In June and July 2009, my wife Lynn and I raised money for Room to Read by walking the famous GR5 route.  The GR5 is an approximately 700 km mountain path across the Alps that starts on Lake Geneva (Thonon-les-Bains) and finishes at the Mediterranean Sea (Nice).  We didn’t do this as part of a group or some sort of formal fundraising.  This was our idea and the trip was just the two of us, our backpacks, a tent, a cooker and our iPod’s (there is little better than listening to Seinfeld’s alone in the mountains and having a giggle together).  It was a challenge, as each morning say us hobbling due to blisters, bad feet and muscle pain.  We completed the journey ahead of schedule.

We exceeded our to raise $15,000 during our ~6 week walk.  100% of the money we raised went to Room to Read, enabling them to build and stock three libraries in rural Nepal.  The additional money we raised went towards giving girls a lifetime of education.

Below is a google map of our route


Many people have asked questions about this trip, and here are the Q&A below:

1. Where does my donation go?
100% of your donation goes to Room to Read to build libraries in rural Nepal.  Lynn and I pay for every single cost we incur and gain nothing through your donation.

2. Why did you choose this charity?
My favorite gift is a book, and for my 32nd birthday my mom got me a great book “Leaving Microsoft to Save the World” by John Wood.  Not only is the book a great read, but it is also a fantastic example of how much good we can do.  From reading the book, I was very impressed by how Room to Read was organized and their low overhead model.  Having travelled in Nepal around the time that John did, I shared a lot of his experiences and his feelings about the country.  It is a beautiful place with great people.  As time passed,  I realized that I wanted to be involved with Room to Read in some way.

3. Is it true you are matching my donation?
Yes, it is true.  Lynn and I are matching every donation until we exceed our goal of building and stocking three libraries in Nepal.

4. Is my donation tax deductible?
Of course, your donation is tax deductible.  For American residents, you can donate directly to Room to Read.  For my Canadian friends, your donation will go through Tides Canada, a prominent charity that has partnered with Room to Read to enable Canadian donations to be tax deductible.

5. How hard is this trip going to be for you?
If Lynn and I had trained all winter and spring, this trip would be hard.  Alas, this was a long, dark and cold winter and I spent many nights with a beer, a pizza and a Flames game on the television.  Lynn has done more training, but neither of us have done anywhere near what we wanted to do.  What does this mean, this is going to be bloody hard!  I expect to lose 15 – 20 pounds on the trip!

6. How do I donate?
Ahhh, when a fine person such as you mentions a donation, it is like music to my ears.  Please email Lynn or myself (you should have our email address already – it’s on facebook).  If you don’t know our email addresses, please leave a comment here and I’ll get in contact with you!

7. Are you doing the walk in a group, with a guide or alone?
Lynn and I are doing this alone, just the two of us.  We’ll be finding our own route, carrying all of our gear, setting up camp and cooking our own meals.