A couple weeks ago Brad and I took a ride from Vancouver to Squamish with our bikes fully loaded as a trial run to get a feel for what the average day might be like on our six month venture. The view was absolutely stunning the entire way and for the most part the riding wasn’t too bad either. As we neared  the towering face of Stawamus Chief, where we set up camp, we were pleasantly surprised by the amount of downhill cruising that we were able to do. In fact, almost the entire last ten kilometres of the ride were downhill and we revelled in the feeling of the cool evening breeze and having our feet planted firmly and unmoving on the pedals as we coasted to our destination. However, upon arrival at ‘the Chief,’ we were both quick to acknowledge that the morning riding was going to be brutal because all those downhills would be gruelling ascents on our return. Needless to say we dreaded the thought of remounting our bikes in the morning.

We were not wrong. The morning was rough. With a tent, sleeping bags, cooking gear, and countless other items weighing us down, we moved slowly. With each hill looming ahead of us our hearts sank into a bit deeper despair and I found myself longing for flat ground so that I could rest my legs for even a moment.

Then I realized that my mindset was all wrong. Everyone has endured some form of hardship in life and we all know that it is in times of struggle and difficulty that we grow the most. It is in these times that, with the right mindset and support, we change and become more complete human beings. So why was I longing for the hills to end? Slowly but surely my mindset changed and I began to crave the inclines, seeing each one as a new obstacle to overcome.

Our mindset needs to change in regards to how we tackle human trafficking as well. We must accept that change is not going to take place immediately and that the process will be slow and excruciating.  We must look deeply into ourselves to determine how our personal experiences and interactions with culture have shaped our views of one another. It is out of this introspection and self-analysis that we are able to step out and be the most impactful. Both men and women must ask themselves: “How has culture influenced my view of myself and others?” I believe that, to an extent, we must all go through a process of rediscovering the value in ourselves and in others so that we can act out of true passion and conviction when we work to combat sex trafficking.

The process of change on a personal level and the vast global scale are both excruciating and do not take place overnight. But I hope that we can learn to revel in the painful and freeing process of learning to see the value in ourselves and others and living lives that seek to bring hope and freedom to everyone. It’s a huge hill to climb but I am ecstatic that we are taking the first steps (or pedals) together. Be willing to check yourself and then go change the world.

With much love and great anticipation,

Joel & Brad



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