Sliding door moments.

You know, those moments that could go either way, in a split second. And then the way moments do go define what happens next and shapes your life. Life is full of them really, and I’ve always thought that it’s better to regret things that you’ve done, rather than things you haven’t done. I hate ‘what if’s’, I find them harder to deal with than the ‘oh fuck, why did I do that’s’. And I’ve got a few of them, believe me. But, they’re all life lessons. Even if they don’t always stop me sometimes making the same ‘oh fuck’ mistakes. Sigh. Anyway, I digress.

So yes, the sliding door moments. The blink-and-you’d-miss them moments, or the make-a-decision moments, or the right-place-right-time moments.

I’ve had a few of those too. I don’t mainly think about what would have happened if things had gone a different way, but this weekend I did. Because I realised that what I was doing was partly down to a sliding door moment. Mainly because the person I was doing it with was met in one of those moments.

Back in 2013 I met Vicki in a dingy hostel dorm in India, which in itself is a one-in-a-few moments because there aren’t that many hostels in India, it’s more guest houses where you don’t always get to mingle with other guests. So there I was, sat on my £1.20 a night damp bed with a barely-there mattress and a pillow you’d never want to take the case off, when Vicki swept in with with a tiny backpack, a northern accent and a massive smile. Over the next couple of days we went hiking, climbing about in waterfalls and ate forgotten birthday curry, and she told me about her plans to cycle the Manali to Leh highway. On her own, with no real plans as such and no bike as yet. I was amazed, inspired and in total fucking awe. That was some serious shit. Part of me wanted to do it with her, and part of me was glad I didn’t have the time, and part of me didn’t think I could anyway. That was what other people did, not me.

We kept in touch, and when I had moved onto China I was pleased to hear she had made it OK and had a sweet little adventure. I was blown away by her pictures and the stories of the ride. And so, a seed was sown. That was the moment that gave me the inspiration to bike round Tasmania. And after doing that, that’s when I knew I could do something like London to Paris earlier this year. And then, that’s when I knew I could cycle to Brighton with Vicki last weekend (we don’t just go to the pub for a catch up like most people, we go climb mountains or ride miles before hitting the pub).

If I had gone out for dinner back in Mcleodganj 10 minutes earlier, would we have met in the same way? Would we have hiked to the waterfall, or laughed at Richard Gere’s picture? If I hadn’t have met Vicki, would I have biked round Tasmania? I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not. But she helped showed me that adventure was out there, if you just get out there and do it. And ordinary people can do the stuff that I used to think only explorers and adventurers did. Well after all, they are just normal people too.

So I’m 100% glad this sliding door moment went this way. And I’m glad I can call Vicki a mate, glad I have a fellow adventure seeker to do crazy shit with and be inspired. She’s moving to NZ for a while at the end of the year, so maybe I’ll just have to head out there next year so we can go climb a mountain or two.

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That one moment.

Note: this post contains significant use of the F-word, sorry

Ever had one moment where your life changes forever? Where something just clicks, or changes, and BOOM, that’s it: life will never be the same again. Where you realise that you are capable of ANYTHING. That all the possibilities in the world are open, there for the taking.

I was reminded of mine tonight reading a post by the lovely Liz Goodchild (a fab life coach who I met in London once) who was writing about running and it’s effects.

My moment was in February 2011 in South Africa. Stood watching people throw themselves off Bloukrans Bridge, the highest commercial bridge bungy in the world (or at least it was then, not sure it still is, Macau might have that title now). I’d said before the trip I wanted to do it, we drove up went to the viewing platform. And well, fuck me, it’s HIGH. Fucking high. Thoughts through my head? Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck. Shit. Fuck fuck fuck. I stood there for ages deciding what to do.

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My brother took one look and decided it wasn’t for him (we’d both said beforehand that we’d do it). I on the other hand had already said I wanted to do it. I’d told people I wanted to do it. I reeeeeeaaaaalllllly wanted to do it. But, jesus shitting christ it was high.

