WHAT A YEAR!!!
Like so many people, I love to look back over the year and see how much I have achieved. In those times when you are feeling down on yourself, it really picks you up to think how far you have come, and what you can accomplish in a given time.
Looking back over 2016, I really can't believe how much has happened. I have been on 20 flights, visited eight countries and achieved so much more than I could have ever planned for. But, the best things, which unfortunately are not measurable, have been the changes in my mind and the mental barriers I have begun to break down.
As you can see from the photos above, I have spent a lot of time in the sunshine which is always my goal, and always will be!
The year began with me being 100% in travel/holiday mode. I'd been doing lots of drinking, having lots of fun with my travels but not so much looking after my body and mind. By the end of February, I was feeling the need to put the holiday behind me and find something to focus on and work towards. You may remember myself and Duncan Brown attempting the Seven Peaks run which then lead on to my solitary Australian Alpine Walking Track hike. This hike came at the perfect time for me, as I needed time alone to focus on my purpose in life. And it worked! I came away from the expedition knowing what I was working towards and what is important to me. I can't recommend time alone in the wilderness enough.
During this few months at the beginning of the year, I lent my bike and cycle touring equipment to two women, that I'd never met, who were desperate for an adventure but not in a positon to afford the kit. One woman had an awesome trip the Scottish Isles but was cut short due to bad weather, and the other rode from Cardiff to Chamonix in France. I got a warm fuzzy feeling from knowing I'd helped to fulfill their dreams.
My return to the UK in May, saw me begin the journey to overcoming my fear of public speaking. I have not fully acomplished this and perhaps may never fully do so, but I have made a big start. Now, having done more than seven talks about my adventures to various groups, I am improving my confidence and enjoying the journey of telling my tales. I've also begun attending Toast Masters classes as a way of working on these skills.
From mid June to mid August, I assisted my good friend, Brendan Rendall, on his mammoth run down the length of Malawi. This trip showed me so much that was completely unexpected. I went to Africa with the intention of giving back to a friend and to a charity, but actually I came away having received more than I gave. Malawi taught me so much. I cant even begin to tell you how much I learned about the world there but here is a short blog I wrote about it. I will forever be grateful for the life I have and will always remember the ladies I witnessed queuing up and fighting for a bar of soap!
After being in Africa for two months, I returned to the UK once more to visit friends and family that I hadn't seen for some time. This became quite a hectic road trip with little time for considering my health and fitness, and included lots of drinking alcohol and eating junk food. As September came round, I was desperate to get my health back on track so kick started it with a detox. In all of my adult life I have never given up alcohol for a month. At the beginning, this was pretty hard but by the end I felt incredible (roll on the next one!) Check out this video to see the effects.
Another reason for returning to the UK was to get myself back on the pathway to working in the outdoors. For this, I need to get my Mountain Leader qualification which is one of my goals for next year. I attended a couple of courses and spent time on my own outdoors to regain my skills. Fingers crossed for next year!
Along with getting qualified next year, I have one awesome, HUGE adventure coming up and many small ones. I'm not going to reveal anything more about that yet as I'll be doing it live on Facebook on January 2nd. Watch this space!
Over the passed year I have been working on my writing skills, putting more time and energy into blogging and applying for grants. Hopefully all of this practice will pay off as I hope to be writing a book very soon. This was on the cards for 2016 but so many other incredible things took my time. I've also reignited my love of running, resulting in entering two marathons this year and you will see many more in the future.
There are still so many more things that I want to relive from this year but the blog could go on forever. I've had such a jam-packed year which at times has been hard work but I really couldn't ask for a better year. This year I've met so many new people that have really made a lasting impact on my life and I hope they will remain close friends forever.
Thank you so much to everybody that has been part of it, and bring on the next one, it's gonna be MEGA!