Dreaming on a bike

Every one of us has dreams. Dreams that lie somewhere in those hidden corners of our soul like a sacred statue. We look at them, worship them and even sometimes talk about them. But there are not many of us who go for their dreams and plan to achieve them. That is what distinguishes between daydreamers and real doers.

Poupeh Mahdavi Nader is one a brilliant example. Poupeh is the first woman cyclist going around the world with the motto: “In the name of love, friendship and global peace”.

Born in 1973 in Tehran, Poupeh started her journey on April 10th. She plans to cover 10 countries by March 2004, including Italy, France, England, United States, Japan, New Zealand, China, India, Oman and Saudi Arabia. Her travels culminate in a pilgrimage to Mecca.

Poupeh also plans to climb the summits of four mountains, including Mont Blanc (4801 m) in France, Fujiyama (3776 m) in Japan and Mount Cook (3764 m) in New Zealand.

What drives Poupeh is a set of goals:

1. Gathering support and raising funds for orphaned children and the needy.

2. Communicating with women and youth in various countries and bringing their message to those in Iran.

3. Observing the manifestations of God on earth.

Poupeh comes from Iran. An Islamic country in which women are required to cover their hair, and wear an overall which restrict her sport activities. Yet, this has not stopped her. She started mountain climbing in 1992 and has climbed all the major mountains of Iran. (Mount Damavand alone is 5671 m). She has a brown belt in martial arts, and is an accomplished swimmer, volleyball player and equestrian.

In a country where women have difficulty traveling alone (hotels will not rent rooms to single women), Poupeh has traveled to different parts of Iran mostly on foot. The rural people are extremely kind and hospitable and they greeted her with open arms.

Then she began her world tour. After biking in Italy, France, and England, she arrived in the U.S. this summer. She had stops in Boston, New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston, to name a new cities. Last we heard, she is somewhere in New Zealand.

Poupeh does not let you wonder much about where she is and what she is doing. She enjoys communicating with people as a major part of her journey and she does not let her supporters feel deserted. You can read her daily notes both in Farsi and English on her personal website, mahdvainader.com (when it's not down!). You can also see a great number of photos she has taken during her trip.

Poupeh is a messenger of peace at a time of terror and war. She takes your hand and makes you fly. Fly with her, to observe all she has seen, to experience how her belief in God, the Almighty, has helped her do what no other female has done on this globe.

One of her most interesting diary entries is when she gets her U.S. visa. Poupeh writes: “My trip has gone very well up to now even though it was not sponsored by any particular company. The truth is that I had no official letter or backing from any foreign or Iranian organization and God has showed me that He himself is the best supporter of all: I was able to get a single visa during war time and, even more incredible, an American visa. The American consulate informed me last week that they have got a reply from Washington and told me to send my passport to have the visa stamped on it. They had said that Iranians must wait at least one month to get an answer, but they were cooperative with me and I got mine in two weeks, thank God.”

Poupeh! Good luck on your trip and your goals! You have the strongest support in your heart: your faith in God and that is what counts most.

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