The start

September 26, 2016

De tre deltagarna i The Happy World Tour 2016. Copyright Jonas Wall ©.

We are just days away from starting an adventure around the world on our bicycles.
How did this really happen?

It probably requires a fairly long and complicated answer, but to make it a bit easier, we have to go back in time and more specifically to 02:04 am on the night between 25th – 26th December last year.
In Karlskoga, our hometown, it is a bit of a tradition to get out for some party every Christmas day, especially if you have moved from the town and is now home fot visit when Christmas time prevails.
Christmas Day 2015 was no exception.
One of Karlskogas (there are a few more) clubs called “The Dome” was the place to be and the dance floor was crowded with people in all kinds of ages. Many people in the same room means many meetings with friends you have not seen in a long time.
But many people in the same room during winter time also means long queues to the closet when you are about to leave the place.
We’re usually pretty good  to find our place in the queue, often at the back.
It was different when Happy Tour in 2014 were in China and more specifically in the office where they renew their visa. Part of this process was to go down to the 2nd floor to the photocopying services in order to take a few copies of our passports.
Standing i queue? Hell no! Elbows, a variety sharpened elbows which did everything in its power both to get as far forward as possible and at the same time keep everybody els behind you was the “Chinese – system”.
I (Calle) together with my traveling companions were just standing there, watching this phenomenon. All we had heard from acquaintances was that this generally was a common thing in China, but not that it was as clear as this.
Our fifth team member, Mr. Lee, who was born and raised in China, did not care that much. This was nothing new for him.
Like a tactic talk during a football game where the whole team gathers in a circle to figure out the best way to win over his opponent we came up with a plan. It was full effort forward while we formed a human chain. Together we are strong.
A few minutes later we had all received our copies and the victory was ours!
“If we are not doing it like this we have to wait far too long for it to be our turn, and who wants to wait at all?”.

This was Mr. Lee’s explanation of how the Chinese people’s mindset are when it comes to waiting in line.
Interesting.

And maybe there is a little Chinese living inside Lovisa Håkansson. Or maybe it was her opponent in that queue at “The Dome” on Christmas Day last year when a small argument which made  Mr. Wollgård in no uncertain way were still the situation that arose and that probably was about one of the two might possibly (probably not) intruded before the other.
Well.
I and Lovisa walked together a bit and talked about the years that had passed since we last saw each other (which turned out to be five in number).
Except that she had studied law school it turned out Lovisa also had pretty good track of previous projects that I together with friends completed.
Quite soon into the conversation she popped the question I had received a couple of times by then;
– Is there a new project coming up?

– Hmm. Yes. Well. Possibly. Or maybe.
Have you read the book “Born to Run” ?, became my question to her.

Born to Run is about a series of incredibly inspiring people who love to run. At least said.
They run lots of miles. I’m talking inhuman many miles. In the desert, the mountains and deep valleys. Nothing seems able to stop them. And no one seems to want to stop running. The only thing that keeps them going is the love running.
And after reading it, I thought; if they can, should not I be able to do the same thing?
It all led to the Copenhagen Marathon that was hold  a few weeks later. And guess who was my companion during the race? A girl named Eva…

So, what was possibly the next project?
Early 2011 an idea was born, something like this; how would it be to walk about 1 000 km that the route Bangkok – Phuket forms and at the same time hold a fundraise for the orphanage in the village of Muang Mai, Phuket?
It turned out to be a really excellent idea.

 

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But how would it be to run from Sweden to Thailand holding a similar fundraise?
Although I really don’t like to say no to things but unfortunately we will probably never know the answer.
But that was still the idea that was going on inside my head.
A few days later, we therefore sat down, me and Lovisa, at a coffee shop at St Eriksplan in Stockholm, where we both now lived, to look closely at the map and discuss the idea in its entirety.
We realized that it would take a while, and that many shoes need to be replaced during the year the run would take.
After a week or two, and after consulting the idea with more people we noted, however, that it most likely would mean that more gadgets had to be replaced.
Gadgets such as knees, hips, toes, groins, and much more.
It was’nt worth it.

Running from Sweden to Thailand would anyway according to our calculations take approximately one year to complete.
Although the route would be about the same as when we cycled the Happy Tour 2014 but this run would have been an increase from the previous project because it would undoubtedly be tougher and certainly more painful to complete 17 800 km on foot compared with the cycle.

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I like to raise the bar. Not least when it comes to these types of adventures.
So what should we focus on instead, now that the idea of the run was dead and buried?
It went surprisingly quickly to change track.
Happy Tour in 2014 ranged as I said 17 800 km, about a half way around the world. Was it not time to take on the whole mother earth on the same means of transport, in other word, the bicycle?
Suddenly there was a new idea about to happen. The Happy World Tour had just seen the light.

Nothing, however, was hewn in stone about this.
The idea was under construction and more people were asked when we still had not decided 100% that this would actually happen.
One of these was Eva Eriksson from the eastern parts of Karlskoga.
Along with Lovisa they had six years earlier completed high school together. Now they were gathered again but in a slightly smaller class consisting of three nowadays “adult” persons.

I sat in the passenger seat on my way to the north part of Sweden  a snowy and cold February evening with my good friend Adam and the Facebook chat went crazy.
Suddenly I received a message from them both; LET’S GO!
Okay, let’s go!

And that’s it.
The project has reached peaks and dived into the deep valleys. And maybe it’s suppose to be like that?
And trust us, we will experience more of that during this year.
And I must also admit that it tickles a little bit inside my stomach when I lie in bed at Centara Grand Ladprao in Bangkok and think of what is to come. It is of course impossible to predict the future but I have a good feeling. This will be fine. This will be fun.

No matter how you twist and turn it, we could not have got a better start to our adventure.
Thai Airways sure we were in the best seats on our way from Sweden to Thailand and its capital.
Once there hotel Centara Grand Ladprao took over the control and this is where we are now, having a short rest.
The Thais are very friendly people, we knew that already, but this has been something extraordinary.

 

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The team gathered together at Arlanda Airport with Thai Airways and Thai ambassador in Stockholm, Mr Kiattikhun Chartprasert.

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Just arrived to Bangkok and welcomed by Thai Airways cycle club.

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Straight after the landing we were off towards Centara Grand Ladprao where General Manager Wim N.M. Fagel welcomed together with his staff.

Tomorrow night after spending the day together with Thai Airways cycle club we fly on to Phuket and the orphanage where we will take care of the last things before the start of The Happy World Tour that are scheduled for Saturday, October 1st.

Once again; many thanks to The Royal Thai Embassy in Stockholm, Thai Airways, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Centara Grand Ladprao for this magnificent start.

Prepare for take off! You will join us, right?

Best regards:

Calle, Lovisa & Eva.