In August of last year I saw a post from Pedal the Pacific saying there is an interest form on the website, and that if you were at all interested in maybe, possibly applying to be a part of the 2019 team, then you could go and fill it out, and after a few days, they would send an application to anyone who did so. Without even thinking about it I clicked the link and filled out the interest form. I had no idea what I had just done, but I knew that if I wanted to continue this process I needed to do it for the right reasons. I had to ask myself why I felt the need to pursue something as crazy as cycling down the west coast for 6 weeks to raise awareness about child sex trafficking. A couple of the reasons had to do with my younger sister and future generations: I want them to grow up in a world without slavery, and without a chance of having their childhood and innocence stolen from them. Other reasons had to do with justice: I believe we should fight for those the world doesn’t see. The populations that get overlooked and go unseen. The last few reasons I came up with had to do with the fact that I am empathetic to a fault: Seeing the pain and heartbreak of others hurts my heart in a way I can’t explain, but is such a driving force in my life, always urging me to continue the fight. All of these reasons are great, but what I’ve realized is they all boil down to one thing: love.
My name is Chloe Stringer and I am riding because we all deserve a chance to love and to be loved.
If there’s anything I’ve learned about myself in my 20 years on Earth, it’s that I am driven in all aspects of my life by love. I knew as a child that I was loved. My parents have never failed to support me and have made sure that I know that they would love me unconditionally. They listened to me and helped me and told me all they wanted for me in life was happiness. I also knew that there were other children who didn’t know they were loved. Maybe nobody told them they were loved, or maybe nobody showed up for them so it seemed like an empty phrase when said, or maybe they didn’t have anybody to tell them. Either way, it wasn’t their fault. They had no control over their own situations. These are the children I am fighting for, these are the lives I am fighting to change. I am riding because children are being manipulated, sometimes, by people who tell them “I love you”. I’m riding because I want these children to know what an unconditional love is like. I’m riding because the fight to end child sex-trafficking is rooted in love and that is worth fighting for.
I never thought that I would be doing something like this. When I finally turned in the application I kept telling myself, “I’m not a person of action. I am encouraging and strong and I believe in justice, but I am not a person of action,” and yet here I am; getting ready to cycle down the west coast to give children a better world to live in. I can’t explain to you how grateful I am to have this opportunity, it has opened my eyes to what taking action looks like. I have learned that being “a person of action” isn’t a personality trait. It’s a choice. All I had to do was choose to turn in that application, and by doing that I am able to fight for the well-being of so many children, so that they may feel loved. So, this is me. Call me a hippie, but I really do believe love, and a little bit of prayer, is all you need.