I can't believe we are fully into Autumn now. The leaves are brown and crisp, and the evenings getting dark and cold. I feel like not so long ago I was preparing for my summer adventures. Now, it's all over and a new chapter begins.
People say time flies when you are having fun, well I agree to an extent but when I think of all the places I have been, and all the things I have achieved, in a few months, it feels like years could have passed.
I've had a summer like none I've had before. Approximately a year ago, I decided that I wanted to lead a life that I could look back upon and be proud of. A life that was based around making myself and others happy. And not based upon being overworked, stressed and owning more than is necessary.
This summer I decided to bite the bullet and put my money where my mouth is. I made the decision to stop talking about the life I wanted, and to grab it with both hands.
Even though it's scary to have no place to call home, no stable income, no comfy bed in the same place each night. With that fear comes a sense of freedom and exhilaration.
Of course I am very lucky that I'm in a position to do this. I am lucky that I was born in a first world country, and that I have friends and family that love me and care for me (and offer me a sofa to sleep on every now and then). I am lucky that I am self driven and have the skills to live out my dreams. I am lucky, and I realise this every day and I appreciate my situation.
Since I was 18 years old I have travelled to a huge variety of countries, but I have never really travelled around Europe. This year that changed.
My summer began with trying out something completely new and exciting. Myself and one of my best friends, Emily Pitts, roller-skated across the Netherlands with the aim of inspiring other women to get active, get outdoors and have an adventure.
In July, I cycled all the way to Italy, from Manchester with another great friend Mike Whitehurst. We lived a very simple yet happy existence, wild camping and carrying all of our possessions on our bikes. We also rode back to England in September.
We cycled all the way to the Dolomites, northern Italy, as we both love to climb. We spent six weeks rock-climbing and doing Via Ferrata. This brought its own challenges for me as I hadn't really climbed much for the previous two years, as I'd been training for my run across Africa, and I had also injured my ankle pretty badly during the roller-skate.
Completing these journeys has increased my love for the outdoors and for the simple life. I hope that I can continue to live in this way and to encourage others to get out and give it a go, if only for a day or a weekend.
Over the next few weeks I hope to get blogs posted about all of my summer exploits, giving you more photos and information, and tips on how you can lead a cheap and adventurous lifestyle.
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