Sunday, 10 June 2012

The UK adventure begins!

This week I am driving from Cornwall, all the way up to Edinburgh, via Glasgow and I finish near London. Drawn on a map, that makes a nice circle around a good chunk of the UK.

Yikkes, the last few days have been crazily busy! - I've been getting the SpaceShip (which still has no name) ready and have been putting loads of kit in her.. I even installed a little boat compass. Today, I have driven down to Cornwall and I am currently all snuggled up at ShelterBox's training HQ at Predannack Airfield writing this blog. 

I had a relatively late night yesterday as I had a million and one things to do and so I was pretty tired during my drive down here. At around the half way point, I decided I'd had enough of this yawning lark, so I pulled into a services and got a quick 30mins of zzzzz.  Waking up a fair bit more refreshed to the very uninviting sound of my alarm clock I got on the road again.

This is all good training and is very insightful for what is to come in the future during my trip around the world. During my UK leg, I am visiting LOADS of schools / scout groups along the way so maybe I'll be seeing you soon?! 

All these groups have raised a substantial amount of money for ShelterBox and I will be popping in to say Thank you!

Got to sign off now as I seriously need some sleep. It's only 9.40pm.. Getting old I suppose!

Check out my youtube page for my latest video... HERE


Saturday, 2 June 2012

Driving on the 'wrong side'

Tomorrow marks an important day. Tomorrow marks one month until I depart from London to Drive Around the World! Not long to go now.

This weekend I am doing some 'wrong side of the road' driving. I've headed over to Belgium to get a little used to it before I jump in at the deep end and set off around the world. I'm with my dad this time who has been great in giving tips for driving on the other side.

Every time I pull out of a parking space or am driving along a quiet stretch of road, all I keep saying to my self is..'keep on the right, keep on the wrong side!'. Everything is just flipped over! I am also having to get used to different road markings and also reading all of the road signs in a foreign language.

This weekend is also proving to be a great hands on test for my SpaceShip as I am getting to know her well. There are so many great little things that I didn't even realise about the SpaceShip. One would be the INCREDIBLE cup holders in the front. That may sound like a bit of an exaggeration, but I am pretty bowled over to be fair..

I spent last night in a rather unglamorous place, the ferry lorry park. It was half 12 and I just wanted to sleep – very easy to do with this SpaceShip.. Today I've been driving around Brussels getting VERY VERY lost but eventually making it to the centre. This was great practice as their was a lot of pressure / impatient drivers, and I now feel more confident in driving on the wrong side.

I've headed this evening over to a lovely quaint little place where I have set up camp by a lake – really picturesque. Tomorrow it's a fair drive back to Ostend, back on the ferry and a quick drive home.

One more thing – my SpaceShip doesn't currently have a name. Can you think of one and place it in the comments below?



Sunday, 20 May 2012

Giving Back

I look back at the last few years of my life, and I have had a pretty good run you could say. I've seen some amazing sights, had some amazing adventures and I've been pretty lucky to be able to do all these things.

Something I have always been passionate about, is giving back. I have always tried to incorporate charities into everything I've done. When I crossed the Atlantic, it was for RYA Sailabilty, going around the world was for the Tall Ships Youth Trust & Save the Children. The bounty boat project was for the Sheffield Institute Foundation, for research into motor neurone disease. The Youth Sydney Hobart Campaign, was for the World Food Programme.

Recently I have been doing some volunteering for the Tall Ships Youth Trust. Mid April, we took out a bunch of teenagers for a week’s sailing on the south coast, and the difference it made to the guys was awesome. The trust is all about empowering young people, and I definitely saw that happen. We were sailing one of the Trust's Challenger 72's. This is quite a big boat and is very physical to handle, it definitely got the guys working pretty hard. So hard in fact, they were all asleep by 10pm every night! I look forward to doing some more volunteering for them this coming year. It is very rewarding seeing these young people grow during the week. For more info on the trust, check out the website, I also strongly recommend this charity as a great place to learn how to sail in a fun team building environment.

On another tack, I have recently started to support the Disaster Relief Charity, ShelterBox. The charity, ShelterBox aim to deliver emergency shelter, warmth and dignity to people affected by disasters around the world. Yesterday, the YoungShelterBox branch of the charity were holding a fantastic event in London called the London Scavenger Hunt which I was very honoured to be asked to help out with.

This Scavenger Hunt, was made up of around 100 teams of scouts and cubs, running around London with an empty ShelterBox - Pretty cool! After registration, the teams set off soon after 10am with the quickest arriving back shortly after 1pm – quite a feat! I was on hand to welcome them back, hand out prizes for the winners and speak to them about the great work that ShelterBox does.

ShelterBox has become a big part of my life recently and I will be working with the charity closely throughout this year. Stay tuned for more announcements!…


Sunday, 18 March 2012

Turning 20!

So now that’s it. My time is up. I am no longer a teenager. Perhaps I’ll now have to grow up? Perhaps I’ll now have to act more mature and dress in a suit from 9 till 5? Don’t be silly, of course I won’t be doing that! I plan on living young for the rest of my life!

My dad craftily told me yesterday, ‘halfway to 40 now, better get a move on!’ He is so typical! I look back at the last 20 years (what I can remember of it anyway) and I do think I’ve had a pretty good ride so far. I’ve had some amazing experiences, especially over the last 6 years; from sailing across the Atlantic when I was 14 years old to recently participating in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart yacht race with the youngest crew ever to participate.

I have recently been speaking at a lot of schools and it gives me such a great buzz telling the students about my adventures and about how they too can get out there and live their dreams. I find it a real honour and privilege to be in such a position and I hope that through my adventures, other young people will have many more adventures of their own.

I’m now putting in all my resources into planning my next adventure, and I am certainly getting much busier, which isn’t a bad thing. I don’t like to sit around and let life pass me by, I want to be part of it and experience it to the maximum!

This photo that was taken in Hobart Tasmania always makes me smile. It always reminds me to have fun and keep smiling no matter what the situation!