Guwahati: The world is burning; be it due to political complications, ecological and environmental degradation or destruction caused by ceaseless wars. In such a world where no one has time to pause and heave a sigh of relief, Hannah Kern, a resident of London in the UK, has embarked on a unique mission — to spread happiness.
Kern, 25, is traversing from Vietnam to England — all alone and covering 26 nations — on her bicycle. “What better way to make people sit up and listen to some really important things than do something really ridiculous like cycling across the world?” she asks.
EastMojo caught up with Kern when she reached Guwahati in Assam on Saturday. India is the fifth country that she has been to so far. She has already covered over 7,500 km after she started cycling from Vietnam.
Inspired by the electric bicycles of Vietnam and feeling passionate about women empowerment, zero waste, environmental awareness, mental health, veganism, human and animal rights, Kern took to her bicycle to shed light on such issues. “With so many problems that are going on around the world, we have to concentrate more on why? Why are people not happy? Why are they not content on a whole with themselves?” says the happiness activist, adding: “That is why I’m dedicating my life to make the world happy.”
The solo traveler is raising money for charity and is involved with many NGOs and charities across the world. Some of these organisations are CRISIS, which is UK’s National Homeless Charity, Friends of the Earth — an environment-based group, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) aka Doctors Without Borders and War Child UK for children affected by wars.
On her journey cutting across 26 countries, Kern pauses along the way to organise local campaigns. ‘Hugs for Happiness’ is one such campaign spearheaded by her in Vietnam to further propagate her aim of spreading happiness. Her Himalayan Happiness Retreat in the Kulu Valley is another initiative that will be organised by her from April 15 to 29, 2020 where she plans to meet like-minded people. Additionally, she also stops at various schools and institutions to make the younger generation aware of the issues which are plaguing society today.
However, a journey as such can never be without its own share of challenges. Recently while coming to Guwahati in Assam, Hannah met with an accident with a drunk driver. Although she escaped with a few bruises, her bike didn’t. On top of that, she is new to biking, hence the expedition is a first of its kind for her. After months of practice on-the-go, she is well aware of the nuances of it. Now, “when something goes wrong I know how to fix it”, she adds.
“Cycling changes your perspective on a lot of things mostly because you slow time enough to actually be a part of the present moment,” says Kern.
After celebrating her New Year’s in Assam, Kern plans to go to Meghalaya and then to Bangladesh. After that, she plans to go back to Kolkata where she will spend some quality time with her family friends.
Kern would need a total of three years to complete her ‘happiness project’ cycle expedition with the final destination being London, England.