Have an impact.

I think it’s safe to say there’s going to be a fair few posts about travel in the next year or so. I know I don’t go for another few months but here’s one to start off with. Most of my travel plans have been put on hold until I move house in just over a week. But, I’ve been thinking about it over the last few days. There’s all different kinds of reasons why I’m travelling. Why I’m going now. Why I want to. I’m not going to bore you with them all, but one is that I want a change in what I do for a living. I’ve figured out I want to work for an organisation that makes a difference. I think that’s why I was so passionate about working for the Police. I don’t just want to work somewhere that makes money for the shareholders. It’s not that I don’t like where I’m working at the moment, far from it, but it’s time for a complete change. I’m done with sitting in front of a computer all day. I’m done with agendas and politics. I’m done with bureaucracy, form filling, templates and methodologies. I just want to get on and DO. Make a difference.

So in my year out I’m going to see what’s out there. Try as many things as I can. Get involved in things. So the first thing I’m off to do is an Education and Community Development internship in Zambia. I’ll be helping to contribute to the education and welfare of the local Zambian communities on the outskirts of Livingstone, as well as learning various skills for my own development. I’ve got a special pull to Africa; I’ve wanted to go there and do something like this since I was very little (I can remember the exact moment, sat in Primary School watching a film on drought), and when I went to South Africa in 2009 and 2011 it was like going home. I can’t really explain it, but I just felt right at home there. I’m hoping the same will apply in Zambia.

I can’t wait. I’m hoping to get involved in other volunteering projects in the other countries I’m going to along the way, but these are likely to be more fluid and picked up along en route. And if all goes well, there’s a longer internship I’ve got my eye on in Africa once my year is up. And after that, well who knows?

Oh, and yes, I know wherever I end up working there is likely to be agendas, politics and a certain amount of bureaucracy. That’s life, and I am realistic. But, well, at least I’ve got a year off and a chance to find out for sure. And, if I don’t like it, I’ll just change it.

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A bag of mixed nuts please.

This weekend’s been a funny one. It’s been busy. Hectic busy. Lots to do, as it’s my last free weekend before I move. I had a list as long as my arm. And then everything started to go wrong. Things that needed sorting out. Things that meant I couldn’t leave the house and get other stuff done. Gah. What surprised me was how flustered I got. This wasn’t like me at all. I think it was because there was lots of things to do and sort out all happening at once, and all stuff that needed to be done there and then. All important stuff too, with lots at stake. And I haven’t sorted out a proper to do list yet. That probably doesn’t help. Well, I know it doesn’t help. You can’t beat a good to do list.

But, the weekend got better. Sunday so far is awesome. Stuff is getting sorted out, lots of things getting ticked off that [invisible] list and I think I got a PB (just) at Market Rasen 10K this morning, which I wasn’t expecting at all. So that’s my main memory of this weekend. Plus my friend Laura came to cheer me on which was really nice 🙂

So this weekend has been a mixed bag of nuts and I feel like I’ve been running round (literally) at a million miles an hour constantly. So, I’m off to the pub in a bit for a celebratory pint or two and a breather.

And relax.

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Focus on adventure.

I’m sorry. I’ve not really been focused on this blog for the last couple of weeks. I’ve been a bit preoccupied and a leeeetle bit stressed. I’m currently in the middle of moving house, which apparently is up there with the most stressful things to do in life. I’ve done it a few times over the last couple of years under various circumstances so am kind of used to it but there’s just so much to DO. So many things to think about and arrange. Stuff you want to start doing but can’t do straight away. So many lists to make. The effort of having to pack stuff and sort it out. And all those addresses to change.

But I’m not just moving house. In fact I’m not really moving to a new house as such. I’m packing most of my stuff up to be stored. I’m taking a small amount of personal stuff with me and moving in with a mate for a few months. At the same time I’m also having to find a home for my beloved cat. And selling my car. And selling a load of my stuff. So I’m going to be a little bit busy for the next couple of weeks. Also add in the weekend away in London I’ve just had and the fact I’m in Amsterdam for a weekend soon just adds to the busy-ness (not an actual word but I can’t think of anything better). Although it’s not far off just being my normal manic life, so I’m used to it. But still. So much to DO.

