Day #82 22.03.16

Today was a stressful day. I don’t normally get stressed but the job I’m doing now isn’t the easiest for a variety of reasons. So tonight my body NEEDED a run. Not just for the exercise but the solitude and the head space. Original plan was a flat, long run through town. I changed my mind after a couple of minutes and headed up towards Leckhampton Hill. I needed to beast myself a little bit and make myself run upwards, and also I wanted the top-of-the-world feeling.

Tonight I managed to run ALL THE WAY without stopping up the steep tram-track thing from Daisybank Road. I’ve never been able to do this before, only watching on while Rachel went all the way to the top while I always walked the last bit. Not this time! Amazing what a bit of stress can do!

It was a wonderful run, one that made me think about other runs that I had chronicled in my Runs Around the World posts and how much I enjoyed thinking about runs in a way so that I’d be able to write about them afterwards. Makes me think about stuff much more in depth, and I’m much more present in what’s going on rather than being distracted elsewhere.

Like the feeling tonight of being on top of the world in one of my favourite spots on the top of the hill, and how I looked around and couldn’t spot a soul. I had the whole hill to myself as dusk was drawing in. So peaceful and serene to be up there watching the world go on down below. Tiny lights of cars and streetlights start to pop on and move around but they’re miles away from me and my thoughts.

Like how by the time I ran back down the wooded path it was pretty dark and I didn’t have my headtorch. I could just about make out the tree roots but it added to the adventure. I love running in the dark. Usually I’d have my headtorch but sometimes the moon is nice and bright. Not tonight. I wasn’t worried about axe murderers or dodgy people, I’m not nervy anyway. I was feeling pretty strong at that point so I’d probably be able to outrun them. All the films I’ve seen the axe murderers are pretty rotund and rely on weapons. As long as I didn’t trip over while flapping my arms around trying to run away, I reckon I’d be safe.

I feel less stressed now. That’s one of the beauties of running, or exercise in general. Man, it helps with shit like that. Either to take your mind off it, or just release some beautiful endorphins to make the whole world seem a much better place. Tomorrow is another day, and I know what shit awaits me, but for now, I’m thinking of hilltops and dusky running.

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Day #24 24.01.16

Today’s been an uneventful day really. A pottering day. A day mainly inside. And it’s been great. Everyone needs them. Can’t be busy all the time. It’s also a day where I rejoice at living alone where there’s no one around to judge or comment. Halloumi and beetroot for tea? Why, yes, thank you very much. YES.

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Day #22 22.01.16

I don’t work Fridays. I love this fact. It’s worth the less money to have an extra day on the weekend. People ask me what I do with the extra day. Right now I don’t do anything specific; I don’t like to plan or have a routine too much. So today it was a hotchpotch of a gym class, bit of shopping and then hanging out with my friend Mike who was visiting for the weekend.

We went out for dinner at the Tivoli tonight, never been there for food before and it’s just round the corner from home. It was pretty damn good. Love food.

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Day #1 01.01.16

Today’s photo is of me on top of a mountain summit (Bloupunt) at 1266m in Montagu, South Africa. This is the first year in the last few that I’ve actually started as I meant to go on; not hungover and doing some kind of healthy activity! My last photo a day in 2012 started with a photo of a mug of tea as I was hungover and rather than go to the beach for a cobweb-blowing walk like I had planned, I ended up nursing tea and feeling sorry for myself.

So this year I decided to do an early morning (6am) hike of just over 15km to the summit of a mountain. When my alarm went off at 5.30am I can’t say I didn’t question my thinking. But I’d found a hiking buddy extraordinare to come do it with me via a neighbour of where I was staying so I pulled myself out of bed and off we went. We made it up and down (summit of 1266m, just a few metres shy of being as tall as Ben Nevis, highest peak in the UK) in just under 6 hours which in the 30+ heat, wasn’t bad going at all. I’ll not lie – it was bloody hard work, but luckily we walked up in cloud and only down in the heat. Sun is an evil energy sucking vampire.

But it was worth it for the views from the top – on one side all we could see was the blanket of cloud below us (the other was valleys and mountains stretched out). I love seeing clouds like this – I always feel like I’m on top of the world, and this was especially so. We didn’t see another person at all, and you could hear a pin drop at the top. So peaceful.

So there you have it, starting 2016 feeling on top of the world and at peace. Let’s hope the rest of the year continues that way 🙂

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TPAD. It didn’t last long.

