Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A visit from Gurkan Genc

Eat your heart out Ellen Degeneres - This selfie is way better than your "biggest" one!

The school year is almost finished in Dubai - two days to go and I will have a 2nd grader!!! Wow.

Having lived in Turkey, and with a husband from Istanbul, I have had the privilege to meet some very interesting people along the way. Today one of those interesting people visited my son's school.

Gurkan Genc is currently in Dubai on his trip around the world. Who is Gurkan Genc? In short, he is a guy from Turkey who is touring the world on his bicycle. Did I mention he is doing this all alone?

According to his website, he started this in 2012 with a 7 year plan. He is about 3 years into it. He will cross a total of 84 countries in 7 continents over 7 years.

He has seen extreme cold temperatures ranging from -57 C / -70.6 F to extreme heat, perhaps hotter than the 50 C / 120+ F he experienced biking from Saudi to Dubai.

This morning he talked to over 150 first graders about his experiences. Stories included how he survives on so little, not seeing anyone or any living plant or creature for 12 days while crossing the Gobi desert in Mongolia, riding on snow and more adventures in an action packed 45 minutes.

And the kids has so many interesting and relevant questions.  A few of my favorites:

  • How did you get water?
  • Where do you get food?
  • Why did the police follow you? (He was the first bicyclist allowed to cross Saudi, so he received a police escort for many miles. Why? "Because they liked me" he said.)
  • What was your favorite place? (Japan and a little village near Granada, Spain)
  • Do you wear a helmet?
  • What is the name of your bike?
  • Did you have training wheels?
  • Where do you poo?
They could have kept going, but due to time, I am sure he will receive many emails from a curious group of first graders. I mean, second graders.

His most important message was, "Believe in yourself. And don't give up on your dreams." People told him he was crazy in the beginning. But after some time, he said "as you keep going and start achieving your goals, they will believe".

If you would like to read more about Gurkan, or follow him, you can find his website here and all his other links to social media.

After Dubai, he will take off to Oman and start heading to Africa. After he conquers Africa, he will head to the Americas!

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