Tara Parks, who spent the first six years of her life in Marlborough, will be telling the story of her solo cycle trip from Windsor to Kathmandu for this year’s Kempson Rosedale Enterprise Trust Lecture on November 29 at 7.30pm in the Theatre on the Hill, St. John’s Academy.
Tara, who was only twenty-four when she set off for Kathmandu, cycled 12,973 kilometres in 243 days with only 4 punctures. She told marlborough.news: “Nepal had always been a land of mystery me. My dad did a few trips there when I was younger and I always wanted to go. Nothing else was really going on so I thought – why not?”
Tara had already overcome several set-backs in her personal life before she began her journey to Nepal, a journey which she found both testing and enriching. She faced feral dogs in Bosnia and extremes of temperature – from the heat of the Azerbaijan desert to the freezing temperatures on the Tibetan plateau where, for two weeks she was cycling above 4,000 metres.
The further East she travelled the fewer westerners she saw. Fortunately, having a degree in Mandarin came in handy: “I spoke Mandarin well enough to be understood. The people in Central Asia are most hospitable. If I was looking to pitch a tent they immediately asked me into their home and would give me everything they could. Their generosity was overwhelming.”
Tara found the first part of the trip – her journey through Europe – the hardest: “I was genuinely quite terrified the whole the time and felt really alone. However, once I relaxed into it, I began to realise you’re never really by yourself, people engage with you and ask what you’re doing and are genuinely interested.”
Overall the trip has allowed Tara to discover a lot about herself and a lot about the countries she travelled through: “I have tremendous pride at having achieved it. It brought back my self-esteem and self-belief and gave me the confidence to get out there. It brought life back into me.”
The journey also helped Tara decide what kind of work she would like to do. She now works for a sporting events company in North Wales: “I’m at my happiest in an outside environment.”
Tara’s expedition epitomises what the Kempson Rosedale Trust stands for. This Marlborough-based charity provides assistance to outgoing young people from Marlborough schools to do inspiring and remarkable activities which will enrich their lives.
The Trust was established in the memory of EGH “G” Kempson and Rupert Rosedale who were local residents and teachers. Rupert Rosedale was Head of Outdoor Activities at Marlborough College. He took over the job from Tara’s father. Rupert was godfather to Tara.
Tickets for this year’s Kempson Rosedale Enterprise Trust Lecture are available from the White Horse Bookshop, Sound Knowledge, on the door or visit www.eventbrite.co.uk Adults £10, school students free.
If you would like to read Tara’s blog of her journey it can be found here.