Congratulations to 23-year-old Kasia Szewczyk – this year’s recipient of the Bicycle Touring Pro Travel Scholarship and $500 USD to be used toward her upcoming bicycle tour!
More than fifty amazing young people from all around the world applied for this year’s BTP Travel Scholarship and of those fifty, twenty were selected as finalists. While I wish we had enough money to give out something to all twenty finalists, Kasia (who was born in Poland, raised in Canada, and is currently living in Bolivia) stood out amongst the pack for several different reasons:
First of all, Kasia was able to describe her goal in a short, succinct, and inspirational manner.
Starting on May 15th, 2012, Kasia will be riding a bicycle made of recycled parts, by herself, across mainland Europe, from Spain to Turkey – a distance of approximately 3,000 km or more. While traveling, Kasia hopes to raise $10,000 CAD for World Literacy Canada – an NGO that helps to establish literacy and skill-building programs in India.
While doing a bike tour for charity is definitely not a requirement for eligibility of the BTP Travel Scholarship, it certainly is commendable, and it shows that Kasia (like many of this year’s scholarship finalists) is thinking not just about herself, but has a deep desire to help people from all walks of life and in every corner of the world.
Another reason Kasia’s mission stood out is because she plans to participate in this long-distance endeavor by herself. While traveling solo is certainly not impossible, it is something that few young people choose to do. Many individuals, when faced with the choice of traveling alone or not going at all, will often times opt for the later.
Therefore, I think it is both brave and inspiring to see a young woman like Kasia take on such a long and potentially difficult challenge by herself. In the end, I think Kasia’s bicycle tour across Europe will be a motivational thing for other young women to see, as it may help them realize that solo world travel as a woman can not only be done, but that it can both safe, fun, and rewarding as well.
Finally, Kasia’s decision to ride across Europe on a bicycle made of recycled parts really made her stand out from the pack. As environmental and economic issues become more important topics of conversation in both our local societies and our world as a whole, it is interesting to see someone like Kasia take something as environmentally friendly as cycling, and push it even further by deciding to ride across Europe on a bicycle made of recycled parts.
As the recipient of this year’s Bicycle Touring Pro Travel Scholarship, Kasia will be receiving $500 USD to be used towards her bicycle ride across Europe. While Kasia may choose to have some or all of this money donated to the charity that she is choosing to represent, my hope is that Kasia will use this money to purchase (or at least pay for a small part of) her recycled bicycle.
Additionally, I hope that by being named as the recipient of this year’s BTP Travel Scholarship, Kasia will get the press and media attention that she hopes to receive in both Canada, Poland, and the various parts of the world that she intends to ride through on her bicycle tour. Hopefully the prestige from this small scholarship will help her get the media attention she’s going to need in order to reach her goal of raising $10,000 for literacy programs in India.
Thank you to everyone who made this year’s Bicycle Touring Pro Travel Scholarship a reality – those of you who donated to the scholarship fund, those who applied for the scholarship itself, and everyone here at BicycleTouringPro.com.
To learn more about Kasia, her bicycle tour across Europe, and her goal of raising $10,000 CAD for World Literacy Canada, be sure to visit her website at: ridetoread.wordpress.com. If you feel inclined to help Kasia on her mission, be sure to hit the donate button on her “About” page.
Congratulations Kasia… and we look forward to hearing about your bicycle tour from Spain to Turkey on your recycled bicycle!