Thibault Clemenceau (EDHEC 2014) : 16,000 km of fundraising

Published on 27/03/2019
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Thibault Clemenceau (EDHEC Grande Ecole 2014) is planning a trip from France to Vietnam ... by bike!

What for? To try and raise $16,000 for an association that helps educate and provide professional training for underprivileged children.

 

 

EDHEC ALUMNI: TELL US HOW YOUR PROJECT CAME ABOUT? 

Thibault Clemenceau: I’ve been thinking about this project since I was little. There were always loads of bikes in my house.

Early on, when I was very small, the big adventure was to go and fetch the bread at the village bakery. Then it was to do 10 km, then 50 km and then, why not 100 km? In 2014, between my gap year and doing an exchange programme in Taiwan, my brother and I did a magnificent 4000-km trip that passed through the Alps. I enjoyed it so much that a big one-year journey became one of my life objectives!

When I went to Vietnam in 2015 to do voluntary overseas work with Saint-Gobain, I met my wife, Khanh Nguyen (Léa) and invited her to join me before we got married. She said “yes” right away!

Over a 4-year period in Vietnam, we were always very active in associations and charities, and in particular Poussières de Vie association. This wonderful organization educates and trains children from underprivileged backgrounds. When we met the children, we would often tell them that working hard at school was the best way to be able to follow their dreams later in life.

That’s why our big adventure, our dream, was always going to be about supporting education, and so we decided to try to raise funds for Poussières de Vie ($1 per km).

“Non La” is the Vietnamese word for the round pointed hats you see everywhere in Vietnam! Khanh Nguyen and I will wear one on our bikes for the whole journey.

 

 

 

EA: WHAT DRIVES YOU AND YOUR WIFE ON THIS ADVENTURE? 

TC: First of all the call of the open road: travelling away from cities and major highways, sleeping in a tent in a forest or near a river, living a simple life with few possessions. I often think about the quote from Lucretius (De Natura Rerum):

“O’erwearied to behold the bright clear sky, none designs look upward to those lucent realms”

In big cities with our timetables and our smartphones, our weekend breaks in London or Rome, we quickly forget what matters and our bond with nature. Spending a night in a tent beneath the starry sky is a reminder of our primal state, and for me there is nothing like it to feel alive.

And then of course there’s the people you meet along the way: encounters with new cultures, being lucky enough to be invited to share a meal or spend the night at a local’s home. We’re looking forward to travelling through Iran in particular, a country with incredible hospitality and warm people!

 

EA: HOW HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE AT EDHEC OR WITH THE NETWORK OF GRADUATES HELPED YOU WITH THIS PROJECT? ? 

TC: EDHEC helped me gain self-confidence and to think big! After some wonderful experiences on my gap year (in Singapore) and on an exchange programme (in Taiwan), I developed a limitless love for south-east Asia. Finishing our journey in this region is a major source of motivation!

I have had huge support from the whole EDHEC alumni network in Vietnam, and Jeremy Odoux (EDHEC Alumni Vietnam club ambassador) in particular. Our search for sponsors was made much easier thanks to them and their contacts. My warmest thanks once again to them all.

 

EA: HAVE YOU ANY ADVICE FOR OTHERS FROM EDHEC LOOKING TO TAKE ON AN INTERNATIONAL PROJECT?

TC: Don’t set any limits for yourself at the start. If you really have your heart set on a project, even a very ambitious one that feels like a part of you, you will always find the means and the motivation to achieve it.

Your ambition and your confidence in yourself and your project will come across and convince those you talk to, even the most reluctant among them!

Be humble and get as much advice as you can, particularly from those who have had similar experiences in the past. Be like a sponge. For example, I got some key advice for our cycling project from other enthusiasts whom I contacted directly with a short list of questions, without trying to come across as more experienced than I really was. Be a humble sponge!

 

EA: WHAT’S NEXT? WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FROM THE COMMUNITY OF EDHEC GRADUATES?

TC: We start our journey on 16 April 2019. We aim to arrive 10 months later.

We are counting on the support of the community of EDHEC graduates, not only on social networks (Facebook/Instagram) but also in the countries we will be passing through. We would be delighted to meet members of EDHEC Alumni clubs to share our experience!

We are also looking for potential sponsors (other than for equipment/bikes, which we have already) willing to contribute to this great adventure!

And lastly, we are counting on the generosity of the community of EDHEC graduates to help us raise $16,000, every cent of which will go to Poussières de Vie. The association is developing: it is building a new school and needs our help!

http://poussieresdevie.org/nonlaproject/

 

EA: HOW CAN WE FOLLOW YOUR PROGRESS?

TC: On our website (available in French, English and Vietnamese): https://www.nonlaproject.com/

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/nonlaproject/

Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/nonlaproject/

 

Career change? Moving house?