Posts tagged journey
I noticed yesterday that we were inundated with Easter messages. I can understand the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope giving us some words to live by, but even David Cameron had one. I might be a day late but I thought I’d share something thoughtful with you.
Yesterday I was reminded, again, that life is all about the journey. It’s great to have something to aim for, an aim, a purpose; but we must remember that what we do now also matters.
I took the sunset snap above out of the car window yesterday evening. The sky looked awesome as we travelled home, the end of one day and the promise of another. As I sat in the car watching the sun disappear I made plans in my head of what I was going to do with my Bank Holiday Monday; I decided to do something with my free day off so I didn’t get to the end of the day and feel that I had wasted it. I might not make much progress towards my big dreams within the next 24 hours, but I can make the most of the hours I am given and spend them smiling.
A journey consists of every single step. It also includes every word that you utter and every person you speak to. It is affected by the attitude you chose to have when you wake up each morning. A journey involves not only every mile you travel, but also every minute you sit still; resting is vital if we are to get where we want to go in one piece, but we cannot risk going backwards or missing our next connection. A journey takes great planning and preparation, but can also be spontaneous.
Life is all about the journey. Where are you going? How are you getting there?
Oh – and here’s one of my “Easter” bunnies for good measure!
Life is all about the journey. This has been my mantra for a long time. It is something I believe. Something I strive to remember daily. Something that prompts me to focus on things and enjoy them to the full. I wear it on my blog. I wear it on my wrist. It’s on my iPad case. If I had a tattoo it I would wear it on my skin (it’s ok mum, I’m not going to do that!).
I’ve written about it a few times on here before, naturally. And I really hope that it comes across to people who know me in real life too. It’s the whole point of my things to do list. And it’s the reason I get up every morning. Because life is made up of every day, every moment, every step.
Recently a couple of people I know have embarked on massive adventures. They are very different kinds of adventures, but for both they have taken over their every moment and will with no doubt whatsoever change their lives forever. Both have commented that they think about pretty much nothing else. And both have inspired me.
One has become a mummy. You remember Michelle from Operation Threadbare? I was partly responsible for her year long challenge to stop buying clothes and shoes. A self-confessed fashion lover and shopaholic she didn’t find it easy at all. But one thing made it a whole lot harder than anticipated… during Operation Threadbare Michelle became pregnant with her first child (and no, we didn’t even let her buy maternity clothes!). She gave birth to a baby girl nearly two weeks ago now, and her adventure as a mother is well underway. She has evolved her Operation Threadbare blog into “It’s All Normal” and I can recommend her posts – if you want an insight into what kind of adventure becoming a mum is, you should read what she has to say.
The other is about to embark on a round the world trip of a lifetime. Tara has handed in her notice at work and booked round the world air tickets to take her to some amazing places. She’s going to start in Africa and is planning to visit China and South East Asia later this year and early next year. She’s been and had some injections already, and has been researching endlessly. As part of her trip she is going to do some volunteer work – her first project will be as an Education and Community Development intern in Zambia. Fabulous. Oh and she’s also going to run in every country she visits and take a travel photo a day while she’s away – you can follow what she’s up to on Rise and Shine, Paps.
There is no other way to describe what my friends are doing than adventure. I guess I’ve got a bit of the green eyed monster about me when I look at them and when I read their blogs. I am so pleased for them both, and I want some of what they’re having. It’s not the specific adventure I crave; I’m not ready for motherhood and I am in no position to give up my house and car and job and jet off around the world, but I see in them real motivation and real spirit. They are both facing their chosen adventure with elegance and grace, and most importantly they are going for it with everything they’ve got. That is the key I think; they have chosen their path and are following it with their head and their heart. I love that about them.
In my day job I have the absolute pleasure of being allowed to help encourage and advise young people on what they might want to do in the next step of their lives. When I’m given the opportunity I always tell them to choose their next step based on something they love. We always do better when we put everything into what we’re doing, and we only put everything into what we’re doing when we are doing something we love. My problem, and I’m well aware of my downfall, is that I want to do everything. And in fact I know I can’t. I can’t put everything I have into everything I want to do, that is simply impossible. So I have to start choosing my adventures more carefully. I can (and will) continue to have lots and lots of experiences (that things to do list is not going anywhere!), but I must spend time and effort on fewer things in order to get more out of them. There are never enough hours – choosing what to spend mine on has to be done wisely.
So Michelle and Tara, I hope you don’t mind me using you as the subject of this blog post. Thank you for inspiring me with your attitude to adventure. Keep writing those blogs and enjoy every moment of the path in life you are taking. Here’s to adventure!
