Is it me, or has this week gone super fast?! How is it Sunday evening already? I think it’s probably been the fastest of lock down so far. Which sucks, because time already goes too fast, I could do without weeks flying by in a flash, taunting me and my lengthy to do list by speeding up on purpose. It was back to work for me after a really rather lovely week off (read about it here), and I had the joy of 502 emails waiting for me on Monday morning – nice.
Not only were there 502 emails, which I did eventually work my way through, but it was also a six-day working week. Just brilliant. As I do whenever I have a teeny moan about work on here, I feel I should say that I don’t dislike my job, and I know I am very fortunate that I’ve been able to continue working (albeit from home) during this lock down period, giving me at least some semblance of normality. But, you know, everyone would rather not have to work, right?! It is most certainly work to live here!
As always, I like to use my weekly blog to talk about the things I get up to in between the day job and the bigger adventures that get their own blog posts, and this week it feels like there wasn’t a whole lot of time for anything. Let’s see where this weekly blog goes…
A Note on Doing it All
I posted this note on twitter and Instagram earlier this week, but I wanted to put it on here too as I strongly believe it to be an important message for myself and for anyone reading my weekly blog this week. With all the announcements about pubs, restaurants, campsites and hotels being allowed to reopen, I felt an overwhelming sense of conflict inside. Desperate to see my family, the sea, to get back to road tripping, to eat out, I was just one click away from booking a trip away very soon indeed. And while I have arranged to visit Lincolnshire to see family as soon as the rules change to say that staying over in someone else’s house is allowed again, I didn’t actually book that road trip – mini or otherwise – because my mind went into overdrive about whether it would or could be any fun at all given the restrictions still in place, and whether it’s just too soon. On the one hand I am very eager to get back to doing the things I love, keen to make up for what feels like lost time, I am also very anxious that campsites, hotels and nice places to visit will become ridiculously busy and basically not very pleasant places to hang out (just look at the photos of Bournemouth beach earlier this week). It’s so hard to know what to do for the best.
Here’s that note, I hope it helps:
Note to self:
You don’t have to “make up” for the last 3 or 4 months of being forced to do nothing by doing all the activities / visiting all the places / going on all the road trips as soon as they open. Zero to everything at once might sound fun, but you will burn out fast.
Equally, choosing to continue to stay at home / stay local / avoid other people is completely fine if you prefer. You don’t have to rush to all the attractions.
The “pressure to do” might seem real. But you can choose to wait a while longer if you like.
If you’ve already booked your first camping trip, planned a road trip with hotel stays, or ordered tickets to do/see/go, then that’s absolutely fantastic. How exciting! I might join you.
But please try not to overwhelm yourself, or others, as you enjoy your own choices.
Remember. Anything and everything we do, at home or further afield, we must do it with love and care – for ourselves and our family, for other people we might meet and see, and especially for our environment.
Leave no trace is more important than ever.
A Memory | The Most Surreal Day of My Life
This week eight years ago I had what I can only describe as the weirdest day of my life (to date…). I often wonder how I ended up standing on Dixon Street in Lincoln holding a torch lit with fire that came all the way from Mount Olympic in Greece, I remember it as though it was yesterday but equally it feels like one of those strange fake memories that you get the morning after a particularly heavy bout of REM sleep.
It was Wednesday 27 June 2012, and I carried the London 2012 Olympic Flame through Lincoln from my very own Olympic Torch, which I can see in the lounge as I write this post from my Poang chair in the corner. There were crowds of people lining the streets, watching, cheering, singing along to the loud music playing, holding banners with my name on. It was so noisy, so busy, really quite overwhelming (much more than I would normally want to cope with). I could definitely make out family, friends and colleagues who’d come to watch which made me smile deep inside – every now and again I’d hear a familiar voice shouting my name, and it made me feel good. And there I was, in the middle of it all, kitted out in my white and gold shellsuit, on what felt like the hottest day of the year, having my photo taken, running my 350-metres in amongst a huge convoy of vehicles, body-guard runners, and police outriders.
