The Quest for Connection

True connection, acceptance, and peace in exactly where we are is such a rarity, that when it happens I want to hold my breath and stay in the moment forever.

 Sunrise overlooking San Francisco and The Golden Gate Bridge

Sunrise overlooking San Francisco and The Golden Gate Bridge

I close my eyes, drift away and survey the scene. I take in everything with a deep breath; what it feels like, where I am, who I’m with, or the feeling of being on my own. I remember the colour of the sky and the way the sun feels on my skin. I remember how open or closed I feel. I recall my journey to this moment, replaying all the million things that fell into place to get me here.

I imprint what I see and feel into my mind and my heart, almost with this idea that if I press hard enough, I can keep part of this moment with me forever. I lock these memories away like the most precious of gems, because that’s their worth to me.

 Wild Camping in Stinson Beach, California

Wild Camping in Stinson Beach, California

The nature of life is that everything passes, the good and the bad. Life can be beautiful, sacred and sad all at once, because we know a single moment cannot last.

We smile for the times that we cherish forever, because they happened. And we smile for the times we didn’t think we could survive, because we did.

Before I flew to California, I had two weeks in London, which I can only remember as a blur. A series of days going through the motions and trying to hold it together because that’s what I thought I needed to do.

I pushed myself to the limit cycling the Haute Route, and I returned to London a shell of my former self and feeling totally disconnected from everything.

California Road Trip, Sophie Radcliffe

Sometimes I admit a truth to myself and it makes that truth disappear. Other times, I admit a truth and it makes it become a thing.

This time, admitting to myself I feel totally disconnected, that nothing has meaning, that I don’t know how to figure out my next move, and I don’t think I have the energy to do it, made it become a thing. I felt like I didn’t care or know why I should.

This admittance gave meaning and significance to the feeling brewing inside me and made it swell. It could consume me if I let it. It stopped me dead in my tracks as I walked down the street. It made tears fall silently from my eyes in meetings, threatening to derail me. 

I searched for meaning in the details of life, the everyday moments that I am so grateful for. I granted myself space, time and compassion to move through this ditch in the road.

Then I jumped on a plane to California.

Lake Tahoe

In California I stripped my life back to the basics. I had a car and no fixed plans or places to stay after the GoPro Launch (more coming on this soon!). All the things I normally do, like sleep in a bed, shower, check my phone, answer emails… I didn’t do.

Instead I lived out of my car, I slept in forests, bathed in rivers and didn’t plan or worry about what tomorrow had in store. I trusted that it would all be ok and I trusted in me, that I would make it ok.

California Road Trip, Sophie Radcliffe
If you open yourself up to the world, the world will open itself up to you

Never was there a truer quote than this to represent what I experienced.

The world delivered so many moments of true connection that flooded me with feeling.

 Sunrise on Lake Tahoe, California

Sunrise on Lake Tahoe, California

I am not returning to London a fixed person. I am not pretending to myself that I won’t feel broken at times. I don’t have it all figured out and I don’t feel 100% connected to anything. These things cannot be rushed and the more we try to force them, the less likely they are to manifest.

But what I am is this. I am a normal, living, human being that does not need to be all of those things and neither do you. 

The richness of life lies in the contrasts we feel
 Evening run in Yosemite admiring El Capitan

Evening run in Yosemite admiring El Capitan

We can feel broken and whole at the same time. We can feel sad because we love so hard it hurts. We can feel vulnerable and strong. We can feel we have arrived, and at the same time, like we haven’t even begun.

I never strive for perfection, just to live a little better and grow a little more than the day before

My goal is to feel all of this and come to peace with exactly who and where I am. Not try to be someone or somewhere else.

 Rock jumping and playing in rivers in Yosemite

Rock jumping and playing in rivers in Yosemite

I struggle with the lack of security in my life and it can bring me down, but I’ve decided to roll with it rather than fight it. I feel more strongly now than ever before about the benefit of grabbing opportunities to live in the now and open ourselves up to life’s limitless opportunities.

I know we can’t all jump on a plane to California and live out of a car, but we can create meaningful moments with a little bit of spontaneity, trust and letting go.

 Sunset on the beach in Half Moon Bay

Sunset on the beach in Half Moon Bay

Adventure Planning Info and thanks

Huge thanks to GoPro for inviting me to California for the launch of Karma, the Drone and Hero5. Most of the pictures in this post were taken with Hero5. More on the GoPro launch coming soon.

I rented a car from Enterprise (petrol is so cheap in the USA!) I was looked after by Tahoe South and Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel for two nights, a fantastic place to base yourself for winter or summer adventures around Tahoe.

I went to Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Half Moon Bay, Stinson Beach and San Fransisco over 10 days. Amazing trip, highly recommended! Thanks as always for being part of my journey! Hope this inspires you to explore more and #LiveYourAdventure. 

I am insured for all my travels by HolidaySafe. Use my code SOPH16 for a 20% discount if you're looking for insurance.