30 January 2010

Where's the Fair?

Over the last two weeks, we have sped through Europe and only stopped for more than one night in Lyon (my dear friends) and Milan (we got tickets to the AC Milan v Inter derby from my wonderful friends at the best club in the world). In between, we’ve rumbled through famous cities, tiny villages, and everything in between. I spend most of my day driving and making arrangements for our first project visits in Syria and Jordan. But beyond the traveling and organizing, we’re spreading the Kickabout word to everyone who catches a glimpse of our decorated truck.

The reactions to the decals and maps on the side of our car have strengthened our belief in this incredible journey. We get grunts, nods, smiles, furrowed brows, thumbs up and, of course, that sassy little shake of the hand that means "you're crazy". It has been that or announcements of extreme jealousy (mostly by people have traveled to Africa before). Regardless of their personal thoughts on driving across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, EVERYONE is curious, and we hope it is this part that keeps them following Kickabout: Africa 2010.

The story behind Eli’s photo: A few days ago, we were on our way to Rome and planned to reenact our “see the Leaning Tower of Pisa in less than two minutes” with some of wonderful sites in Rome. See, we really are racing to Syria! Our site-seeing plan usually involves parking the car (at insert historical place), two people get out, one stays with the car, we snap a few photos, and move on. We did an excellent casing of the Vatican, especially since no parking signs don't mean anything in Italy. Eli got us lost trying to find the Pantheon, and we accidentally found the Forum and Colosseum. The ruins we're amazing (but not as spectacular as Ostia Antica outside of Rome), and the Colosseum was so incredible that we hoofed it back to the car to get a football. After kicking the ball around in the most famous ancient sports arena in front of a not-so-colossal audience, we concluded that a ball should be taken with us whenever we explore our surroundings. We might even launch a “Where’s the Fair” geography trivia contest!

This weekend, we took a ferry to Greece and darted across the beautiful and snowy landscape in a rush to get to Turkey. Our plan is to get to Syria by February 2 and kick things off with some visits to Special Olympics. Then we'll hit Jordan and visit with our Signature Partner, Right To Play.

Cannot wait!

- L Fair


25 January 2010

Kickabout Road Map

Current Location: Nairobi, Kenya (been here three weeks while we repair the car).

Updated route: Nairobi to Arusha, Tanzania. To Rwanda, Burundi, back to Tanzania, south to Malawi, Zambia, Botswana and finally, South Africa.

View KickAbout Africa 2010 in a larger map

Kickabout Travel Plan (projected)

January: UK to Turkey
Early February: Syria and Jordan
Mid-February: Egypt and Sudan
March: Ethiopia and Kenya
April: Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania
May: Tanzania, Malawi, and Zambia
June: Botswana and South Africa


Give a Kickabout!

Kickabout: Africa 2010 is a grassroots, do-it-yourself expedition, and the team has invested its own resources to make the trip a reality. We have been supported by the wonderful folks at Nike, Los Angeles FC, Plus 3, and our closest friends and family members. If you or your company would like to support Kickabout, there are several ways you can donate and help.

1. Donate to the Kickabout Expedition Fund

You can make a tax-deductible donation to the Kickabout Expedition Fund online through our fiscal partner, LAFC Foundation. The money raised will help offset the costs of the vehicles, petrol, safety and security measures, and other transportation costs associated with our overland trek across Africa. Click here or use the embedded page below. Make sure you add "KICKABOUT" as the recipient in the 'specific cause' text box.

2. Invest Your Sweat Equity in Kickabout

Through our partnership with Plus 3 Network, you can raise money for Kickabout through nothing more than staying healthy. Every time one of our supporters logs an activity on Plus 3, we move money to support Kickabout’s mission. Lorrie Fair has initially powered this with her own $5,000 pledge. If you or your company would like to learn more about how to sponsor your own Plus 3 Challenge on behalf of Kickabout, contact Brian Gonzales at brian@thekickabout.org

24 January 2010

Eli's Lens: European Trek

So I left the states about two weeks ago. The first week was spent making purchases, repairing things on the car, packing creatively, and barely sleeping. Here we are in the second week and it has consisted of driving, taking pictures, editing pictures, and barely sleeping. I know I can speak for the rest of the Kickabout team when I say I wish I could snap my fingers and be in Egypt!

