Winston Fiore's mission is about to go to another level

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Fiore has always been a searcher and seeker. He spent a year with AmeriCorps, then entered the military, joining the Marine Corps, where he was deployed in 2010 with the 1st Infantry Battalion in Afghanistan.


It was while he was in Afghanistan that he made the most of his down time, contacting members of the media about his planned 2011 summer tour (including CL).


He never was a big hiker, but he's made up for it quickly. In 2008, he walked from Madrid to Barcelona, and in 2009, he walked from Santiago, Chile to Luyaba, Argentina.


His new journey begins at the end of this month will kick off in Singapore, then head north from Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, into China. Then back through Taiwan, the Philippines , then back west through Malaysia and then returns back to Singapore.


He'll be traveling alone, as he has in the past. CL asked Fiore if that was difficult. He admitted it can be challenging.


"You pile on through in that first phase, that first week. And then you begin remembering songs that you thought you had forgotten. And then you begin thinking random things," he said, playing out different scenarios in his mind.


"I'm a very social creature by nature, I love talking with people," he said, and because he speaks Spanish he was okay when traveling in Spain and Argentina. But he doesn't speak any of the common languages that are used in Southeast Asia, though he says he understands that English is not completely a foreign tongue in those areas.


According to his website, smiletrek.org, Fiore has raised $12,189 in monies to pay for his cause, which is paying for facial reconstructive surgeries in the developing world. 100 percent of the funds Fiore collects will go to the International Children's Surgical Foundation.


CL asked Fiore what his parents think about their globetrotting, wanderlust filled son?


"They've become immune to my crazy adventure ideas," he laughed.

  • Winston Fiore

Last month Winston Fiore breezed through Tampa in his motorcycle, making speeches at several different Rotary clubs about his mission: helping kids in South Asia with cleft palates.

It was part of an extremely grass roots national tour that began the first week of July: raising money and consciousness about the issue, which will conclude in the U.S. later this month, but then go into a completely different realm - a 5,000 mile solo hike through Southeast Asia that will last a year.

"Cleft is one of those short things that hits hard in developing countries....a couple of hours of a surgeon's time can make a huge difference, and so I decided to raise money for this cause," he told CL when he visited Tampa in early August.

Fiore, a 26-year-old Indiana native, first conceived of the idea of what he calls the Smile Trek back in 2007 when he spent time in Senegal, and decided then and there that he wanted to do two things: dedicate a year of his life to traveling through a part of the world that he hadn't been to; and also doing something positive about some of the abject poverty he observed while in Africa.

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