It was, without a doubt, the most surreal day of my life. The first and last time I can say I was sponsored by Coca Cola, and an honour to have been a part of such a happy celebration of people doing cool things.
Quite a memory to have, and I hope you don’t mind me reliving it here. You can read more about the story over on this post I wrote at the time if you fancy it.
In the Mail
You know you have good friends when they send you snacks in the post. The lovely Sarah (you should follow The Urban Wanderer, she’ll get you exploring your local towns and cities with her inspirational blog posts), sent me some face cream she’d tried but didn’t get on with but that might be good for my skin, but of course being Sarah it came with a snack – a Nakd Lemon Drizzle bar, no less, which I am not ashamed to say I ate that very morning to fuel my working day. Have you tried those bars? They are so delicious! We fuelled our way through my GetOutside Activity Challenge last September with the various different flavours they have. I wonder, have you been sending postcards and care packages to your friends and family during this weird time of physical distancing? As a recipient of such a package I can confirm it is well worth the time and expense.
I also had a PR delivery from one of my favourite footwear brands. You know I love my outdoorsy shoes! KEEN sent me a pair of their new Terradora II Open Toe Sandals – featured in the header image for this weekly blog. I did get a couple of short walks in them before the storms hit and I like them so far. They’re quite different to my usual go-to sandals, the Teva Originals, in that they have a proper hiking sole and footbed (the same sole and footbed found on the Terradora hiking boots that I know I love), which should make them even more comfortable when out on the trail. I’ll let you know how I get on in a review post when I’ve worn them in properly and had a chance to formulate a real opinion. Do you wear hiking sandals?
My latest audio book listen has been I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (amazon links are affiliate links). Not a particularly easy going read, this is an autobiography that tackles racism, rape, gender-inequality and related topics using Maya’s own story as the context. The book begins when three-year-old Maya and her older brother are sent to Arkansas to live with their grandmother, when the family are regular victims of horrendous racism and as a result Maya has an understandable inferiority complex. At the end of the book (no spoilers here…), Maya becomes a teenage mother but also a confident and dignified young woman capable of responding to prejudice. It’s one of the titles that has been recommended a lot during the Black Lives Matter campaign, and while I am glad to have read it, I have to admit I wish the story was not a true one. Some people are just so incredibly cruel. If you’ve not read it (or listened to it), I suggest you do so, you will learn and you will feel.
I did get a couple of people ask what videos I watch when I talk about going down a YouTube hole. In general I stick to travel related vlogs; I yearn for more opportunities to travel around the world, especially on the road, and watching the stories of others who do this either full or part time fuels the wanderlust. Where I end up is anyone’s guess, but I start with some great vloggers in my subscription feed. I recommend Ellie & Charlie, a British vanlife couple who I found through Eamon and Bec earlier this year, California Through My Lens who I watch for the amazing scenery, and Next Stop Everywhere who decided not to return back home to England in their motorhome when lockdown was instigated in Denmark, and now are back on the road exploring this amazing country. One day I might be able to make my own travel videos again, such as the series we made of our Zartusacan road trip adventure in 2016, but in the meantime I’ll get my kicks watching other people’s.
As always, I’d love to know what you’re using as entertainment at the moment – books, films, especially YouTube channels and videos. Leave me your loves and likes down in the description
I think that’s all I’ve got to say this evening. Thanks for coming over to Splodz Blogz to read my weekly blog. If you enjoyed reading this blog, if you think my weekly blog series is a good idea, and especially if you got to the end of this episode, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Please note that some links on this page are affiliate links (Amazon ones particularly). And I mustn’t forget the vloggers’ catchphrase, seeing as I stole the “weekly” premise of this post from them – please like and subscribe for more posts like this in the future! Come on by next Sunday evening for the next in the series.