The Graham Homes Memorial Ride will be 2,000+ miles of Great British roads over a week at the end of May 2013, raising money for two cancer charities. It will be our biking tribute to Graham, my father in law, recreating something of our John O’Groats to Land’s End trip in 2009, while hopefully making a difference to someone else (and their family) by fundraising.
LincsGeek and I will be joined by four friends, there will five bikes in total, and all of us are keen to raise a decent sum of money for charity. We have chosen Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support as the beneficiaries of our ride. They say cancer affects everyone in some way. Well it affected us in a massive way last summer, and it seems only right that we use this trip to do at least something to try and make a difference to other people who find themselves going through anything like this.
The challenge will take us to the furthest points east, south, west and north of Great Britain (in that order – we’ve decided to go clockwise). We’ve not set our route quite yet, but we like to think we will be able to see a little of the best scenery Great Britain has to offer on our journey (life is all about the journey, after all) and create some new memories on the way.
I have set up a blog that will include everything associated with the bike trip – updates, photographs, profiles, fundraising, information and so on – it will be the place to go for everything GVH Ride focussed. We would love it if you went over to the Graham Homes Memorial Ride blog, subscribe either by email or by putting us in your reader, and share what we’re doing with your friends and family. There’s a link in my side bar too just in case you need it. And of course, most of all, we would appreciate it an awful lot if you’d get out fundraising off the ground by donating. We’ve set up a page on Virgin Money Giving to make it really easy to give money. Thanks!
Remember THIS POST where I spoke about being too old and too sensible for the adventure that was becoming Visit England’s “Fan in a Van”?
It turns out I was wrong. Yes, I know! Visit England weren’t looking for a student. They chose a 30-year-old who has put her life on hold to take part in the trip of a lifetime. Fantastic! I love that they chose someone a little bit like me to do this thing – I am obviously a teeny bit jealous it isn’t actually be but I can’t complain as I didn’t submit an application! But genuinely, I am pleased that the lovely Rachel Kershaw from Lancashire was deemed England’s biggest fan and is now a little way into her trip.
Quite simply, Rachel, 30, wowed the judges with her passion for England and her zest for life. She was plucked from a shortlist of 12 wannabe Fan in a Vans. The judging panel, which included Lady Cobham,VisitEngland’s chairman, Martin Dorey, author of The Camper Van Coast Book, and Sally Shalam, brit-centric travel journalist, chose Rachel after viewing her entry video, photograph and reading her description of favourite place in England (Newcastle upon Tyne, if you’re interested).
Rachel seems to be having loads of fun already – she’s been walking, cycling, surfing, eating, creating, visiting – experiencing some of the best things England has to offer. She is vaguely following the route of the Olympic torch relay (when it’s in England!).
Do you use TomTom on your iPhone? If you do, then you’ll have recently had to download quite a large update to the app – including updated maps as well as some other updated/new features.
One of the features has been included for people just like me. People who’d rather not take the route everyone else takes. People who are as interested in the journey as they are in the destination. People who ride motorbikes.
Added into the route options alongside fastest, shortest and avoid motorways is a new type… winding roads.
As an example I did a very quick route from the centre of Lincoln to Newark. This is very straightforward trip along the A46, which is dual carriageway all the way once you’re out of the city. TomTom said on Friday lunchtime (using IQ Routes) it would take 26 minutes and I would travel 14.8 miles. Changing the setting to “winding roads” I ended up with a much more scenic route taking 39 minutes and taking me 18.7 miles through some of Lincolnshire’s villages.
Okay so the chances are that if I wanted to go to Newark from Lincoln I would always use the A46, but thinking about holidays and Saturday ride-outs this winding roads option is going to get well used. It will be lovely to take a relaxed biker-friendly route through the countryside taking in the sights and lolloping around the corners. A very nice addition to the application, thanks TomTom.
Actually I haven’t mentioned it on Splodz Blogz before but I really do like the TomTom iPhone app. It’s an excellent navigation system. I don’t use sat nav on my motorbike, I tend to pre-plan routes and memorise them, but I do use the TomTom app to help with the planning before I go. The app works brilliantly on iPad too which makes planning even easier with the bigger screen.
In the car and for planning it beats my Garmin Nuvi (bought because our very old TomTom burnt out and it was the best spec option for the money we had at the time) hands down. And I don’t have to take a separate piece of kit in the car or away with me. It is draining on the battery though so an in-car charger is a must if you don’t have the proper TomTom cradle.
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!