Real Talk

These Contiki Trip Managers walked 1000km and raised $20K for charity. Next stop: Everest…

In 2016, a group of Contiki Trip Managers and friends visited Africa, and what they saw there never left them. They were moved by the beauty of the land and the communities they encountered, but were also dismayed at how some of the locals they met had to walk up to 40km a day just to access clean water - a vital commodity that all of us take for granted.

As experienced Trip Managers, Aryan Taefi and Mike Mohrenberger were used to being the vanguard for Contiki Cares, encouraging young travellers to give something back and have a positive impact on local communities. So, when they discovered that around 14,000 children die every day due to unsafe water and unsanitary conditions, Aryan, Mike and their two friends Jimmy Hosking and John Massingham decided to do something about it.

The plan? Walk over 40 kilometres a day for a month – on a taxing, 1000 km hike from Sydney to Brisbane – to raise awareness and money for WALK4WATER, a not-for-profit organisation that builds clean water projects across the globe. On February 24th, 2017 the four friends set off on their quest. Awaiting them was a gruelling odyssey of rain, blisters, nudist houses, porn-star moustaches and lots and lots of ants. But 30 days later they left behind a truly remarkable, life-altering achievement.

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Flashback to day 1, all freshed faced and full of energy, no idea what to expect over the next 30 days. We've been asked a lot lately "would we do it again?" ??? . . . Would we go through those never-ending 47km days, the never ending rain, sleeping on floors, living off musli bars and cherry ripes, all those blisters, mosquitoes and chaff?? Of course we would! It's was an incredible experience that none of us will ever forget. But the best is yet to come… . . . We have 24 hours left for anyone else that would like to be apart our project. We've already achieved our goal but we can still do more! If anyone would like to be involved and help change someone's life, check out our link in our bio. … @mikemohrenberger @jdmasso @aryantaefi @jimmyhosking1 @charitywater . . . #1000kmwalk #sydneytobrisbane #brissiebullets #brisbanewalkingclub #walk4wateraus #walkers4water #charitywater #charitywalk #charity

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Ironically enough, on their journey the team had to face up to the wettest March Australia had seen in 120 years, but they didn’t let that deter them. They were assisted in their relentless battle against the rain by the good people of the East Coast, who offered them shelter, moral support and donations at every stage of their journey. According to Aryan, ‘the support we received along the way made those long slogs – fighting the rain, ants in our pants, sleeping on the floor of a 70 year old nudist house in Coffs harbour – all worth it.’

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This is Brett. We met him in a pub in Harrington and after learning about our project he instantly offered to buy us our dinner and make a donation to the cause. He was just one of the many incredible people we met along the journey, strangers who instantly wanted to help and support our walk. . . . If there is one thing we will take away from this adventure, it's that Australia is great! What other country would people stop you in the streets and offer to let sleep in their house, buy them food and drink, and donate money to complete strangers. Forget what you see in the news, and remember that the Australian spirit of helping out a mate is still strong! ?????? . . . #australia #mate #1000kmwalk #sydneytobrisbane #brissiebullets #brisbanewalkingclub #walk4wateraus #walkers4water #charitywater #charitywalk #charity . . . @mikemohrenberger @aryantaefi @jdmasso @jimmyhosking1 @charitywater

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And the crew were pretty creative on how they encouraged donations, too. From walking 30km in flip-flops and a chaff-plagued John having to amble onwards in the style of a cowboy, to Mike memorably having to shave his moustache in this…flattering style.

These methods didn’t just raise laughs. Public reaction to the walk was more rapturous than they guys could have dreamed of, and by the time the group reached Brisbane – drenched and exhausted – they had raised $15,456 USD, or $20,000 Australian. That’s enough money to fund a project in Mali that should bring clean water to over 500 people.

Job done, right? Well, if you hadn’t guessed by now, these aren’t the type of guys to rest on their laurels. They took their well deserved rest, and, once their blisters had healed and chaffing had subsided, decided they’d be foolish if they didn’t attempt yet another WALK4WATER adventure. So they assembled a group of people who were itching to get involved – including a large number of the Contiki crew – and posed the question: how can we possibly top that?

Well, it doesn’t get any bigger than Everest, so naturally they set that as the next task. This year, on October the 21st, a crew of 11 – a self-described ’90’s boyband’ – are gearing up for the trek of a lifetime, setting off from Kathmandu. The goal? Raise another $20,000 and get another project off the ground, ultimately expanding WALK4WATER’s reach so they can make it bigger and better, year after year.

You can donate to this new adventure here.  Anything you can give is a massive help, and 100% of the money raised will be used to build further clean water projects across the world.

We’re seriously inspired by what the guys have achieved and will achieve in the future with WALK4WATER. Contiki Cares means getting stuck in and having a positive impact, and the desire to give back is what our Me to We volunteering opportunities are all about.

So to Evan, Mike, Matt, Oliver, Henry, Damian, Aryan, Trent, Dan, Bob, Tim and Tom – we wish you good luck. May your journey remain unblighted by rain, ants, chaffing and nudist houses. We really hope you reach your goal.

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Many of us have no idea what it's like to be thirsty. We have plenty of water to drink — even the water in our toilets is clean! But many people around the world don’t have that luxury. Every day, about 1,400 children die from diseases caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are simple solutions like drilled wells, spring protections and BioSand filters that help provide clean water to communities around the world. We started this adventure to help charity: water build these types of projects around the world, and we’d love your help Check out our link on our bio to see how you can help — anything you can give is a huge help. 100% of the money will be used to build clean water projects, and when they’re complete, charity: water will send us photos and GPS coordinates so we can see the exact community we helped. . @contikidan_ham @aryantaefi @evanminus @robertminus @monoc01 @thisistimsmith @damianwatson_ @tplaine @off.the.beaton.track @contikiollie @mike_trafalgar @charitywater . #walk4water2018 #walk4watereverest #walkers4water #everestbasecamp #nepal #charitywater #charitywalk #charity

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