Features > Featured Guest Interviews
Brenna Coupland - Moon Cycle Africa.
I am a 23 year old woman from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I attended college for culinary arts before moving to Vancouver, British Columbia (a beautiful and much more temperate city on the west coast!) Here I left the cooking industry to study yoga, holistic nutrition and prenatal fitness. I served on the board of directors for a charity called Shanti Uganda for one year and was managing a yoga studio when I departed for my first bicycle trip in 2010.
My biggest mission is to find out what it means to be a liberated woman and human being in this world. I am passionate about equality and diversity. I love coffee and getting lost in the woods.
Facebook: Moon Cycle Africa
Q, Whatís the charity your raising funds for and whatís your connection?
A, The charity I support is called The Shanti Uganda Society. Their focus is to support and empower birthing women, reduce maternal and infant mortality and improve the lives of communities impacted by HIV/AIDS in Uganda. They do this through educational workshops with young women, operating a birthing center in the village and a sustainable women's income generating project.
I was introduced to this charity when I was living and working in the yoga community in Vancouver. Shanti Uganda is based here, and I was inspired to become involved because of my passion for women's rights and interest in child birth.
Q, Whatís your inspiration for the trip?
A, Being a woman; unafraid, confident, empowered and uninhibitedly ALIVE in the world. I am inspired by the women I meet and draw strength and wisdom from my global sisters. I can only hope that my journey inspires just one woman to stand up and follow her heart.
Q, Where is it taking place?
A, Around the world I suppose: across Canada, some of the USA and across Africa.
"The necessity for women to be strong and utterly alive? Everywhere! "
Q, How long have you been away from home?
A, My trip has been just over six months so far and is still in progress!
Q, While I was in America I had a gentlemen pull a rifle out on me, have you had any sketchy moments that have had you worried?
A, Doesn't sound very gentlemanlike! No, I have to say - thankfully - that I have not experienced sketchiness to this degree. In Saskatchewan, however, I was chased one morning by 2 animals I could not identify in the darkness. As I rode away blindly towards the highway, my road tires slipping on the dirt road, I nearly fell over twice and thought that was it!
In Namibia, I camped in a wildlife reserve and heard an animal clomping about my tent. Fortunately, that's as far as it went.
Q, Whatís your fondest moment up to now?
A, I've met too many beautiful and kind people thus far, that it's absolutely impossible for me to choose just one! I think I'll always mention the latest notable moments when this question is asked. One family in Sackville New Brunswick put me up twice; the first time on a few hours notice, after riding for 10 hours in the pouring rain, the second occasion when I had a spontaneous tooth infection and needed an emergency dentist!
Most recently, I had a major mechanical break down in Gweta, Botswana: my rear bearings went kaputt and the entire wheel, cassette and chain needed to he replaced. A family that owned a lodge just 150 km away invited me to stay with them until I was all sorted out. This turned into 9 days (and counting!), a ton of delicious and nourishing meals and an uncountable number of kind individuals who offered to help without even giving it a second thought! The entire experience has been incredibly humbling, and it brings me much, much happiness to know that such kindness exists in the world. I feel so blessed to have received so much love.
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Q, Where did you start? and when will you finish?
A, Vancouver, BC to Winnipeg, MB, Canada, July - August 2010
Winnipeg, MB to Cape Breton Island, NS, Canada to New York City, NYC, USA, June to October 2011
Cape Town November 1, 2011 to who knows when?!
Q, Whatís the most interesting road kill you had to avoid?
A, A giant grasshopper in Namibia, 10" tall! It looked like a gargoyle.
Q, Whatís been your favourite country and why?
A, Impossible to choose ;)
Q, What country or place is on your wish list to visit?
A, Uganda, for obvious reasons, and I'm really keen on seeing the pyramids and sphinx in Egypt. I'd also love to see Greece, Easter Island, the great wall of China and the Yukon.
Q, Can you name 5 pieces of kit you canít live with out?
1) Coffee, and all that is required to make coffee (stove, lighter, fuel, water).
2) A book - any book!
3) My phone - it doesn't function as a phone but when it connects to wifi it's my little computer.
4) Bandana - keeps my frizzy hair from the humidity, my ears from the flies, and at night, the light out of my eyes.
Q, Maps or GPS?
A, Maps - they never run out of batteries!
Q, How do you choose where you go?
A, Local advice, nķmero uno! In Africa, especially, I find if most valuable to ask:
- Dirt or tar road?
- How much distance between gas stations/farm house/sources of water/grocery stores?
- Are there hills?
- Are there lions?!
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Q, What is your bike of choice and does it have a name?
A, Diamond Back mountain bike. Her name is Topanga.
Q, Are you craving anything?
A, No, I am full! On the road I crave bread and peanut butter. When it is hot I crave ice cold soda.
Q, Do you have a nickname for your Grandma?
A, No, we just call her baba.
Q, Can you put a price on the trip just in case anyone else wants to follow in your footsteps?
A, No, sorry! I have no clue. The biggest expenses so far have been plane tickets, immunizations, water filter, the bicycle and maintenance, and prescription drugs. Visas will soon be another substantial cost and I will buy my first one soon in Zambia.
In general, I don't spend much on accommodation: bushes are free and hospitable people are abundant and appreciated. Food is something I must buy on a daily basis but is as cheap as one wants it to be.
Q, Subway, McDonalds, Burger King or KFC? (KFC for myself as BK & McDís give me the shits 4hrs later).
A, McDonalds and KFC if I need an ice cream cone. Generally I don't eat at fast food places on the road and stick to grocery stores.