With the weather recently starting to warm up in London and a few sunny days, memories of Namibia came flooding back to me. More so on a recent trip to Maspalomas where I found comfort in walking up and down the sand dunes instead of the easier path along the coast. Sometimes doing the easy thing isn’t as exciting as achieving the the impossible.
After a brief glimpse at how simple life can be, it took longer to readjust to fitting back into the London life from before, so instead I decided to change things a bit to the way I wanted them. I started to do more of what made me happy. Small changes like not taking public transport, as the thought of having to get on a packed train when there are much more exciting ways to travel around London. Or trying new things like open water swimming in lakes as opposed to the sea, as I had always done in South Africa.
Besides becoming more of who I wanted to be, I started to think of where I wanted the journey to take me. Subconsciously I’ve been chasing a quick fix to the next big event to fill the gap that the desert has left behind but I know deep down that it’s more than just a race, there’s an experience which cannot be replicated.
After Namibia, a handful of us booked to run the Al-Andalus UT, another 5-day, 230km ultra-marathon in the Poniente Granadino, which I’m pretty sure will be spectacular in its own right, but I can’t help but feel it will still leave me yearning for the feeling of sheer insignificance you experience in such a seemingly empty space.
So I keep thinking that instead of looking for something that will fill the void, maybe I should be looking for new experiences. Other places to visit which are spectacular in their own right. So this is what I am looking for whilst trying to decide where life’s next steps should take me during 2016. Places like the spectacular backdrop of the Dolomites whilst enduring the crushing pain of climbing the 5,850m ascent during the Lavaredo UT and the amazing alpine scenery covered by the Swissalpine Marathon K78.
A friend asked me the other day what drives me to run the distances I do. It got me thinking and my reply was that it’s when pain you experience is melted away and pales in significance compared to the sheer beauty of the surroundings which immerse you. It’s not about medals, they can never capture the experience, that’s what we hold inside, they only serve to remind us of the journey.
This is my journey and there's no destination.