Some of my friends have asked me about our mad dash across Europe and plans to get to Syria, Jordan, and Egypt as soon as possible. Don’t get me wrong I am loving Europe and want to come back and see it properly when I have the time; however, this lifestyle of traveling to a city, trying to see it in less than a day, photographing, and editing photos and then getting up the next day to do it all over again is draining. It would be a crime to just speed through Europe and not even stop to appreciate its beauty; but half the time I zip my camera away into its bag thinking, “this isn’t part of the mission so I don’t have to document it.” Then, without fail, I dig it out in a frenzy slapping myself for being so foolish.

So today I had a bit of an epiphany. This is all relevant.

Documenting our journey across Europe and learning as much as I can about the cultures of Europe will provide invaluable insight when I get to Africa and begin Kickabout proper. This Europe segment is more than just a trail to Africa. Showing and sharing Europe now will help me show and share Africa in an honest and open manner. I can’t wait to look back at the complete package of photos and videos and compare where we started, where we ended up, and all points in between. I am sure when I put my photos from Africa and my photos from Europe next to each other at the end of the trip I will struggle to find commonalities. Yet in the same breath, I will walk outside in South Africa and hear the cheers and the songs of Europeans and Africans alike. The songs that I heard in Chelsea and St. Etienne will be sung in different dialects, starring different heroes, however they will be sung wherever we go.

For now, enjoy our little jaunt to the San Siro – home of Inter Milan and AC Milan. More to come!

- Sinkus


22 January 2010

United Excitement in the UK

And we’re off! The cars are on the road and we’re en route to South Africa. While leaving London, we noticed lots of people peering into our beloved Land Cruisers. We received some perplexed examination, some mouths agape in awe, but our favorite reactions were the thumbs up, honks, and smiles. Fellow motorists on the freeway pulled alongside us and lent friendly waves and encouragement. World Cup anticipation is definitely building and we are happy to contribute a little enthusiasm to the commute of those with whom we share the road. If you see us in an area near you, say hello and we’ll salute you back.

As you’ll note, our vehicles are adorned in decals. People take interest in reading our multilingual blessings for Africa, the Kickabout logo with the acacia tree and looming sun, and, not to mention, the impressed looks we get once they realize the course we’re taking to get to the World Cup.

19 January 2010

Put Both Feet In and Give a Kickabout!

19 January 2010: Kickoff Challenge and Starting XI Soccer Challenge.

Lorrie and the rest of the Kickabout Team are on the road and plan to get into Egypt in about a month. To kick things off, we’d like to have you join our team by getting out and kicking about with Plus 3 Network.

The first 20 Plus 3 members who log 25 soccer activities will win a Chelsea FC/LAFC scarf and hat to help you keep warm during the winter months. In addition, anyone completing the challenge will be in the running for the grand prize, a limited edition official "Kickabout Africa: 2010" t-shirt. Click here to take the challenge.

For an added bonus, the top 11 members on Plus 3 who raise the most money through soccer will also be highlighted here on the Kickabout website as our Starting 11 for the 2nd half of our journey!

This challenge runs through March.

13 January 2010: Plus 3 Launches iPhone App

Our partners at Plus 3 have done it again! Today, they officially launched a free GPS-enhanced website that allows members to turn any exercise, such as walking, running, playing soccer or doing yoga, into charitable contributions. Plus 3 also announces the new Plus 3 Mobile, a free iPhone application, with which members can now track fitness activities with their phone and wirelessly log them on the Plus 3 site. Click here to read more.

19 August 2009 - Kickabout Powered by Plus 3 Network

Kickabout: Africa 2010 has joined Plus 3 Network - a new platform where your pickup games, daily workouts, and weekly soccer matches help fund Kickabout.

