Life is all about the journey. But sometimes everyday life gets in the way of taking a specific path, however awesome it might sound.
I’m talking about the Visit England campaign to find someone to tour the country (all expenses paid) and blog/tweet/photograph/video it for 12 weeks this summer. The lucky traveller will get to follow the Olympic Torch as it makes its way through England, finding out what is so great about our fair land, and telling everyone about their experiences along the way. And it sounds incredible. I’d love it. The travelling, the writing, seeing different places, trying out different things, learning loads about this place where I was born. Look – http://enjoyengland.typepad.com/fan-in-a-van/2012/03/englands-biggest-fan.html – what a wonderful opportunity for someone who loves writing and wants to get a bit of adventure. It would be an amazing opportunity for me. It would be something never to forget.
But the fact is I’m not really what they’re looking for. They’re looking for someone who is not doing anything for 12 weeks from mid-May… someone young… someone willing to throw themselves into the task without a second glance behind them. Even the web address for applications is something to do with students. And of course as a 31 year old home-owning full-time-employed married hobby-blogging sensible person, I don’t fit into that. Several people have made suggestions such as taking a sabbatical, which I appreciate because it means people believe that I could do it, but it doesn’t help the fact that there is no way “all expenses paid” includes my mortgage. Or that I would actually miss my husband a great deal.
I sit and wonder what would happen if I felt confident enough to drop everything and go for that opportunity. Assuming I got through the selection process and was the one chosen to take the trip, I imagine myself in that camper van, driving through some of the best scenery the country has to offer. I would eat proper pasties in Helston, pork pies in Melton Mowbray, Bakewell Tarts in Bakewell, sausages in Lincoln. I would surf at Fistral Beach, jet wash an elephant at Longleat, ride Rita Queen of Speed at Alton Towers, take a trip in a boat along the Norfolk Broads. I’d visit Buckingham Palace, Dover Castle, St Michael’s Mount, Blackpool Tower. All the time telling the world about my fantastic journey. What an amazing three months it would be!
But I’m not. Risk taking can be very expensive – personally, professionally and financially. And while I most likely have a Type A personality, I’m not so far to that end of the scale I will go for things whatever the cost. Which is probably why I just plod through life enjoying the moment but never making a real statement. This experience has been designed for an undergraduate student wanting some fun for three months after their exams. Not for me.
I guess it’s the same as the old dream I have of becoming a Blue Peter presenter (I’d make an awesome Blue Peter presenter!). It just ain’t gonna happen. Because I’m too old and too sensible.
But… I do love adventure and experiencing new things. I just have to keep my plans a tad smaller than 12 weeks in a camper van. A few years ago I created my ultimate to do list – a long and ever-expanding list of little adventures I want to have. My bucket list if you like. Some are tiny – like eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich; others are massive – like go on a motorbike tour across the West of the USA. Some are about learning things – like ice skating backwards; others are about raising money for charity – like taking part in a trek up Kilimanjaro or somewhere equally as challenging. Some are about travel – such as visiting Niagara Falls; others are all about adrenaline – like wing walking.
Since I wrote my list I’ve crossed loads of things off. I’ve done a tandem skydive, a bungee jump, walked several marathons, been in the audience of a TV show, had a photo published, done jet skiing (best thing so far!), learnt to surf and ski, completed a Masters degree, ridden a Harley-Davidson from John O’Groats to Land’s End (a number of things in one go there!), and loads more. I’ve blogged about many of those things. And the list is always growing, I’m always adding things, and am always planning when I can turn the next thing green.
I might be too old and too sensible for a massive “leave everything behind” kind of adventure, but I’m loving life with all my little challenges and experiences. And I hope you’ll still read my blog even if I’m not a full time blogger taking part in the adventure of a lifetime. Oh wait, I am taking part in the adventure of a lifetime – I am taking part in my own journey.
So thank you Visit England for giving me something to dream about. This particular thing might be unobtainable for me in my current situation, but it doesn’t stop me (or anyone else for that matter) living in the moment and doing unforgettable things.
Life is all about the journey. Bring on where ever it takes me next!