Yanise Ho believes wholeheartedly in the goodness of people. She has so much faith in it, in fact, that she’s effectively put her life in the hands of strangers.
“I truly believe that the world is not as dangerous as a lot of people perceive it to be,” Ho said. “I feel like I can just go out without fear because there are so many good people around me.”
And she’s setting out to prove her theory. Ho, a 21-year-old Hong Kong native, is currently rollerblading from Savannah to Miami with no money and no guarantee of shelter. She is depending entirely on the goodness of others to get by.
“It’s about 600 miles. I’m doing it without any money at all. This is actually a mini trip to what I’m going to do in March. In March, I’m going to rollerblade from Germany to Asia to set a world record. That will be 13,000 kilometers (8,770 miles),” she said during a stop in Brunswick.
“The idea is the same, though. I won’t have any money. There will be a film crew following me but they aren’t allowed to help me at all.”
Every day, Ho will be traveling solely on wheels and faith. She will knock on doors to find places to sleep and rely on others for food. And while she’s only on day four, Ho has been inspired by the kindness she’s already unearthed along her journey.
“I never really ask for (help). But I will knock on doors and share my story and if people want to give me something out of the goodness of their heart, I’ll take it,” she said.
“But the reason I’m doing it is to prove that there is so much kindness in this world. And there is ... from day one to day two to day three and (Thursday) is day four, I’ve met so many kind people who just come up to me and hug me ... and tell me that they love me. It’s been amazing.”
So far she’s stayed with a single mom and her small child as well as a man who felt a bit isolated. Ho says being a stranger offers her a number of advantages that allow her to connect with people in a special way.
“I feel like it’s also my job as a stranger to be in people’s life for a brief moment and help them in a way that only a stranger could,” Ho said.
And she certainly knows how it feels to be a stranger, cut off from others. Ho has lived on her own since she was 16. She has studied and lived in dozens of places across the world, becoming a multi-lingual, world citizen. In fact, she speaks Cantonese, Mandarin, Italian, English and Spanish.
“I was born and raised in Hong Kong, and I went to high school in Italy. I went to college in Washington State and then I went to California. I lived in Central America and Europe for six months, backpacking,” she said. “Then I moved to New York. I was just in Canada for a couple of months to train and just lived.”
The rollerblade training came fast and furious. Ho has only been at it for a few months but has covered a lot of ground in that time.
“This is actually the first time I’ve had shoes on in a week,” she said with a laugh.
Ho’s plan has attracted attention and she connected with a documentary film crew who will follow her journey in March. She will blade solo down the East Coast to Miami, covering roughly 40 miles per day on her three week journey. From there, Ho will depend on faith again to get her back home to Hong Kong.
“I’d like to spend Christmas with my family,” she said with a smile.
Anyone can follow and help her reach that goal by donating to her CrowdRise Account, which currently totals $70. She also has a website https://thebladress.com as well as Facebook and Instagram accounts under the same moniker.
And while her journey might prompt worry and concern in many, Ho herself has no doubt.
“The world is a reflection of who we are; in trusting, we are trusted; in loving, we are loved. In having faith, we lose fear and hatred,” she said with a smile.