Hello, my name is Kai Markus Xiong and i´m 45 years old german. Marrid with a chinese and together we have one lovely son who inspirem me for many things – also for my initiatives to breakdown prejudice…
Last year i was running from Hamburg to Shanghai along the acient silkroad to break down prejudices and now i´m on the cycling and running way from Norway crossing 12 countries to Greece.
Thank you to visit my blog and maybe share my story…
On my actual project often people ask me about my run from Hamburg to Shanghai – thats why i post a documentary (even in german its nice to watch) because i want focus on the project i do now.
Cycling cross europe to build bridges and see what is in peoples mind actually.
So after Norway, Sweden, Danmark, Germany, Netherlands, Luxemboug, Belgium and France i arrived in Switzerland.
More than 3500 km i cycled already and i was curious about this country as its not a member of the European Union and in general i had my own prejudices about.
So i came in from france directly to basel city. No real border. Amazing – i like this kind of traveling and it reminds me to USA as in US you can travel from snowy mountains to sunny coast without need a passport – all in one country – i dreamed about a world without borders…. maybe one day…
First i changed my one pocket knife in my handle bar bag from my Leatherman Multitool to my Swiss Knife Multitool (swiss militrary knife). Both i love and you may say: Why this guy have to travel with two pocket knifes?
I cross switzerland on purpose so i brought mine as well. I love to show the people I’m appreciated about their products when they are made with good quality. A reason you will know for the choose of my 361° Shoes when i made my running to china.
Also i realized on my initiatives that people always react very positive when they see their own flag, brand or such kind of identification with their own location. On my running to china we had the national flag of the country we just in always on our supply car and the people love it. It opens many doors – so why not show i like their product as well?
My prejudice about this country was like: they don´t like germany, they arrogant as most are rich and they treath foraigners not really nice as long they not bring capital into the country. Also i thought they stubborn and narrow minded…
Now i´m already in Austria and my experiance was completeyl reviewed. I like what i have seen and i could break down my own prejudices a lot…
The border? No border from France to here – even Switzerland isn’t a member of EU but still in Europe and nearly in the heart of it.
After the border directly bump into Basel and stay there one night.
I get used to start to ask „You speak englisch, france or german…“ i orderd in this way a coffee and the lady was nearly shocked: „Hey we are in basel – of course i speak german…“ ups – she seems to be quite pissed about my question…
Ok, dosent matter – i appoligize and i got my coffee…
Basel was very nice. I enjoyed the quitet time in the city center and i really loved running cross the citycenter at about 9:00pm.
Only i didn´t had enough money to try the local food in restaurants as a meal in average about 15 restaurants i checked was about 25 SFR – ups – without something to drink by the way – after i spent so much money in norway and i need use more often hostel or hotel than expected there was no budget for that. 🙁
People ask why i need hostel or hotel?
Quite easy: My broken feet not fully recovered and on some though days i know the next day morning my both broken feet (heelbones are fractured badly) are very stiff and painful for a long time – i can´t get up when lay on the ground without support from chair or stick or something like that and on campingplaces the toilet mostly is that far that i can´t reach it in this situation fast enough… i don´t need to explain more details i guess. So after tough days i decide to stay in hostel or guesthouse or hotel even my budget not really fits – but in this case for me its like: Safty first…
In Basel i had really amazing talks. With athletes (mainly runners) but also two couples from US. One of the couples are Gary and Barbara from Hawai. They travel to here as she want meet her friend. they both writing letters (real letters) since the 80ies and he was living a while in Frankfurt after the 2nd world war – also speak some german words.
We had a beautiful breakfast together and very intense talks about culture, culture misunderstandings, positive and negative sides of be in the EU and have one currency but also about friendship, traveling and all this kind ot stuff. They are very interested to learn about here in Europe and i realized they really open to proofe their own thoughts about here.
It was also interesting to see how „they“ as „americans“ judge or question us here. Amazing we agree in most of our points and had the same bad feelings for most of the concerns. It was inspiring and enlightening the same time for me and brought me to think about a new project for 2020 maybe….
Than i started to continue form Basel to Zurich wher my next cultur bridge day should be….
On the way i had fantastic food in a local backery (maybe not according to my diet plan – hahahaha) but still very delicious local food. I sit in the sun and enjoy a short break and sort my mind…
BUT THAN!!! I was talking with some kids and than get involved in a talk from some one who saw my bike and asked me:
„To where you go?“
She: „Oh wow – When you will arrive there?“
Me: „9th/10th of October i have to be there (explained my attendance at the UNWTO meeting)
She: „Ah i see – Which route you will take?