And then there’s the reason for my move. It means a lot more stuff to DO. The reason I’m moving out of the house I love and that is perfect for me in every way. The reason I’m having to say goodbye to my cat. The reason I’m selling the car I love. I’ve wanted to write about it for a good while. A mixture of it being in my head and so wanting to write about it, and also feeling like I might pop with excitement and wanting to tell the world. But I couldn’t, not until the first few steps were taken. Mainly, telling certain people because it had some kind of impact on them. But, that’s done now.

Last week I posted the quote “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. – Lao Tzu”. Never had this saying been more poignant. It was shortly after I’d handed in my notice for my rented house, and after I’d told my boss I’d be handing in my notice at work. Two single steps towards what I’m off to do with my life next. Two little steps that made it all real. Well, that last one, telling my boss, is what finally made it real. That one step meant the beginning of a journey of a thousand miles. Well, it’s actually going to be a journey of a hell of a lot more than a thousand miles. And it all starts here.

I’m going to travel the world.

Well, some of it anyway. With nothing but a rough plan, a bit of cash, a backpack, a laptop, some running trainers and big smile on my face. I want to see where it takes me. See what happens. Explore the unknown. See as much as I can. Meet different people .Try new things. Learn stuff. Have myself a little adventure.

I’m ready now. I thought about doing it over a year ago but it wouldn’t have been the right time. I needed to spend some time getting back to normal. Getting my head straight. Then, it would have been running away. But not now. Now I’m ready for an adventure.

So, where will I go? I’m starting in Africa; Zambia and then possibly Cape Town. I’ve been accepted for an Education and Community Development internship in Zambia for 6 weeks, learning about non-government organisations and charity foundations. How they operate, what kind of projects they organise. I want to help people. Give something back. It’s a bit of a trial for a longer internship I might want to do in the future if it’s something I enjoy and want to learn more about.

From Zambia I’ll fly to India where I’ll spend about a month, and then to China for another month, including Hong Kong. Then I’ll make my way through South East Asia over the next 4 months, through Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Bali, ending up in Singapore where I’ll fly to Australia for about a month. From there I’ll hop over to New Zealand for a couple of months, probably a month on each island. Then it will be time to head back to the UK, but I’m going to stop off in San Francisco on the way back. And depending on how much money I’ve got left, I might do a bit more exploring in the States.

The world, as they say, is my oyster.

Freedom.

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Why we love to run

Ask a runner if they love to run and the answer will be YES. But ask them why, and they may not be able to answer you.

The above article, which I enjoyed reading A LOT, captures it perfectly for me. It’s exactly how I feel.

And it’s weird as I used to hate running at school. I even ended up in a ditch once covered in nettles with a huge cut on my leg (now a huge scar) dripping with blood to try and get out of running.*

I like the mention in the article about kids running about and that running as an adult can sometimes take us back to that. I do remember as a kid constantly running around. Mostly for no reason. Climbing on stuff, running like a mad thing, skipping around. Maybe I like running now for the sense of freedom. Maybe for the sense of peacefulness. Maybe for the sense of fun. I do sometimes do a Phoebe** run every now and then. Just for fun.

*OK, so I didn’t fall in the ditch on purpose, but it did get me out of running for which I was grateful.

**If you used to watch Friends you’ll know what this is.

Calm waters.

OK, so I no longer want to punch someone. All is calm, I am happy. One problem has been solved and it’s like a huge weight has been lifted. Alright, so if someone had just done what I’d suggested in the first place there wouldn’t have been so much unnecessary stress in the first place, but hey, I don’t care about that now and I’m not generally a ‘told you so’ kind of girl. The outcome is the only thing that matters. And it’s good. Phew. And thank you.

Now, what’s next on my list?

Mindless violence.

Ever had days where you just want to punch someone? Right in the face.

I don’t mean just anyone, like a random stranger or a work colleague. That would just be mindless violence and uncalled for. But someone that’s pissed you off. I bet most people have.

That’s me today. I wouldn’t actually punch anyone/this person; I’m not that type of girl. But I do feel like it. Whether I’m justified to I’m not sure. Maybe I expect too much. Maybe it’s the frustration of being told an answer without actually getting the chance to ask the question in the first place. Maybe it’s because then I’m not getting the outcome I wanted. Or maybe it’s because I feel crappy and tired today after a busy weekend and beers yesterday after weeks of no alcohol.

Whatever the reason, I’m grumpy. And tired. And have a problem that I need to figure out how to solve. In the next two weeks. Gah.

Lynne brought cake into work today. This helps. I also need a hug. I miss hugs. Will have to make do with a cuddle with the cat later.