Over the past 15 months, Monique Nees, 26, and Cameron Smith, 28, have cycled from London to New Zealand. What was initially meant to be a 3 month cycle around Europe turned into a worldwide adventure that saw the couple travel through 32 countries.
“We told our families we’d be home for Christmas 2016,” Nees remembers. “That didn’t happen, but we’ve promised them this year for sure. We haven’t winged all of our trip, but definitely some of it – a bit of ‘she’ll be right’ attitude.”
After meeting different people throughout the world, Nees and Smith decided to raise money for Life Matters Suicide Prevention as they cycled.
Despite having reached their home shores, the couple aren’t planning on ending their trip. Cape Reinga to Bluff is next on the agenda. “We have experienced so much kindness and generosity from people of all ages and walks of life,” Nees says. “It’s really restored our faith in humanity, despite all that’s going on currently.”
Kiwibums on bikes was born to encourage more conversation around mental health. “Both of us have lost loved ones and friends to suicide and so we would like to raise awareness about the cause and ways to get help,” Nees explains. “We’re hoping to connect with different communities and schools around New Zealand to share our story of cycling across the world while raising awareness about good mental health and wellbeing, stressing the importance of balance, healthy diet and exercise,” she elaborates.
Yesterday the pair stopped off in Auckland to celebrate the start of World Mental Health Week, where they invited the public to join them for a short cycle around the waterfront. Hoping to reach the South Island by November, their journey continues.
Merchandise including t-shirts, caps, tote bags and wristbands can be bought online with all proceeds going to Life Matters.