Not so long ago I was living a very normal life, working a corporate job in South London. Everything appeared great. I was wonderfully comfortable. I was also totally bored.
I had moved to London right out of university. Initially, the freedom and income was dazzling, but very soon the reality of working in front of a computer from 9-5 and the associated commitments, commute and routine began to wear very thin.
I’d always satisfied my desire for a physical challenge with team sports, such as rugby, cricket and football. I carried this on in London, but it really wasn’t enough. All I wanted to do was be outside, pushing myself and making the most of my time but instead felt confined and limited.
This feeling continued to develop so in December 2012 I applied to go to Sandhurst and join the British Army. I had my first interview lined up for February 2013, but before I even got this far I went skiing in Austria and a freak accident when barely moving resulted in two snapped knee ligaments. This injury required two surgeries during 2013 and meant that passing a medical was almost impossible. My Army ambition was over before it had even begun. I decided to throw myself in to my work and resigned myself to making the most of my free time around a full time job.
This didn’t go well. As I got fitter and stronger, the same ambitions re-emerged.
A key turning point was attending the Explore weekend at the Royal Geographical Society where there were a series of talks and workshops with inspirational adventurers. I realised that I was not alone in feeling that a “normal life” is overrated, and there were people doing something about it!
Ideas began bubbling up very quickly and the growing feeling that my ambitions could not be fulfilled in my current job was only confirmed by an incredible three week trip to Australia. The next few months were spent coming up with ideas, working through the practicalities and possibilities and finally getting back to full fitness. With my knee signed off, fourteen months after suffering the injury, I decided it was now or never if I was going to go for it and change my life and career.
On 16th September I flew to Perth, Western Australia with little more than a bike and a tent. Over the next year I cycled across Australia, around New Zealand, up the West Coast of the USA and across Canada, finally dropping back down in to the USA and New York City!
From there, I moved to Halifax in Nova Scotia, where I completed a degree in journalism. I then spent a year living in Vancouver, and will shortly be moving to New Zealand, where I will continue to work as a freelance journalist and photographer!