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a project to Overcome Fear

The decision to cycle is two-fold:
We had to pick up cycling because we were going to support Luo Papa in fulfilling his dream; and his dream was to complete a round Taiwan cycling trip to all the train stations.

When we decided to go “around the world”, cycling as the mode of transport was the obvious choice for us because firstly, it the most affordable option. But more so, “The bicycle lets my heart take me where I need to go, for however long I need to take; there’s no need to accomodate fixed bus routes, fixed train routes, or rush around meeting bus/train schedules.”

Val’s thoughts

The irony – I was the one who volunteered to accompany Luo Papa to fulfil his dream, and I was also the one who came up with the romantically irresistable reason of “letting the bicycle take us where the heart needs to go”; all this while acutely aware of my phobia of those two wheelers.

I couldn’t help it.

Luo Papa‘s spirit in chasing his dream was so strong, so infectious I couldn’t help but be moved. I couldn’t help letting my heart take over my head. And in that moment, I volunteered without even stopping to think.

And the part about the bicycle letting my heart takes me where I need to go is true, too. It was, and still is, the way I feel about cycling. I remember the weekend cycling trips with my Dad when I was a kid; he’d let me take the lead, and I could go explore different areas of the park with him. I remember the carefree feeling of having the wind in my hair and sun on my face.

Yet these days, whenever I mount a bike, I remember the moment when I “flew” from my bike while racing my Dad – the moment when I was in mid air, and the world was slow-mo-ing past me; I was overwhelemed with the fear of not knowing when you’d land on the floor, and not knowing if you’d still be alive when you do land. I survived the fall with a broken arm, and my Dad banned me from cycling since.

Physically, I was up and running in a couple of months. But I never really got up, really. My arm wasn’t the only thing the fall crushed.

I’m sure my Dad had the best intentions for me when he banned me from cycling. But the idea of once you fall, there’s no second chance was indirectly imprinted in my young and impressionable mind.

It’s funny, how almost 20 years later, I get my second chance… from myself. And writing this myself, I realised it’s me, and not my Dad who needs to have the faith in me to get up and try again. And knowing this in my heart, whatever that was imprinted in my mind seems less fearsome.

Tay’s thoughts

Though cycling around the world is a challenge in itself, the greatest challenge of this whole project for me, is not so much about cycling. Its really about having the camera turn around to face myself, about having to shoot the real me behind the scenes. Having been a TV producer for almost 8 years now, I remember always telling my profiles to be comfortable before the interview starts.

“Don’t worry. I will not ask you questions you do not know how to answer. It’s your life remember, how can I know more than you do?” That is what I would tell them. But these days when it’s my turn to face the camera, I blank out. I get vulnerable and my mind goes into hibernation. Every video you have seen so far was done after throwing away a whole afternoon’s shoot and then re-doing it with numerous, countless takes.

I am my worst critique, “Why did I pronounce that word wrongly? The smile wasn’t genuine enough. Why did I look away? Why was there such a long pause in the middle…” It’s an endless list of ‘not good enoughs’.

Yet, when I stop thinking, and start feeling; I am able to speak from my heart. The words just flowed, the laughter just came, the anticipation of what we are going to do takes over. It is still not the best but it is me at my most vulnerable, and willing for you to see it.

Project SG - a project to Overcome Fear
“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
— Dr. Spencer Johnson, Who moved my Cheese?