Monday, 4 March 2013

A New Blog...

So it's been a while since I wrote a blog, but with so many friends and family asking for updates on where I've been and what I've been up to, I decided it was easier to start another blog that people could follow if they wanted to, rather than trying to keep emailing updates to people!

 I've been pretty hard to track down over the past 15 months....partly because I've found it easier to keep moving around rather than stay in one place. I don't really know where "Home" is used to be wherever Gareth was, and where we were together, no matter what adventure we were having, or where in the world that was...but since Gareth died, nowhere feels like home, and after over 9 years of feeling very settled, I doubt I could feel much more unsettled than I do keeping moving has been the answer! 
The other thing I've found I've had to do this last year, is only think of the few weeks or months ahead, and plan to keep those busy with little projects or adventures. Trying to think further ahead than that is still really hard...and if I'm honest, pretty scary. Learning to manage on my own, without Gareth's constant love, support, encouragement and partnership, has not been easy, and thinking of all the future challenges that might lie I mentioned, it's best not to think too far ahead. One step at a time and all that!

I guess when I think about it I did a lot of stuff to keep busy last year...all sorts of different adventures and little (and some not so little) challenges I set myself to have things to focus on and keep looking forward. A lot of them, like my off-road LEJOG, were things that I'd planned to do with Gareth, and as we were never the kind of people to talk about something and not follow it through, I know we would have completed them together at some point if he were still here. Others were personal challenges I'd always said I'd do, and my philosophy more than ever since Gareth's accident, is to not put off things that you want to do for later, as you never know whether there will be another chance...and last year there was plenty of time to tick off lots of those kind of things! The problem with being someone who likes to push themselves and set themselves challenges though, is that as soon as you complete one, you start planning the next one, or you hear of something else that sounds fun, or an adventure, and that gets added to the it continually keeps growing, with bigger and more exciting plans!
There are some that if I told people about, even good friends, they would question my sanity (they may already do, but not as much as if they heard some of those ideas ;) ), and as the one person I would have suggested them to, who's eyes would have lit up with as much excitement as mine, isn't here to share them with, or at least not to answer when I tell him about them... for now I'll keep them to myself!

As some of you know, this winter's project was a Mountain bike Guiding job out here in Tenerife. I decided in the autumn that the only way I could face going back to work, was to find a job that I loved, and that made me want to go to work each day. As going out riding my bike and setting myself biking challenges was pretty much my coping mechanism throughout last year (it still is now....), I figured if I could find a job where I got to ride my bike every day, see some new places, meet like-minded people who just wanted to have fun riding bikes, and be outside in the mountains...then that'd be a good start. I was a little apprehensive from what others had told me, that if you turn something you love doing in your free time into your job, then you lose all enjoyment from it. I'm pleased to report that frankly, that's rubbish, and whoever said it, obviously didn't really love riding their bike as much as I do!!!
I have found a reason to want to get up in a morning again and face the day, even if I'm feeling pretty low when I first wake up, I know I'll soon be ok when I'm out on my bike. I have a job that not even on a single day have I felt the need to look at my watch to see when it's time to go home. I don't even mind the bad days, because actually, they are never really that bad. I have met some brilliant people and shared stories of epic days on awesome trails. I have sat in the sun, looking down and silently sharing the views to the sea from rocky trails high on the mountainside. I have witnessed guests who have pushed their limits and seen their skills improve from riding trails they didn't think they could. I have seen people smile and whoop their way down dry dusty trails, and breathlessly tell me at the bottom how they narrowly avoided the huge cactus that leapt out at them, and soooooo nearly lost it on that sketchy corner...and even though I ride the same trails every couple of weeks, they are always different, and always fun, because you ride them with different people, in different conditions, and no day is ever the same Seeing guests smiling and enjoying themselves, knowing they have had a fantastic day, gives you a really satisfying feeling that you have been part of making that experience what it was, and helping them create memories they can look back on and think "That was a wicked day"...
I like my job :)
Snow at the start of the trail

Mojitos - A well recognised form of recovery drink ;)
Taking off from the top of Mt Teide (3718m)!

 Me and Rosa at El Refugio

Derek, Paul, Rosa and I, celebrating a rad descent of Contador's 101 switchbacks (ie still all in one piece!)

 James, me, Esther and Susan- finishing a ride at the beach :)

In guiding mode - how many people enjoy themselves this much at work?!

I wish I could tell Gareth all about it at the end of each day, or be riding with him, but I know he's never really very far away, and I can often picture him waiting for me at the bottom of the trail, or racing me up the hill, or turning round after a tricky section to check if I rode it clean, saying "hmm...not bad for a girl!"

At the Sunshine Coast, BC, August 2011

Anyway, after being out here since November, its now just 6 days until I leave...hard to believe its gone so fast! But the next adventure beckons.....more on that next time ;)

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