The process is very simple:

1. Click HERE and Register with Plus 3 (it's Free!)

2. Log Your Workouts and Time on the Pitch

3. Your "Sweat Equity" earns money for Kickabout 2010


18 January 2010

The Kickabout Team

The Kickabout team brings a variety of experiences and expertise to our little expedition. A doctor and coach, a highly decorated professional player, a shutterbug with a passion for football, a storyteller and media maven; they are a walking and wandering example of how football speaks to us all. We are proud to be a part of this wonderful mission, and we will do all that we can and all that we must to see that Kickabout: Africa 2010 is a huge success.

Soccer isn't just a game, but a lifelong fervor for many. Finding the sport to be a powerful force in shaping her as a person, Lorrie Fair recognizes soccer as a unifying language that defies barriers, be it language, cultural, economic, or gender. Thus, she founded Kickabout. Fair is a former member of the US National Team and has played in the Olympics and the FIFA Women’s World Cup. She has traveled all over the world as an athlete ambassador for the US Department of State and the international NGO, Right To Play. As a former international player, Lorrie's passion has been in the Sport for Development world for over a decade. Originally from Northern California, she is a crossword enthusiast who loves people watching, food, and Yoda.

For decades, Dr. Tom Simpson has dreamed of traversing continental Africa from north to south. This desire was born from a love for the people he met over the many years he lived in Kenya while working with the Peace Corps. Today, many in the soccer community know Tom as a coach and owner of the professional soccer team the San Francisco Seals. Having traveled extensively all over the soccer world, he led a historic trip that took the first U.S. soccer team to visit Vietnam post-war in 1997. Tom is a pediatrician and resides in San Francisco with his wife, Maria, who joins him on the journey. You can follow Tom and Maria’s journey on their personal blog here.

Brian Gonzales is one of the creative minds behind Kickabout and is the guy to contact if you want to learn more about the trip. Currently the man behind the curtain, he is an educator by trade and runs a Sport for Development consultant group, Good Football. A lifetime player, coach, advocate, fan and supporter of the beautiful game, his passion for sport for development and grassroots action has taken Brian to places like Azerbaijan, Israel, and Texas. You can reach him at Brian@thekickabout.org

Ashley Paguyo is Kickabout’s social media maven, keeping people in the know about the team’s wanderings, happenings, and whereabouts. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2009 and is our mass media specialist. From north to south, Cairo to Johannesburg, Ashley brings Kickabout followers along for the ride across the continent, across social media forums. Though she’s athletically challenged, there’s no need to kick words about: simply put, Ashley tells a great story and chronicles our epic journey to share with you. You can follow Ashley’s tweets at www.Twitter.com/TheKickabout.

Eli Sinkus is the photojournalist that will be visually documenting Kickabout. A recent graduate of the University of North Carolina, Eli spent is four and a half undergraduate years studying photojournalism and working with the Tar Heels Women's Soccer team. Sporting national championship rings galore in women's soccer, he has participated in large scale photojournalism projects that have taken him to Canada, the Galapagos Islands, and yes, even Idaho. You can follow Eli’s photo journal here.


16 January 2010

Final Preparations

Greetings from jolly old England! Most of Team Kickabout has left the states and assembled across the pond in the city of Peterborough. A principle component of our preparatory work has been meeting each other and familiarizing ourselves with our incredible vehicles outfitted by Footloose 4x4. Monday, January 11th marked the first official day that Team Kickabout spent together as a collective family, and sharing confined spaces definitely expedites the getting-to-know-each-other process. Currently, we're one man down since he's pulling his weight for us stateside, but he'll join us soon enough to round out our Kickabout lineup.

Before we can kick off, we have a laundry list of tasks to finalize. We find ourselves doing just that in "Peterbro" (as the locals say) with the help of our good friends at Footloose 4x4 guiding us in the right direction. We've been steadily chiseling away at our pre-departure chores little by little, centimeter by centimeter, all while adjusting to the metric system. By day's end, we are absolutely exhausted from making treks out to find "bits 'n bobs," mustering up courage to drive on the other side of the road, and all the hours of packing, unpacking and repacking. It's taxing work and can be frustrating at times, but things are definitely coming together and we expect to take this show on the road come Saturday morning.