Jakarta or Bust
In 2012 I found a partner for a 1000 mile “race” across South East Asia, raising awareness and ~$25k for the environmental charity Birdlife International and humanitarian charity Action Against Hunger.
The ASEAN Rickshaw Run — put on by the crazy folks at The Adventurists — started in on the island of Ko Lanta off the coast of the Krabi region of Thailand, traced down through Malaysia to Georgetown. Across the busy Straight of Malaka to the infamous city of Medan, in remote Sumatra, Indonesia. Over and through the endless farmlands and dense jungles of Sumatra. Ending with a quick ferry skip to Java, and in to Jakarta. Culminating with a ceremony at the ASEAN Secretariat.
Oh, and the racecar? An auto rickshaw. 🛺 The three-wheeled urban taxi scooter most common in India (called “autos”), Thailand (“tuk tuk”), and Jakarta (“bajaj”). This two-stroke little guy requires daily maintenance for short trips on asphault, so there’s no getting from point A to point B without the help of the locals. You didn’t win the race by getting to the finish line first; you won by getting there at all. Then the real competition began: who had the best story.
Our racing crew was just myself and a fellow seasoned traveler, but our team included many friends, volunteers, artists, and donors.
We organized an online art auction with work from some 25 prominent artists in the LA scene and beyond. We raised £4,444 in direct donations via JustGiving, and over $22k through the eBay art auction.
We attempted to keep a blog, and update our followers with our whereabouts. We wanted to take as many people along for the ride as possible — this was our promise in exchange for everyone supporting our selected charities. For the most part we succeeded, and we did our best, but there were several days with no signal or no power.
Metro TV is like the CNN of South East Asia. Once we reached Sumatra, in Indonesia, they decided to send a news crew to follow the second half of our journey to Jakarta.
I cringe endlessly watching this video, but it’s a sweet memory.