It’s 5:30am on a freezing cold Saturday morning in early January, and I’m driving a people carrier full of my favourite people out of London and in search of adventure. “Is it too early for this?” I ask, as I put one of my favourite songs on the car stereo. It’s a dance floor filler kind of song, but they love it. In the car with me I have four of my female cousins; Martha aged 9, Ella age 14, Georgia age 17, and Alex age 25. All of them said YES to waking up in - what felt like - the middle of the night and coming on an adventure with me. I love it when people say yes.
“Are you ready to feel like James Bond?” I asked Alexis as we climbed on our snow mobile. It was 7pm as we headed off into the wilderness for our adventure in Swedish Lapland with Discover The World.
After two hours of driving, we stopped off at a hut in the woods to eat dinner. “When do you ever get to do something like this?” I asked him later that evening as we were staring up at the sky hoping for a glimpse of the Northern Lights. “I know, I feel so incredibly lucky to be here, this really has been the trip of a lifetime.”
I find this time of year hard. The internet is awash with people imparting their inspirational wisdom and top tips for helping you get more in your life of whatever it is you may feel you are missing. More healthy living habits, mindfulness, learning, career progression, fitness…. The list goes on.
But what if despite all the advice out there you don’t have a perfect list of goals to smash out 2017, or are struggling with motivation and all the pressure is making you feel a bit anxious? Don’t worry, you are not alone! I feel exactly the same, yet I am not anxious about it and I want to explain why.
“No-one actually likes the taste of green tea” my brother said after I’d placed my order in a local cafe. “Umm… yes they do, I do!” Until three years ago, I felt the same way as him. The only hot drink I ever drank was hot chocolate. I have never drunk tea or coffee and hated the taste of both, along with green tea.
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.
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.
We’ve been hurtling along this dirt track road for half an hour and as far as the eye can see there’s barren, volcanic land. It feels like we could be on the moon. We’ve taken this detour to visit Godafoss, reputed to be Iceland’s most powerful waterfall. I’m not convinced. I can’t imagine there could be any waterfalls round here. The ground is flat and barren for miles and miles in every direction.
Mum and daughter time is incredibly special and although we live together, we often pass each other like ships in the night. We talk about practical things a lot; she helps me with business dilemnas and decisions and helps me when I need someone to practise my talks with. But we don’t make enough time just to relax with each other and have fun.
On Sunday 24th April I ran the Virgin London Marathon dressed head-to-toe in body paint displaying inspirational messaging and patterns. Starting at 4am, the talented Jules from Bentley Body Art started first with the paint, then with the messages, patterns and finally, glitter and a few gems. As the paint went on, I grabbed my phone and wrote the words which flowed from me.
Today is International Women’s Day. To celebrate, this blog is dedicated to the women I ride with and what they bring to my life. Since moving back to London, there’s been a real shift in my friendship group; more women. Most of my relationships are based around sport and cycling sits right at the heart of my passion for the sports I do.