Beyond the Baltics
The ASF Team at the start of the journey, Klaipeda, Lithuania. From left to right. Rimantas Navickas, Richard Mark Dobson, Marker Berger, Ajmal Samuel, Carol Cheung.
A fitting image marks the conclusion of our 10-day journey through the Baltics. In this photograph, we stand at the Tallinn port in Estonia, with the Helsinki ferry in the background, the vessel that will carry us to Finland tomorrow.
Captured here is a moment where a young Chinese travel blogger from Beijing, seated on the damp sand, prepares a cup of noodles over firelighter briquettes, narrating his experiences to the world in Mandarin. Nearby, a local Estonian takes an afternoon dip in the bracing waters of Tallinn Bay and the Gulf of Finland, beneath a canvas of grey skies and scudding clouds. The unmistakable bite of winter lingers in the air.
Moments of calm and bliss. Church of St Anne. Vilnius
As we wrap up this Baltic leg of our journey, it's a moment for reflection on the past 10 days—days that unfolded with a deliberate grace. Each day, a symphony of delights: the weather, the scenery, the cuisine, the accommodations. Here we stand at the dock of the bay, each of us in robust health and high spirits. We've dined well and slept soundly in the comfort of hotel beds, all thanks to the generosity and care of Ajmal Samuel and his devoted wife, Carol.
Moments of less calm and bliss. Hotel Villa Roze. Liepaja. Latvia.
Remarkably, there have been no significant hiccups along the way. Our greatest challenge, if one can call it that, was misplacing the car keys for a brief hour, keys that ultimately reappeared in the van's recesses. A valuable lesson emerged: fasten the keys to a cord and entrust them to our driver, Mark, for safekeeping.
Scenes of serenity and sunshine Plieņciema kāpa, Gulf of Riga.
As a team, our cohesion has been exemplary. Each member, dutifully fulfilling their roles in service of Ajmal Samuel, the driving force behind this expedition. One among us reflects on the irony that this man of indomitable strength and determination, who orchestrates his life and businesses from the confines of a wheelchair, is the sole financier of this grand endeavor. And grand it is.
Scenes of way less serenity and sunshine. Road from Märjamaa to Tallin.
Looking back, we share a profound sense of accomplishment—not merely because we've completed this journey, but because we've done it as a united team, a fellowship bound by shared memories of days filled with bliss. This is the way we prefer it, devoid of trouble and discord.
Ajmal ensures that every member of the team enjoys the same level of luxury he himself selects. We savor our preferences from the menu. Ajmal's generosity knows no bounds; he embodies the quintessential host, providing without a trace of the scarcity mindset that often afflicts others. Ajmal, instead, radiates the spirit of abundance.
Moments of happiness and joy. Outside the Avalon Hotel. Riga.
Ajmal is on a mission to inspire not only us but the world, a mission he's undoubtedly fulfilling.
Our cameras have faithfully documented some of the most captivating and magical landscapes known to us, to humanity. The Baltics stand as a testament to both modernity and antiquity, interwoven in a manner that tugs at the heartstrings, leaving us yearning for more time.
Moments of less happiness and joy. Cold wet rainy day on the truck infested road to Riga.
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Alas, we must adhere to our itinerary; Ajmal has businesses to oversee and other agendas to pursue beyond traversing Northern Europe, disseminating positive vibes to the world. These journeys serve to fortify him, rendering him more resolute and driven in life and business, all while contributing to his foundation and charitable causes.
Day 1 - Klaipeda to Sventāja 42.89Km
Day 2 - Sventājato Liepāja 62.11Km
Day 3 - Liepāja to Kuldīga 97.34Km
Day 4 - Kuldiga to Plieņciema kāpa 108.59Km
Day 5 - Plieņciema kāpa to Riga 60.14Km
Day 6 - Riga Rest and Recharge
Day 7 - Riga to Salacgriva 104.4km
Day 8 - Salacgriva to Pärnu 75km
Day 9- Pärnu Rest & Recharge
Day 10 - Pärnu linn to Märjamaa 64.1km
Day 11- Märjamaa to Tallin 72.17
TOTAL DISTANCE COVERED: 688.36Km
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ASF has carefully chosen Resolve to be the beneficiary for 2023: Resolve is a charity founded in 2017 that helps create change makers in our community to drive a more inclusive city. Their signature program is a Fellowship that has so far supported over 70 emerging community leaders from diverse walks of life. There have been five cohorts of the fellowship on racial equality, ending gender-based violence, disABILITIES and empowerment, wellbeing and health and (E)quality Education for all.
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