我和美絲是在臉書上認識的，她是我朋友的朋友，我們三人都喜歡攀岩。我注意到她有個叫做 RockRipRoll Girl 的網站，在上頭，她發表對女性的訪談，而這些女性的共同點，是她們都對一些傳統上被男性主導的運動的熱愛，例如說攀岩、衝浪、滑板等等。我當時很興奮地寫信給她，稱讚她的熱忱。幾年前，我嘗試過建立一個戶外女性的社交網站，不過計畫是流產了。這封信，為她對我的訪談牽了線，而這個訪談，造就了我們今日的合作。
Riding through China. What a bold plan. However, the boldest part of this project lies beyond the ride itself.
Christine and I hardly knew each other before we decided to work as a team. Let’s see. Perhaps a few emails, a couple phone calls, and a brief dinner meeting with four other people. That was all the communication we had before the creation of the 2 Wheel Writers.
Early this January, she told me that she wanted to plan a long-distance ride in China and casually invited me along. “That was bold,” I thought, “she hardly knew me.”
I eventually made the commitment after exchanging a few more emails and a Skype call. “I am also brave,” I thought, “I’m pressed on funding, I haven’t ridden for years, and do we really know each other?”
Being an outdoor educator and a guide, I have done many month-long backcountry expeditions with a group of newly-mets. Even though a backcountry expedition usually has a very defined objective and leadership hierarchy and clear guidelines, living 24/7 with other people in a close proximity is still challenging. Group leaders would always remind the team members to speak up when an issue is small, otherwise, before one can notice, the issue has snowballed into a catastrophe.
I could only imagine the collaboration between Christine and me would be even more challenging. The ride itself takes 4-6 weeks; however, the scope of the ride, including the preparation and post-production, can be more than a few months. I noticed that Christine seemed to have similar concerns in her early emails. It was in fact a good sign that both of us are aware of what we have gotten ourselves into.
I met Christine on facebook. She was my friend’s friend. All three of us share one thing in common: we all are female rock climbers. I noticed that Christine hosts a website called RockRipRoll Girl where she publishes interviews with female athletes on sports traditionally dominated by men. I excitedly dropped her a message to praise her efforts on building such a website. A few years ago I wanted to build a social network for outdoor women but the project died prematurely. The contact with Christine led to an interview featured on her website on my love of climbing and my development of LittlePo Adventures, ultimately inspiring the Great Ride.
So I did have a little understanding about Christine – She likes to explore, make new friends, and is an advocate of recognizing women in male-dominated activities like I am. Those qualities provide the essential ingredients of a good partner I want to work with. We, of course, have many differences and I expect disagreements and arguments along the way. So what? We will deal. It is the beauty of a partnership anyway. In fact, we just went through a bump together and I felt that our relationship has grown stronger.
Right now, I am raising a cup of tea, making a toast to Christine who is a few thousand of miles away, “I am confident that we will do just fine.”