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Wednesday May 18, 2011
By JONATHAN FERNANDEZ firstname.lastname@example.org
PETALING JAYA: They met for the first time during a spin class (indoor cycling) at a gym three years ago. Whether it was by pure coincidence, fate or plain irony, at that time Tom Hudson and Jodie Burton never thought they would be embarking on a journey together from England to New Zealand by cycling about 30,000km!
The British couple, both 30, started their voyage a little over a year ago, overcoming obstacles through Europe and Asia, to catch the Rugby World Cup 2011 from Sept 9 to Oct 23.
After 24 countries across two continents, Hudson and Burton arrived at their 25th stop Malaysia on May 10.
“The moment we hopped on our bikes, we never looked back. The journey has been nothing short of magical. We have learnt so much about many countries and the various cultures,” said Burton, who is an ardent reader of books based on real life experiences and journeys.
While taking a flight would have been less wearisome, Hudson joked that if they did follow that boring route, they would not have had their new passports almost completely filled with immigration stamps.
“We left our jobs at home in England, but not before taking a lot of things into consideration.
“It has never been done before but we kind of expected what we would be up against. The change in climate, from shivering coldness to scorching heat, we had to adapt to it all. But when you do something genuinely from your heart and in good faith, these potential hindrances can be easily overcome,” said Hudson, adding that they were also trying to raise up to 30,000 (RM147,758) for charity. “That's like a pound for each kilometre we cover.”
He added that the expedition could be followed at www.cyclingtotherugbyworldcup.com.
The pair had initially put up in Penang but hitch-hiked to Kuala Lumpur to watch the last round of the local rugby league on Saturday.
Although Malaysia is not known for its interest in rugby, Hudson said the community here was as enthusiastic about the sport as any other bunch of rugby aficionados.
“Even here, despite the rugby clan being small, I feel that the fans share the same high level of passion for the sport,” said Hudson, adding that they were hoping for the generosity of well-wishers when they arrive in New Zealand, as they had no tickets for the World Cup nor did they have much money left.
They will resume their cycling odyssey today with the next stop being Singapore, Indonesia, Australia and finally New Zealand.
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