They worked on a coffee farm in Nicaragua, ran a hostel on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and worked as chefs at a yoga retreat on the Caribbean coast.

Now a Tauranga couple is taking on their biggest challenge yet raising money for an important cause.

Tash Roberts and Sebastian Wright were cycling from Seattle to New York to raise funds for the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.

The couple set off on May 10 with three other travellers they met recently in Costa Rica, Grace Fursdon from Auckland, Sam Coombs from Christchurch and German man Niklas Mnglsn.

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The journey was likely to take about 80 days to complete.

Speaking to the Bay of Plenty Times from Costa Rica, Roberts said although the first few weeks would be the most difficult, she was looking forward to cycling through the Northern Cascades.

"This road is still currently being ploughed, with huge amounts of snow in the area, which will be absolutely beautiful.

"Overcoming the mental challenges that arise throughout the whole journey is going to be incredibly difficult. We will also be going over the Rocky Mountains, which in itself will be a great test of the legs," Roberts said.

The couple had been travelling through Central America for the past nine months and they had planned to continue through to South America.

After meeting fellow New Zealanders, Fursdon and Coombs, the couple "spontaneously" changed their plans and began preparing to cycle across the US.

"Sam and Grace convinced us to join them on this journey over a couple of drinks. Once we were committed, which didn't take much, we decided that raising funds for a charity would be fitting for such an epic challenge," Roberts said.

"None of us are cyclists, which makes this even more challenging, unpredictable and exciting. We have never done anything like this before so as the start date approaches there are a whole lot of nerves."

Roberts, who attended Tauranga Girls' College, said the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand was the group's charity of choice as mental health was something many New Zealanders were "deeply affected by".

Sebastian Wright and Tash Roberts will be cycling from Seattle to New York to raise funds for the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. Photo/ Supplied
Sebastian Wright and Tash Roberts will be cycling from Seattle to New York to raise funds for the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. Photo/ Supplied

"It's a widespread issue within New Zealand that has a big stigma and not a lot of understanding.

"By raising funds and awareness for such an amazing cause, people can learn more about it. And our country can provide services to help create positive wellbeing and mental health within our country," Roberts said.

With about 6500km ahead of them, the group hoped to raise at least $1 for every kilometre they cycle.

Mental Health Foundation chief executive, Shaun Robinson, said the foundation valued any fundraising efforts.

"The money raised through events such as this helps to ensure more Kiwis can enjoy positive mental health and wellbeing and feel supported during tough times."

How can awareness of the foundation help?
Every year, one in five Kiwis experiences a mental health problem. Raising awareness through fundraising efforts can be effective – anything that shines a light on mental health can help to break down stigma, reduce discrimination, increase understanding, boost wellbeing, prevent suicide and help people to feel comfortable to reach out for help if they need it.


To donate, visit- https://givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/biking-from-seattle-to-new-york