It’s never too late

I was pondering a blog post just now when up pops a link on the computer to a video considering what makes us happy. It was narrated by Stephen Fry and that’s enough to make me happy in itself. That man could wax lyrical about root canal fillings and I think I would still enjoy listening to it. But I digress. The video was actually promoting, or simply explaining the principals of Humanism and as such might not be to the taste of a lot of God fearing people but the message at the end of it must surely appeal to everyone. That message was that we only have one life on this earth and surely the best way to make ourselves happy is to live that life to the full. To make the most of our precious slot in what ever way fulfills us. Provided, of course, that it doesn’t harm anybody else in the process.

Which brings me back to my thoughts for this post. Over the last few days several people have made the same comment about our adventure. They have told me that what we are doing is generally a very good thing and that we are wise to do it now while we are still young enough to enjoy it. I believe they are genuinely happy for us but in every case I sensed that their kind words came tinged with a hint of regret. Regret for what they never did and a conviction that now it is too late. Many of these people were older and consequently wiser than I am but I would respectfully suggest that they may be missing the point slightly.

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You see the mistake is to look at what somebody else is doing, or is about to do and to lament the fact that you can’t do the same. But the same isn’t the point. It’s the essence of what we are doing that matters. Just because age, money or circumstance means that you can’t ride around Britain on a bike doesn’t mean that you can’t have your own equally satisfying, life changing adventure. Not a bit of it. We can’t ride around the world because we have commitments and insufficient funds but you don’t have to ride around the world, or Britain, or anywhere else to bring about change. It is change that is at the heart of our plan. Changing where we live, meeting new people, changing our jobs and how we think about our lives. Any or all of these changes can come from a thousand different journeys. They don’t have to be by bike or cover enormous distances. They just have to provide enough of a challenge to jolt you from the now. To create a shift of perspective that allows you to see your world through new eyes.

I believe there is just one common requirement in whatever it is that you decide to do. It must take you out of your comfort zone because only then will it bring about that change. But there are as many ways to stretch yourself as there are individuals contemplating the idea so let your imagination fly.

As so many have said before; at the end of your life you won’t be worrying about what you did do, but rather, what you didn’t do.


Out of the darkness

As I write the rain is lashing down outside but I’m happy. Not because I’m warm and cosy inside but because today is the shortest day of the year, the Winter solstice. There is the promise of ever increasing daylight just around the corner and eventually Spring. According to Stephen Fry the Spring moves up the country from Lands End to John O’ Groats over a period of two months so we should catch it up somewhere around the north of Scotland in late May. I shall enjoy watching it make it’s slow but stately progress through Lancashire as we make our final preparations.

In the mean-time there have been several significant events that make our adventure ever more tangible. The first was really a bit of boyish indulgence in the form of a gadget purchase. My Nexus 7 tablet PC was delivered a couple of weeks ago and I am busy getting to grips with it. I don’t want this to turn into a technology review so I won’t bore you with technical statistics but rather simply say that it’s geeky goodness through and through. The high quality graphics and amazing sound quality are, of course, essential features required to enable me to type this blog on our travels and nothing simpler, cheaper or lighter would have done the job.

No going back now

No going back now

The second, and somewhat more concrete development, was the arrival of five hundred printed cards advertising our trip and web site. These are intended to make it easier to pass on our contact details to anybody who is interested but seeing it all in print has a certain “gulp, this is really happening” kind of effect. I have only given one out so far but it had the consequence of making me feel ever so slightly nervous about the prospect of not actually making it around Britain. Multiply that by a factor of five hundred and the pressure is really on. On that subject I read on Bicycle Touring Pro website that the number one fear of all people setting off on a long cycle tour is that of not finishing it. Not rabid dogs or wild axe men as you might have expected after all.

Finally, we had a good friend over for dinner last week to discuss the choice of charities for our fund raising efforts. There are more details on the dedicated fund raising page but essentially we are going to raise a bit of cash for two charities that were close to the heart of our friend’s wife who died recently. I am currently waiting for responses from the charities to ensure we go about it the correct way but I sense that once they have given us their blessing that will turn the pressure screws another couple of notches.

I may have been temporarily deflected from such things as blogging and house clearing by the demands of seasonal work but it doesn’t mean that the trip has been edged from my conscious. Quite the opposite; I’m beginning to feel the tiniest quiver of butterflies in fact. Exciting.