Well, it’s official. My travel photo a day is no more. It’s just not going to work. It’s too difficult to keep on top of while I’m out here. I can’t upload my photos easily, I have photos on both my phone and my camera, and I don’t always have time to write about each one, and blog as well. It was getting WAY too confusing!

And also, I have to say, I have fond memories of my Photo a Day for 2012 and doing it again (albeit for a different purpose) just wasn’t the same. In fact, it was almost tarring my great memories of last year’s project and why I did it.

So, after realising I hadn’t taken any pictures for a couple of days, I realised it was nail in the coffin time for TPAD. Already. I know, I know, I’m a bit disappointed in myself. But, I’ve decided I’m just going to blog and post as many pictures as I can on here, and then put pictures on Facebook when I can. I might look at something like Flickr or some other online photo account and post a link but I haven’t got time at the moment to look into it. Well, I’ve got a year so it will give me something to do at some point.

So, many apologies to everyone who was looking forward to it. But, I hope the blog and what pictures I can post here will be enough. And don’t worry, when I get back you can always sit through the whole year’s worth of pictures in one go with me providing running commentary…. No? I’ll bring cake. No? Beer? No? Oh. Ok then.

TPAD Day 2 – 2nd June 2013

Landed in Zambia today; I’ll be spending the next 4 weeks here on an Education and Rural Community internship. I’m in Livingstone, which is just up the road from the Victoria Falls (on the border with Zimbabwe). The internship starts tomorrow, so today has been spent getting here (didn’t arrive until lunchtime, after a decent flight but a long queue to get visas and a airport pickup that didn’t nearly happen), catching some rays and reading my book. I also went for a little wander to get a healthy, nutritious tea (egg sandwich, African-equivalent wotsits and some biscuits) and to see what’s about.

No surprises, it’s very African here. Dusty, hot, no proper roads, people (and sometimes animals) wandering around. I got stared at a lot and the usual hard sell to buy some local jewellery and I’d only got about 50 yards down the road. I better get used to it I guess, although I’m not quite comfortable with it yet. I’ve only been away two days but already I’ve had that, and a few people at the airports trying to ‘help’ me by either shoving me towards boarding gates or trying to get me to follow them so they can show me where I need to go. They’re only doing it for a few pennies but I told them I knew what I was doing ta very much.

Still feeling a bit shattered today, I think it’s all the travelling. Not much time difference (only an hour) but quite a few miles covered and I think it’s worn me out a bit. I’ve been a bit anti-social today, reading a book rather than speaking to people. Not so much effort that way. And besides, I’ll meet other volunteers tomorrow. Early night tonight I reckon. Rock n roll.

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TPAD Day 1 – 1st June 2013

So, today is Day 1 of my Travel Photo A Day. I wasn’t quite sure what photo to use today to start with. I landed at about 9am this morning (8am British Summer Time) and got to my hostel mid morning. I’ve not really been out with my camera; or really been out that much. I went for a stroll to Pick n Pay (like SA Tesco) to get some food to eat after my run. I had a little nap because I was still shattered after the 11 hour night flight where, although I slept, it wasn’t great sleep. I can’t complain about the flight though; good service, decent food and I got two seats to myself. I went for a run this afternoon (see Runs Around the World #4) then came back and had a shower, food and read my book for a bit.

It was weird, sat reading my book in the garden in the sun. I felt guilty. Like I should have been doing something. It hit me as I was sat there that I am going to have to get used to this. Relaxing. No work. Plenty of time to chill out. I have to admit I felt a bit panicked. What would I do? How will I fill my time? Can I do it? I don’t sit down that much. I like to have stuff on. This might be a challenge. I’m sure I’ll get used to it but it’s a little bit weird. My next 4 weeks will be like having a job because I’m doing an internship which will be Mon-Fri. So like work, I’m just not getting paid. This might help me with the transition. And where I am today is just a transition; there’s not that much to do or see really, unless I venture out a bit further for longer.

So, today’s photo was what happened this afternoon/evening. I had said I was going to have a break from drinking for a bit. Well, that hasn’t happened. I got forced persuaded to have a brandy and coke by some guys staying in the hostel. We went out to get pizza and beer, and have had interesting discussions about apartheid and Marcus was showing us lots of videos of spiders and bungee jumps gone wrong. He has an unhealthy obsession with YouTube. I’ve been sensible and stopped drinking though, it’s not a session, rather just a couple of beers. I’ve even had water. Get me. Well, I do have to be at the airport at half 8 tomorrow morning too.

It was alright brandy though. So, have I started as I mean to go on? Only time will tell. And yep, all you lot who said I wouldn’t last, you win. Only one out of the two though 😛

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