Me: „Via Zurich, than Lichtenstein also to Innsbruck (Austria) than down to Rome (Italy) and further down to Brindisi to go by ferry to greece and than continue by bike to Thessalonike…“
She: „Thats stupid – absolutely not possible – i cycle a lot – each year from June to September about 5000-6000 km and you will not make it. Not with this luggage and not as a not experianced biker… No way…“
Ups – i know this kind of talk as most peole not belive i can run frmo Hamburg to Shanghai as an „unexperianced runner“ and i was quite relaxed – only the two kids are kind ot shocked…
I asked: „Why you think so, you even don’t know me, don’t know my history and my mental or body strength? Basically you judge me without even know my name.“ (i smile)
She: „It will not work – believe me – i made many long tours in my life and this is not possible – crossing the alps and nearly complete italy. – You will give up soon or even need much longer…“
(by the way – this person never asked where i come from – only know I’m a german!)
Me: „i see – and if i can?“
Two children stay around as i had a talk with them before and the little one of them say with very strong voice: „he will make it – he is funny and he was running already to china – he can i belive that – he is crazy enough“
I was laughing so much and my heart was getting very warm. All the way to china children always give you a chance to belive you could make it – I never meet childs they not belive its possible and they encourage me a lot to continue in my low energy periods… but the she turn to the child:
„Listen you know nothing – this is stupid to think so. Its not possible – and running to china is not the same…“
Now was too much – i interrupted and say: „why is not the same? It´s about 12000 km, crossing pamir mountains which is much higher than the part in the alps i have to cross and 6500 km is mostly dessert – you think its not possible? I belive you never had a life dream or you had but never reached – or never tried. To fail is even better than not to try and children not need grownup people who destryo life dreams?“
She: „Don’t tell me this sh… about life dreams – (and to the little kids) not listen to his stupid things – life dreams not make you running or cycling. Why people can’t be realistic in their life…“ shake the head and look very grumpy…
I could not stop myself and interrupted again and showed her a german documentary about my running and my interview i gave before about life dreams, inspiration and discipline…
She still the answer: „it´s not possible! finish and left….“
The Kids was kind of shocked and didnt know what to say – they too polite to interact with her more…
!!!! If you don’t believe in the life dream of others, if you not believe what others try to achieve or if you just unhappy with your own life – NEVER destroy the life dreams of others, not discourage them and not make them feel insecure.
If they fail – is not you – if they could not make it – is not you…
I told the children a story of my childhood which i believe make me strong – about my grandparents and what they told me about 1000 times try and not give up and how i was growing up.
Than i told them very serious watching into their eyes:
„If once in your life you have a serious life dream and you want go for it. Do it, plan it, prepare it. And if you not find anyone who believe in you or support you not give up – try 999 times before. After you tried 999 times seriously and hard and you can’t continue than here is my number – call me and i will help you….“ i wrote my number on a paper and gave to them…
The two kids the same moment asked me: „Why you want help us? You don’t know if we really can do it?“
I reply: If you tried 999 times and not give up, if you tried 999 times and still remember me and call me – i know you will make it – whatever it is. Why i want help you? Because the first is i trust you and believe in you – maybe I’m wrong – but maybe i´m not!“
The little one come closer and gave me a big hug like my own son…
I was nearly to crying and realized how important it is to trust in peoples dreams and encourage them. The same time i realized again my big big luck with my grandparents and their believe in me – whatever i tried or did – they stay on my side and let me do my mistakes but also my victory.
Thank you granny and grandpa… you both made me to what I’m now…
With happines about this children but also anger about this lady i continued to Zurich…
We talking about human rights and all this things but the same time we not believe in our children in their dreams and try to force them to be „realistic“ „grounded“ „normal“ or what ever….
Every child which talk to you could be the one who change the whole world to a better.
Every child which talks to you could be the one who heal the most bad disease or find a solution for the most big problem for human beeings…
I remember the story of Erik from netherlands who helped me with my bike to make contacts to Bianca. He told me the story of children they not fit into our education frame… Why they are wrong? Maybe the frame is wrong – anyhow – what i believe is: Every child which talk to you trust and believe in you at first 100% – why you have to pay back with less? They will find out themselves.
From my experiance about asking for support or talk about my „unrealistic“ dram running to china or cycling with broken heel bones 5000-6000 km:
„No one have a problem if you say: „no sorry, i don’t want to support you“ but not say: „i don’t believe in you“!!!
This person could not frustrate me or destroy my willpower. But how many do have the passion and willpower to come over of such frustrating situations? They will question themselves and loose their confidence!
Why i share this – because on my projects i saw this kind of encouragement against me many many times and i´m happy i could deal with this – but the same time i checked so many great ideas they faild – i tried to find out why they faild – and most of the time it was 3 reason:
- no one belive in them and they give up becasue of that
- they good in sport or good athletes but not good in struckturing and planning seriously things
- they are to superficial in their dreams and there was no one who belive in them but the same time wake them up to work hard on solutions
I want force us to belive in children – they are great, they are brave, they have passion and inspiration… Let´s make them happy not sad. Every child have the right to get trust at the first step – than they get strong, selfconfident and powerful …
My next blog wil explain you what happens in Zurich – i just can say: Amazing and i´m still touched about my experiance there – i love it…
So stay tuned – i try to write as soon as possible about it – thank you my swiss friends for such a nice time…
See my online location: cycle and run = fun here