Laos Cycle: A Girl With 150 Toothbrushes

Have you ever wondered why Bobby Pins are called Bobby Pins?  I hadn’t given it much thought until working down my list of things to pack for my trip to Laos for the Save the Children Mother’s Day Cycle Challenge.   Well, now I know: The name stems from the use of such pins to hold the 1920’s bob cut hairstyle…which is totally unrelated to this post.  Maybe I wanted to start with something trivial because it’s been tough getting to this point.

Last night, I cried.  After a huge week, I didn’t feel like I could do it all, everything from organising food and washing, to getting the house sorted and my own personal packing.  After the younger kids were in bed, I sat, feeling defeated.  On top of it all, I carry the joyous burden of being a mother. I miss the kids when I go away, I worry, and the work it takes to make something like this happen…is…a mammoth job.

I think I may have said something along the lines of, “I don’t want to go.”  Maybe to myself. And my eldest daughter came up behind me and lay a hand on my shoulder.  She said, “Mum, I want you to go.  You’ve been training so hard and it would be a shame if you didn’t go and do this.”  She went on to tell me how proud she was of me.  Right now, I can’t think of anything more beautiful than the words of my daughter encouraging me.  To have her confidence, to see her pride in me, is something I will never, ever take for granted.

So I had my mini-meltdown, and then rested and regrouped.  The morning came, as it does, and everything seemed a little brighter. I threw myself into it and here I am, ready to go. Still a little apprehensive, but that’s normal for me.


I like to lay things out in piles as I pack so I can see clearly what I have.

packing list

(In my) Suitcase

Pillow slip & a sheet (handy for remote places)


Camera Bag

Everyday clothes

Cycling clothes

Cycling gear

Shoes (sneakers & 2 pairs of mox shoes — awesome for travelling)





Spare zip-lock bags




Power cord adaptor (for relevant country)





Norwex face clothes

Dry shampoo




Face moisturiser cream

BB cream (Clarins)

Pressed powder

Lip gloss


Pot of bronzer/eyeshadow

(In my) Backpack

Small laptop


Money wallet

Travel documents



Borne Naked Clear Mini bag

Papaw ointment



Hair ties

Bobby Pins


Lip gloss


Hand sanitizer


Medicine (pain relief, anti-malaria tablets)

150 Toothbrushes

Did I mention I have an entire suitcase dedicated t0 toothbrushes? 150 of them.  My children think it’s hilarious.  Carrying all these Oral B toothbrushes (gifted by P & G) for the children I’ll visit in Laos, makes me glad.

oral b toothbrushes


On my run route near home, there’s this torturous hill — long and steep — right near the end.  I’ve never been able to run up the entire way until this week. *Fist Pump*

I’ve been consistently training, especially for the last 2 months — 5-6 times every week (Group PT sessions and running).  I’m feeling ready to do this cycle.

training times 4

This post is all over the place — I’m weary — but I’m packed! I can’t wait to share more from Laos next week. Watch out for me.  I’m the girl with 150 toothbrushes.


You can follow along the journey with me on Twitter & Instagram using the #LaosCycle13 hashtag

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  • Reply
    May 12, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Every kid loves a new toothbrush. Have fun watching the faces of those kids.

  • Reply
    Deb @home life simplified
    May 12, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Good luck Kelly. So great that your family are encouraging you xx

  • Reply
    May 13, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    hope you have an amazing time.

  • Reply
    May 13, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Kelly you are amazing. I have no doubt in my mind that you totally inspire your beautiful children being the mother you are and by stepping out and taking this amazing adventure. You are teaching them to give and help others and to be a mum who lives her dreams – this is priceless. Have a wonderful time and just be you cause where ever you go you make a beautiful difference in this world.

  • Reply
    fiona chandler
    May 13, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Good Luck. You CAn do it. if anyone can you can. Leave the guilt aside instead think of how inspiring this is for your kids. a goal, an aim for a great cause.
    I look forward to hearing more

  • Reply
    Kellie (stylishkellie)
    May 15, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Best of luck, Kel! I’m sure you will do awesomely (is that a word? lol)!!! You are such an inspiration to so many Mums, you CAN do this. xx

  • Reply
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