To explain…when I left my old corporate life I wanted to create a life full of a happy balance of work and play doing things that I was passionate about and felt rewarded by. I’ve always has those words “life is too short” in the back of my mind but when you’re just trying to pay the bills and get on with life it can be easier to ignore that whisper. It was a long process to work out the way forward and I’m not saying it was an easy process, but it’s been the best thing ever. And taking the leap to change my life has also brought about so many unexpected and wonderful things too…it definitely started a snowball of joy.
My photography business was what I really wanted my work to be hence this website and all the commissions I’ve been given. Doing photography for a living is fantastic. I get to work with many lovely people and use the creative bits of me. It’s just right for me.
And for the ‘play’ side of things, amidst a list of various personal challenges was the idea of cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats. M and friends did this in 2010 but unfortunately I wasn’t able to join them back then, so on April 23rd 2012 (just over a week ago, wow!) I finally set off with my bike from Leeds train station to Penzance to start what still feels like an epic journey.
I’m not an amazing cyclist, but from my experience of these sort of physical challenges it’s about being reasonably fit and more importantly having the right mental attitude i.e. Just Do It. And I’m also relying on family genes as my Dad has cycled across continents, my Mum has cycled across the USA….so I am hoping that I have some of their strength and determination to help me on my way. And as I was looking for a cycling buddy my Dad kindly offered to join me, so I have someone to keep up with which can only help!
I felt very chuffed with my minimal packing of a few clothes, my SLR, an iPad and my iPhone, all ready to blog about my journey every day as I sped up the country. What I hadn’t planned for was 1) a lack of any wifi in most of England’s youth hostels (not something that’s an issue in most parts of the world where I’ve travelled!) b) sadly somehow losing all my notes on the iPad when i’d thought they were so safe…this remains a mystery and c) not being able to upload photos to a WordPress blog from an iPad. I’d thought I was pretty technically savvy before this adventure!
So this is a summary blog that I’ll enhance with photos and stories on my return.
The story so far is that we’ve made it to Scotland today, Lockerbie in fact and are over half way to John O’Groats = over 500 miles. Yay. We’ve cycled through rain, hail, gale force winds and I’ve done two of my most challenging cycle rides ever. I crossed Dartmoor in torrential rain where all that saved me was singing a wide selection of Brownie songs followed by Christmas carols (well what’s a girl to do finding herself alone on an eery moor!) and cycling over Shap Fell (Lake District) into Northerly headwinds which was rather like cycling uphill into a brick wall. But it’s been brilliant and I’ve loved the physical exertion of the cycling more than I ever imagined I would. And it’s been an amazing journey in so many other ways. It has reminded me of how we are surrounded by so many kind and considerate and lovely people who go out of their way to help a stranger. It has reminded me of what a stunningly beautiful country we live in. And it has shown me quite simply what our bodies are capable of when we ask them. And it has made me very, very hungry all the time! Thank you Rick for the Mars Bar I savoured in the gales at Land’s End, you’re a star to offficially set me off on my eating adventure!
So unable to upload any photos at this point, by chance I was sent a YouTube link from Suzy Greaves whose blog I’ve followed for some time and the contents resonated. The film is full of cyclists and a message that is American cheesy and yet so true and is exactly why I am doing what I am doing. So having spent the last 10 days keeping those pedals turning, this is what I’ll sign off with…….
Until the next pedalling update….