Today I’m excited to announce one of the big new projects I’m starting this year: the Janapar Grant.
This is a brand new venture aiming to help young people begin a rite-of-passage journey at a time in their lives when it will benefit them most, with the fewest possible strings attached.
The structure of the grant is pretty simple, and has been informed by looking back on my own experience of preparing for a big ride, drawing on the experiences of others I know who’ve made similar journeys, and seeing what patterns emerge.
It seems that the single most helpful thing in terms of encouragement, motivation and practical advice is talking to people who’ve been there before.
And the single biggest obstacle (particularly for a young person) is covering the costs of getting all the equipment together. Once on the road, costs can be as low as nothing.
I’ve designed the Janapar Grant to hit both of these points dead-on.
The successful applicant will get unlimited on-demand mentorship from me and four other experienced bicycle-traveller-bloggers whose names you will no doubt know.
They’ll also receive every major piece of equipment for making such a journey. While the details of where the gear is coming from are still being confirmed, the single most expensive and important item – the bicycle – is already pledged. (It’s a really nice bike, too.)
There seems little doubt that making a long and personal journey as a young adult can be a hugely formative experience. That’s where the philosophy behind the grant is coming from. Cultures past and present have formalised the rite-of-passage journey in many ways – from the Aboriginal Australian ‘walkabout’ and the Native American ‘vision quest’, right up to the German ‘Walz’ – a ritual still alive today. Our modern equivalent seems to be the unstructured gap-year, and even that’s dying a death in the face of mounting student debt.
Fascinating traditions aside, it would be wonderful to see a small renaissance in British culture of a true rite-of-passage journey as an important part of a young person’s transition to adulthood – the missing piece in our educations that formal institutions will never provide.
And that, really, is what the Janapar Grant is all about.
Please take the time to visit the Janapar Grant website and share news of its launch. I’ll bet that each and every one of us knows someone who fits the criteria and would benefit from having their attention drawn to it.