thesis partner!

This week I am going to start planning the route around Sweden better and I will post all the events for each city/town that I will visit. Further as I described before, one of the challenges with this project is to see if I can make my whole way around Sweden with the help of the hospitality of people. Therefore I will try to stay at different persons homes during may journey and for this I will post a list where you can write your name, if you want to host me in your city! :) I hope to meet you during my trip and to hear all about the challenges you are about to address!

I wish you all have a great week and even if you have a lot to do, remember to enjoy the weather! :)


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Hi guys! :)

Yesterday i received some equipment from TREK and Bontrager consisting of amongst others a pair of biking shoes and a helmet, all of which suited me very well and felt very comfortable. It is important to have good equipment when doing something like this. Of course a person would be able to bike around Sweden with less good equipment too, but it is important that the equipment you are using feels good so that you minimize the risk of injuries and especially blisters.

Once I went for a pretty long bike journey with my friend Erika. It was a journey of about 1 000 kilometers and I told her that I didn't want to use the kind of shorts especially made for biking. At the end of that day I had the worst blisters ever and after that I have never went for a longer bike trip without using good shorts especially made for biking! So I learned my lesson and this time I will try to use good equipment for minimizing the risk of experiencing this again.

I hope you all have a great day, enjoy the sun out there! :)


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Hope you all had a great weekend! I have spent some time trying out the bike and it really is perfect and will definitely be a big help during the journey! :)

Tomorrow it is time for a new week and a great opportunity to push the project forward and also a great opportunity to set some new goals and take upon some challenges, are you with me? During the upcoming week I will meet with two great companies and see if they can help me in the process of collecting money to Barncancerfonden and also to be a part of the process in motivating and inspiring everyone to challenge themselves.

Planned for the next week is also a telephone call with the operation manager at Barncancerfonden with the hope of a co-operation that will support the project to new heights! I will update you on this later. 

I wish you all a great week, take care! :)


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Hello guys! Let me give you an update! :)

Yesterday I went to Luleå to get the bike that will take me around Sweden! I chose a Trek 520 disc that falls under the category Touring bike. The bike is a classic touring bike in steel, It is tuned for maximum comfort, stability and reliability and should work very well for this type of distances! I will give you a review later. It also seem to have longer chain stays, longer wheelbase and a lower center of gravity that should give the best stability, even with a fully loaded bike, which is good because I have a habit of packing too much stuff with me, although I will try to minimize the load for this trip! :)

Further I have been meeting some companies with the hope to get donations and I have good connections with some companies so let us hope for the best! If you or someone you know want to donate and support this project or if you guys have any other suggestions of cooperations etc. please feel free to contact me! :)

Tomorrow I will try the bike for the first time, I will give you a heads up how it felt! :)

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