“When I saw an invitation by LOROS to ride a bike from Vietnam into Cambodia, finishing the challenge at the Angkor temples, I couldn’t resist.
“Both countries, and specifically Angkor Wat, were on my ‘bucket list’. Combine that with the chance to raise money for LOROS and it was a case of ‘So, at 57 years old - if you’re not going to do it now, when will you?’”
“Nicola, my 20-year-old daughter, joined up too in memory of Joyce, my mum and her grandma, who was cared for at LOROS over 10 years ago.
“Several months of training followed, around the lanes and cycle tracks of Staffordshire and in the gym at Staffordshire University.
“Cycling started at Ho Chi Minh City (formally Saigon), through the Mekong Delta, alongside rice paddies and through coconut groves. We then crossed the border to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, by speedboat! Nicola visited the Genocide Museum there and I visited one of the Killing Fields. Both were emotionally draining experiences. From Phnom Penh, we made our way further up the river basin to Angkor.
“The temples at Angkor quite literally took my breath away”, said Paul. “Along the way we were welcomed by local people and many children in both countries, ate snake in Vietnam and had the chance to try sautéed Tarantula in Cambodia!
“This was an absolutely amazing experience – two beautiful countries and beautiful, smiley people living in areas with such a troubled past.
“Back to back – this was the best 12 days of my life,”said Paul.
“I was completely overwhelmed when we finished this challenge”, added Nicola.