Victoria University alumnus Tim Holman is ditching the plane and returning home the hard way by riding his bike from London to Melbourne to raise awareness of child trafficking.
The 24-year-old, who completed an Advanced Diploma of Business (Advertising) at VU's Nicholson St campus in 2006, said the trip is expected to take 12 months, during which time he will have travelled more than 26,000km.
Tim and his team of four riders will leave on May 1, passing through 26 countries including France, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal, China, Thailand and Indonesia before arriving in Darwin and pedalling back to Melbourne. The team also plans to climb the 5500 metres to the Mt Everest base camp with their bikes.
"We've all got sporting backgrounds and we're adventure junkies,'' Tim said. "We'll have a support crew with us but we want to make it as self-sufficient as we can, so we're camping out each night.
"The hardest part will be the mental ability to get up every morning and do 100km each day. But I have so much faith in the people I'm riding with. They are the strongest people I know.''
A report by World Vision Australia found 217.7 million children aged 5-17 were engaged in child labour around in the world in 2006. Tim's interest in the issue began during a visit to Bali as a teenager and soon became a passion after he taught in orphanages in Kenya. He now works as a digital project manager for World Vision Australia.
VU students studying public relations will be in weekly contact with Tim during his ride and will write regular media releases detailing how the journey is progressing.
VU's School of Business and Finance in the Faculty of Workforce Development has also donated a laptop for the team to use for editing of a documentary that will be made on the ride.
"We will video blog everything, including all our thoughts and feelings as we go along,'' Tim said. "We hope to turn this into a documentary and get a cinematic release, or have it shown on one of the TV channels. It's about showing people the physical challenge we are going through, as well as the problems of child trafficking around the world.
"VU has been a massive help and my former teacher and mentor Keith Richardson has given me great guidance. We want to turn this into a project for VU students because when I was studying there I was given an opportunity to do an advertising campaign for Bendigo Bank. It really gave me great real-world experience and it was so professionally run. I'd love to give that opportunity back to other VU students.''
For more information about the ride and about how to donate visit www.ride2rescue.org
For interview: Tim Holman on 0433 923 005
Daniel Clarke, Media Officer,
VU Marketing and Communications Department
Ph: 9919 9491 or 0407 771 072