I wanted to record the milestones of my metaphorical journey from annual walking holidays and occasional bimbles up hills to knowing that the most important thing for me to work towards was spending a year outside walking, cycling and camping.
I tried to organise the events in my journey in a chronological order, but that didn’t work so instead I thought about them like this –
- Significant with hindsight
- Epiphany moments
And that made a lot more sense. When I thought about the events, I was struck by how many were people being generous, enthusiastic and kind by taking an interest in my half-formed ideas and sharing knowledge that they thought would be useful. How inspirational conversations took place when I least expected them. How wanting to connect with like-minded people who seemed to share my values pushed me outside my comfort zone by not letting these people just pass me by.
Evolution – moving forward slowly but surely on my journey. Gradually moving into new communities of interest – Facebook groups, podcasts, newsletters about travelling, personal development and adventure. Setting my goals (currently exercise every day, live adventurously and plan my trip) and working towards them every day. Building the foundations that will make my dream possible through knowledge, connections, experiences and a series of small events.
Meeting someone – a self-declared protagonist – who told me about micro-adventures and who introduced me to some life-changing reading.
Meeting someone – a genuine protagonist who told me about elegant frugality and cycling.
Going to the Do Breakthrough workshops and telling 49 other people that I’m going to leave my job and do what I really want to do.
Starting to save money for the first time in my life.
Starting to journal every day. It really does make a difference to what you focus on and what you don’t.
Discovering the Tough Girl podcast and Tribe- what a group of absolute legends! I dare anyone to disagree with Sarah Williams’ mission.
Using the time inside provided by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown to apply myself to route planning and it turns out that in a couple of lockdown enforced afternoons indoors with everything the world wide web can offer I can make huge progress.
Telling people about my plan, and being entertained by their reactions.
Significant with hindsight events – the things I remember when I look back thinking how did I get here? For me these events have mainly been meeting someone and the conversations we’ve had. Something they’ve said has made me decide to act or set me off in a particular direction. When I look back at these conversations they seem to have only been with men! What’s that all about? Sorry, guys, I love you all, but I wish there had been more actual women – not just the ones I listened to in podcasts or read about in magazines! More women in the future please.
A chance conversation with a work colleague about how he has done at least one wild camp and one wild swim a month that year. I vowed to do the same and started with a New Year’s Day swim in the North Sea and a snowy camp on a favourite nearby hill, which connected me into the fabulous community of Adventure Queens.
Being excruciatingly brave and thanking Alastair Humphreys at the Night of Adventure for the micro-adventures inspiration. I got a top tip about the Trans-Caucasian Trail and it started (sorry Alastair) an irregular but generous-with-time email correspondence, which really has made a difference to how I see myself and what I’m capable of.
Epiphany moments – my favourite. The lightning strike of complete clarity that enables you to make a decision in seconds and jet propels you along your evolving journey. They don’t come along very often, which is probably just as well as they can cause alarm in others.
Having a moment of complete clarity clambering up the side of a glacier in Nepal – I’m going to spend my 50th year walking and I’m not going on a plane in that year.
Deciding to never plan to travel by aeroplane again.
Finally deciding where I will go in my year of walking. Then realising that you can’t walk to Nepal in 6 months, so turn walking into ‘human powered’. And then again into ‘mostly human powered’ when I realise how big Kazakhstan is, even if travelling across it by bicycle.
All of these events are a vital part of my metaphorical journey, which is also one of personal development. I have the dream of a trip of a lifetime but that will be just the start of how I want to live my future life. My own principles and values, and those of others, are now what I use as anchors, signposts, guiding stars, bullshit alerts and inspiration in my life.
More of this in a future post.