During September, I had a well-earned holiday in Canberra with Penny and Sergio while Lindy and her friends rode their bikes through the North West Mountain region of Vietnam.
My holiday involved sleeping in most mornings (after 6am instead of those 5:30am starts!), a weekend at the Beach House with lots of swimming and rolling in the sand, and lots of pats by little Lucia.
Lindy and her friends enjoyed the hospitality of Vietnam, sampled lots of local Vietnamese cuisine and rode 550km through the North West mountain region. Well, Lindy rode about 470km as she had a stomach upset and had to hitch a ride in their support bus one day.
Lindy’s highlights of the trip were:
– Tasting yummy local Vietnamese cuisine;
– Sampling Vietnamese ice coffee during and after a hot day of riding;
– Passing lots and lots of Hill Tribe children who got so excited when the group rode past their villages, especially when they saw the tandem;
– Experiencing the North West mountain region of Vietnam through the descriptive words of her guides;
– Overcoming the fear of traffic and even walked among scooters and cars on the road;
– Just experiencing everything that Vietnam has to offer including squat toilets, mozzie net, dodgy rental tandem, little chairs that just appeared from nowhere whenever the group stopped on the side of the road – and lots more.
Probably the best part of riding up hills on the tandem is being able to go down hill real fast. Pilot Ashley took Lindy down this beautiful descent and Lindy had such a great time that she didn’t mind doing it again. Most of the other riders echoed her sentiment with, ‘Can we do this again?’, ‘How about we put the bikes in the bus and take us back up the hill?’.
Before there was time to put those bikes into the bus, the Vietnamese Ice Coffee got them all settled into chairs around the coffee shop. Thus no second descent on the same hill!
For most sighted people, the joy of travelling is seeing what is around them. As for Lindy, she saw Vietnam through her other senses: the scenery through the descriptive words ; sounds of the waterfall, birds and trees; smell of the rice fields, food and coffee; feel the air on her skin; bumps and corners on the tandem. I along with my Guide Dog have known for a long time that using our eyes is just a small part of ‘seeing’. Just watch us using our other senses while we help our handlers to get around.
I would like to thank all her friends for their help and support during the trip, I certainly couldn’t have done those tasks. Imagine me guiding Lindy across the road! Ashley, the ever reliable pilot and guide on the tandem. Polly helped her figure out the layout of the hotel rooms as they moved into a new one every day or two. Simone, Jing, Cath, Liz and Donna helped guided Lindy when she was off the bike and ensured Lindy didn’t miss out on foods and drinks. They provided descriptions about her surroundings on and off the bike.
Lindy usually feels a bit apprehensive whenever she is out of her own environment. The wonderful help and support that she received from her friends during this trip made her very much at ease and able to enjoy her holiday. On the last night when she thanked everyone for their help during the trip and making sure that she didn’t get lost, she was told that, “We tried to lose you a few times but we didn’t manage it!” What a bunch of friends!
The holiday was full of fun and adventures. Their sense of humour held up even when they were hot and tired!
They stopped over in Singapore at the end of their trip for two nights to enjoy more hot weather and Asian food before getting back to the cold Canberra weather.
Thank you for supPAWt of PAWgust 2019
Thank you everyone for your support. Our team raised over $800 by walking at least 30 minutes everyday in August. All the Guide Dogs Australia supporters help raised $1,034,503. This will support 20 Puppies to become a Guide Dog like me.
‘A huge tail wagging, cheek licking, belly scratching THANK YOU from the whole pack at Guide Dogs!’
Comment from Diversity and Inclusion talk at ASIO
Earlier this year I took Lindy to the ASIO office to speak to the staff. The topic of ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ was presented to a few hundred staff in the auditorium plus streamed to all the offices. I chilled through her presentation and then socialised through the lunch.
We got some wonderful comments and here is one of the comments. Please feel free to promote Lindy as a speaker in your workplace, your children’s schools and among community groups. I do enjoy napping through those sessions before socialising with the audience afterward.
“Lindy was engaging, with a balance of humour that underpinned a serious message. Her talk was well attended, and Lindy captured the audience with experiences that demonstrated success despite adversity, through determination and commitment. She is a talented storyteller with a positive message that resonates with everyone.”
Staff from ASIO
“The best way to ride up hills is one pedal stroke at a time.”
This is the tail of Lindy’s Comet.