Bhutan to Nepal on a cycle
It started with a late night scroll through Instagram: #Bhutan. Endless shots, some poorly taken, some perfectly capturing the ethereal beauty the kingdom possesses, and then a picture of a man with a cycle, at what seemed to be a foothill of a cliff— #bmxfornepal. I have been writing about Bhutan for several weeks now, and Nepal, having been part of my childhood has a very special place in my heart, so, I needed to know what the connection was. Thus, like any other Instagramer, I cyber-stalked the hashtag, #bmxfornepal, a hashtag used by the South African photographer, Dylan Ben Haskin. After googling him, in a non-creepy way if I may add, I sent him a message on Facebook, to which he graciously replied.
Dylan and his wife have been living in Bhutan for about eleven months now. Driven by a desire to do some philanthropic work, he and his wife, moved to the beautiful landlocked away in the Himalayas. While his wife serves as a teacher, Dylan spends his time freelancing and doing voluntary photography work for the local community. Then the destructive earthquake hit Nepal and shock waves were also felt in their home; this is how #bmxfornepal was born.
The destruction caused by the earthquake was all over the news and social media, individuals and organizations came together to help in every way, or anyway, they could. Likewise, Dylan wanted to do something to help out the people of Nepal. “I had done it [cycling for a cause] before, for a day… so I thought, why not apply the same concept to this [bmx for Nepal]” he said. It wasn’t an easy journey, cycling through mountains or plains. As a matter of fact, he explained that plains were tougher because of the cycle he was using. He was joined by his father, Ben Swanepoel, and together they cycled for 24 days, 1,674 kms, across three countries! They have raised $840 NZD, as of today, and these will go to the Himalayan’s Trust’s Earthquake relief efforts. Maybe there’s something we all can do, right?
Let me be honest with you, this article was originally supposed to be about the ‘beautiful Bhutan’. It was the direction I had planned for this piece, but as my skype conversation with Dylan progressed, I realized that this cannot be just about the physical beauty of one country. This blog post I am sharing with you today needs to be about a journey, a journey with a purpose and the beauty of one or two countries are secondary. However, if you want to see pictures of Bhutan, go follow Dylan on Instagram @dylanhaskin, he has some amazing pictures that will make you plan a trip right now!