I’m writing this, currently 3hours into a 11hour flight from San Francisco to New Zealand. I’ve been in San Francisco for 18months and it’s flown by. I still feel I’ve only just arrived. Here I now am, on a plane relocating again. OK, so this is just a temporary stint, or as I’m calling it, an extra long training camp, or as my coach, Matt Dixon from Purplepatch is “jokingly” calling it…a holiday!?
I’m heading to Christchurch to train through till Christmas. I’m chasing summer I guess. I’m pretty excited. I’m so lucky to have such incredible opportunities to travel and experience different places through Triathlon. I’m pretty sure I take it for granted and don’t really appreciate what I have and often forget what I’m actually doing and forget to stop and just take it all in and smile.
I love New Zealand and so I’m looking forward to getting there and exploring and getting some solid training in, and I guess now I’m supporting the All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup.
I moved to San Francisco with two bags and a bike. OK, and a box that was brought out by a friend (thanks Beth) a few weeks later. I left a lot of ‘shit’ in Sydney. “STSL” as it is affectionately known, “Shit that Sid Left”. I sold some stuff, donated a lot, left a lot and threw a lot away. As I packed up my things again this past few weeks, I realized how much I’d managed to accumulate in just 18months, as my original two bags had now multiplied. Again I’ve left a lot of “shit” with friends in San Francisco (thank you Blanco’s and GrandPa Champ), as I head to the Southern Hemisphere and then back to the UK for Christmas.
It’s the packing up that I hate. (I’ve packed up and moved 7 times in the last 2 years!) It’s knowing that I’m probably not going to see many of my things for probably 6months or so. Questioning then, the value of items and clothes. Many have memories attached. As you put them away in bags, trying to minimize the amount I take with me, the arguing and reasoning that goes on about what to take and what to leave, then with what you leave, why not just throw it away? Why keep it in a bag stored away for a few months? Do you really need it? The issues is that I’m not a minimalist person. Whilst I appreciate that life should be more about memories and experiences and not objects and things, it is hard to detach from this sometimes. I’m slowly getting used to my new life. By that I don’t mean the exciting life of travel and adventure and exploring amazing places around the world. That’s the life that’s pretty easy to get used to and enjoy. I mean, the not really feeling you have a base and a place you belong.
I do sometimes feel I’m too old for this. I do wish I had that place I could call home. Filling in the immigtation form on the flight, where do I put as home? The UK, which is my birth and Nationality and where my family live and I’m still very much British? Australia, where I’m a permanent resident and have lived from 2009-2014 and very much consider part of me? Or the USA where I am now based? Not having that base or sense of belonging to anyone place, yet you could say belonging to the entire world and the freedom to fly? Not being able to come home after weeks away to your things in a place. Your pictures on the wall, your books on the shelf, my SodaStream in the kitchen! Ha ha!
When I left University in 2004 and moved to Chester in the UK to start as a Engineer with Shell, the conveyor belt progression was to work to buying your first home. I was able to buy my first car, a Vauxhall Tigra convertible (don’t judge me), and then managed to find a gorgeous little terrace house in a lovely suburb called Handbridge, right by the river Dee in Chester. These were kind of the markers of success in life and work. Getting on the property ladder and your foot in the door. It’s very strange to think I’ve gone from owning my own house in Chester, to renting a huge 2 bed luxury apartment in Sydney, Australia (yes thanks to a very lucky expat package with Shell and yes totally spoilt), to then downsizing to a smaller 2 bed, then a 1 bed as I changed jobs and tried to prepare for the move I was about to make, to then in San Francisco being back in a house share with 5 other people, or living in spare rooms at friends houses. My perception on life and the ‘norm’ is that you are meant to go in the other direction, not reverse like I have!
But I did make a decision to “Don’t Die Wondering”. To leap from the corporate world into Triathlon and the unknown. It’s the choice I’ve made, and I have absolutely no regrets. Yes I do yurn for my own place and to have a base and somewhere I can call mine, with my things in, with my pictures on the wall, where I can return home to after racing or being away training, and sink into my space. But I definitely can’t complain about what I am doing. In fact, buying (and then subsequently selling) my first home in Chester, actually helped to enable me to have the life I’m now living.
Now, as I sit drinking a cappuccino, looking out over Christchurch, the mountains in the background, taking in my new surrounds, I’m smiling inside and out. Pinching myself that I have this opportunity. Patting myself on the back that I made some good decisions in life as to where I am now.
Not wanting to let this adventure slip by without appreciating it. I feel I’ve let that happen a little in the last year, getting lost in the job and what I’m doing. I’m fully aware that I will slip back at times, as I get too caught up in training sessions, races and results, and progress, and how to make it sustainable, but I’m slowly starting to remember to live the adventure. Slapping myself in my face to remember this opportunity, these few years of triathlon adventure I have embarked upon.
So here’s to the next chapter of my adventure. Here’s to my next two months exploring Christchurch and New Zealand. Here’s to riding my bike and running in new places, to meeting new people …
I’m heading off to find form, confidence, consistency, have no fear, find the love and fun. To be the Professional, to bring my strengths and to train, to do the little things right.
I’m in the pursuit of excellence and off to live my “Don’t Die Wondering”.