It has been a little while since my last post – and for that I can only apologise. Since returning from Scandinavia (four months ago) things have been pretty hectic. Or at least they have felt that way – in reality they haven’t been too bad – but expectations have had to be managed, health has had to be checked and jobs have had to be done. I’m glad to say I have had a (somewhat unconvincing) all clear from the doctors just this week, I’m working with an incredible team for a pretty epic mountain film festival company and many jobs have either been done, or are a working progress. And that – for me – is good enough.
So why the post?
I recently declared that I would be off to Ghana – with a charity (Kicking Off) – and then mentioned very little about the details. But fear not, I have finally found the time to explain – so sit back and enjoy the story of quite how – just 6 weeks ago – I suddenly became part of a small team heading out to Ghana (this weekend) to organise and run a charity football tournament. Exciting – I know.
To understand fully we need to travel back in time (metaphorically of course) to mid January. A time of year infamous for being awful and for the first time, this year – I think I’d have to agree. I was back in the real world, back in a proper job and struggling to readjust. Before setting out on the run last year I was convinced that going away would clear my mind, teach me what was important and what to pursue, and that upon my return I would be a new person, full of purpose, full of vision.
That, unfortunately was not the case. Don’t get me wrong, whilst I was running, it did seem like the case. I had time to think things through properly. I had no distractions other than trying to keep myself alive and when I finished I did actually feel like I had a vision. I remember sitting in a hotel in Hamburg the day after the run and feeling like I could conquer the world. This feeling lasted a few weeks once I returned home, but gradually, I became aware that although I have identified a change within myself, nothing else has changed. The world (of course) carried on in it’s own way when I was away, and continued to do so when I got home. It sounds over dramatic but it is honestly something I have been struggling with. Suddenly I felt like even if I did conquer the world, it wouldn’t have the impact I was looking for, and that things would continue on as they always have, regardless of my actions.
Basically, I was in a pretty dark place.
Running, which once was the bane of my life, has now become my escape from this. But when you are working full time, trying to put together talks, write, and contribute to family life, there’s not an awful lot of time left for running. And so, as you might expect, mid January saw me at a low.
But then something incredible happened. I received a phone call from an old friend, or ‘frenemy’ as he put it. I hadn’t seen Julian since we were teenagers, and I guess he is right in saying that we were frenemies – Julian was always the one laughing and joking around with the cool kids and I was just me. Weird.
Kids will be kids. However as a (really mature) grown up, I was delighted to hear from him and also a little touched that he’d thought to contact me – even if I was a back up plan. I was also shocked to hear that he didn’t sound how I remembered in the slightest – perhaps an added level of maturity, or more likely the effects of a couple of years down in London. Either way – we chatted over the phone – one of my biggest fears – and he basically said he was short of one person for a trip to Ghana. In yet another one of those moments of realisation where I am taught that most of my peers have it a lot more ‘together’ than I currently do, or probably ever will, he explained he is setting up a charity and that this trip was the pilot of hopefully many more to come. The trip doctor had had to pull out last minute and he needed someone determined and persistent (his words) and ballsy and awesome (my words) to fill the post. It took me all of two seconds to decide that I wanted to go – and I think even Julian was a little shocked at how keen I was.
I had two things holding me back – one is that I would have to negotiate some time off work during our busiest time – the other was that the trip was self funded – so I’d have to budget carefully to make it happen. Not one of my strongest points, however once I was given the all clear from work I couldn’t stop myself saying yes. Hence why the next time you see me I’ll still be wearing the trainers from Oslo (they’ve probably covered >2000km) and be in my favourite pair of threadbare jeans. Definitely worth it though.
So that was me – all signed up and raring to go. Little did I know there would be more to it than that – but for now all I had to do was hand over some money for the flights and I was going to Africa. In six months time. With a bunch of strangers. Suddenly I had another way of coming out of my low. Something to focus on and look forward to. And for that (and a whole load of less selfish reasons) I can tell this trip will have been worthwhile, even before I’ve got out there.
Part two – ‘What’ – should be published soon. However for more frequent updates of how we are getting on, please feel free to check out my Instagram or Facebook page – links to which should appear on the right hand side!