Thursday, 26 November 2015

Baby steps

Here is my attempt at getting my A into G. The start of a list of things to do.

Apart from the fact there appears to be heaps to do (think overwhelming), this is at least progress.

Have I forgotten anything?

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Time to stop making excuses

Right now I should be getting excited about what should be an impending trip to the tropical island paradise of Tenerife, one of the seven islands that make up the Canary Island archipelago off the west coast of Morocco. There, I was intending to make an ascent of volcano number two, Mt Teide, in my 40by40 quest.

But I’m not going.

There are a variety of reasons ranging from money to being generally disorganised to not having crampons (which might be required if there is snow on the summit, which is highly possible in early December).

These are all big fat excuses. A load of bollocks really.

I’ve done some naval gazing and ultimately I’ve let fear grip me – at 3718 metres tall, Mt Teide was always going to be a bit of a beast to climb. Add to that a winter climb with the possible dusting of snow (something I have no experience of) and this just went from a mere challenge to right outside my comfort zone. Even the lure of Tenerife’s winter sun wasn’t enough to give me a kick up the backside to book flights. Instead I made excuses, big upped myself on saving money (you know, Christmas is coming and all that), ignored the elephant in the room.

But it appears I can only avoid the truth for so long. With the winter weather arriving and the nights drawing in, and a relatively empty blog peering out at me from the computer, I realised the only way I was going to climb 40 volcanoes was to actually climb 40 volcanoes. Thinking about climbing them, talking about climbing them, looking at pretty pictures of them – that’s all just wishful thinking and doesn’t get me any closer to achieving the goal.

It’s like wanting to run a marathon I guess. Researching exercise techniques and nutrition plans or buying the most streamlined running attire is all well and good but without actually training – or indeed even entering a race – that goal remains forever illusive.

So with you as my witness, this post is a giant kick up my derriere to stop stuffing around, stop making excuses and start doing – or as some who I follow on Twitter say: start living.

A post on my forthcoming plans will be imminent (I promise!)

Now that I’ve put this in writing I have to follow through.

Do you have any tips on how to ‘start doing’?

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Things I have learnt: I am a scaredy cat

Most people will have at some point wondered how they might react in a disaster situation. Secretly they hope they will be brave and strong, bringing down the bad guys Jack Reacher style or pulling out a killer MacGyver or Bear Grylls survival move.

I’d like to think I could be the same – despite my weak girl punches and distinct lack of military training. Unfortunately I’m a bit of a cry baby and scaredy cat, as my recent trip to Snowdonia verified.

At the summit of Mt Snowdon, not that you would know it
Don’t worry; I wasn’t taken hostage or anything like that. I just thought I might get lost (or worse, die) trying to climb Mt Snowdon in poor visibility. Gold stars to my boyfriend Del for not only putting up with my theatrics but also getting me to the summit and home again in one piece.

I have since reviewed this experience, where at several points I was petrified. But was it justified?

In many ways I was pushed outside my comfort zone – not so much the walking up England and Wales’ highest mountain but more due to the conditions: rain, wind and, towards the top, visibility that dropped to about 10 metres. When you can’t see where you’re going it’s pretty scary.

But, at the same time, we were walking on a path so navigational skills were minimal. There were also other people around, and it’s not like the climb itself was particularly taxing. And there was certainly no point where there was a life or death situation (except maybe if we had been five minutes later to the summit cafĂ© and they had stopped serving cups of tea). Perhaps I was just being irrational (that’s probably what Del would say).

The fact is I was scared because I had never been in that situation or those conditions before. There was a high degree of uncertainty and I felt out of control. It’s how anyone outside their comfort zone would feel – and comfort zone is a very grey area because its personal. Someone, for example, might feel anxious when faced with the situation of removing a spider from the shower curtain or when trying to navigate public transport in a foreign city.
Behind that cloud is Mt Snowdon
So what have I learnt from the experience? Well, I’ve learnt that I really am a control freak and there is much to be said about being prepared – knowledge does remove uncertainty. Ultimately though I’ve learnt that I would like to be able to cope better in these situations, not have my imagination run away from me and be confident in the knowledge that I can trust and rely on myself to get me through the situation.

Looks like I might have to study up. Or perhaps I’ll just watch some more Bear Grylls survival programmes and admire the master at work (though who really needs an excuse!).