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(In the picture above, there is someone dangling on a bungy rope but it’s hard to spot them as it’s SO HIGH and MASSIVE)

It’s actually 216 meters (709 feet) above the Bloukrans River.

High.

Anyway, long story short, I manned the fuck up, paid my cash and got harnessed up. No refunds if you wimp out. I wasn’t about to lose the cash and I also remembered telling Matt and Allister at work that I was going to do it. I just couldn’t change my mind. I needed to do it. All the while silently crapping myself.

The walk along to the middle of the bridge was terrifying. It’s underneath the bridge along a metal SEE-THROUGH walkway. What the actual? How to give someone a heart attack before you start. Amazingly, my absolutely-terrified-of-heights-ex-husband came with me onto the bridge, and I know he was crapping it worse than me. So that helped. He wasn’t about to chuck himself off though.

I can still remember as clear as day stood on the bridge. Realising there was no way out (well, of course I could have not done it, but that wasn’t an option) and I had to do it, there was no choice. Fog had started to come through the gorge and so I was looking at jumping into white mist. Better or worse? I couldn’t see the bottom or what I was jumping into. Okay, so I couldn’t see the bottom but then it becomes unknown. A white abyss. It felt just as bad to me.

Strapped up, ready to go. Anyone who’s done a bungy jump will know that feeling of stood on the edge, nothing to hold onto, and that brief feeling of panic because THERE IS NOTHING TO HOLD ONTO. Panic panic panic and then, JUMP. And then the feeling of falling. That completely unnatural feeling of falling.

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And then the pull and squeeze around your ankles. Then the upwards freefalling. And then bounce. And then eventually, STOP. And dangle. For what seems forever.

And that was the moment. My moment. Hanging upside down from a bridge in a South African gorge, legs shaking from adrenaline (so much that I did worry they’d shake out of the ropes), that I realised. Out loud. “I did it. I did it. I fucking did it. Hahahahahaha.” (cue manic near-hysterical out loud laughing) And then I realised, if I could do that, I could do ANYTHING. And I did. That year was THE year my life changed. The year I left my marriage and everything I’d known for over 10 years and started living my life how I wanted. Doing all the shit I realised I could do. And every year I’ve done more. Because I know I can do whatever I want, no matter how scared I feel. No matter how many times I stand and say fuck, fuck, fuck in my head, there’s a little voice that also says “you can do it, you can fucking do it.”

Live your dreams.

(PS: If you want to see the jump, the video is here)

Do you know what you’re looking for?

Someone tonight told me they hope I get whatever I am after in life. A kind of, “hope you find what you are looking for”. I had someone else say that to me before I went travelling too. I was a bit surprised because I’m not really after anything, except to be happy. Maybe I give off a vibe. I hope not. Definitely not looking for anything. Kind of insinuates that I spend my life looking or searching, never quite satisfied. Not so. I like to live in the moment as much as I can. I don’t really have a plan, or life goals. Don’t think I like to coast though, oh no. There’s always stuff in my head that I fancy doing, or want to give a go. A kind of bucket list that’s not written down, mainly because I don’t feel the need right now, and also because it just keeps changing and evolving.

Granted, I did think that perhaps I’d come back from my time away having figured out a bit more what I wanted to do, but alas! This was not to be. In fact, I came back with more questions than answers. But I also came back knowing that I probably would never know, and that actually that’s OK .And questions are good. I know I can create opportunities where I want to. And that if something’s not right, I can change it. And things just have a habit of working out, and going in a natural direction as long as I work towards it. i’m quite a simple creature; I just want to be happy. So I spend my time doing things that make me feel happy, and spend my time with people that make me feel happy.

Are you looking for something? If you spend your life looking or searching for something, there’s a risk you miss whats actually happening. What is it you’re looking for – does it even exist?

Don’t spend your life looking too far ahead, because you miss the now. And the now is where it’s at.