Tomorrow I'll write a detailed post about my trip to Finse, Norway.
It's been four days now since I returned from Norway and I thought it time to get my thoughts down in writing.
First I'd like to thank everyone who has, and will, support me on my upcoming journey. Sat here at the keyboard, I'm aware that, nearly 20 years ago to the day, a group of friends and I set forth on a similar journey. Not to a cold, inhospitable place, but still a leap of faith. We were young and determined and our passage through that long year took us in new directions and grew us as men.
Looking back, the process we went through was not dissimilar to the short Norway trip and the forthcoming journey to the pole.
All of us chose to volunteer to push our bodies and minds to the limit. We accepted the likelihood of failure, yet we still volunteered. Following completion, we were shaped and moulded into something more than most of us could have ever imagined. Newfound confidence and skills manifested themselves on an almost daily basis.
On that day when we blinked our way out into the morning sunlight, each of us was a different person to the one who started the journey.
How does this translate?
Even though many years have passed, we're still all very capable human beings. I'm sure that, like me, the need for adventure is still alive in all those who elected to subscribe to the demands of the job.
History has shown we are all capable and determined. Every one of us is prepared to push that little harder to achieve their goals.
My trip to Norway was a spur of the moment decision, although the notion had been there for several months. This fact alone is reminiscent of the path we chose.
Living in the extreme cold, if only for a few days, and experiencing arduous conditions was a pure thrill, even if some of my preparatory work was less than well executed! Note: always prepare for the worst and NOT the average temperatures depicted on a graph!
Choosing to make a break from the norm and go it alone was both exhilarating and liberating. Whilst not totally isolated, the sense of being away from day to day office life was an experience that has captured my imagination and will spur me on to greater things.
Allowing myself the freedom to become truly independent reminds me of how resilient and determined we all can be when carrying a cause in our hearts.
And there's more.
My family are forgiving of my ever so slightly selfish ways and, for that, I am grateful beyond that which words can convey.
The true irony is that, in many cases, and with a family to think about, it is not possible to become independent without support. This one fact hit me hard.
I ate for ten men, pulled hard on the hills and revelled in the barren beauty of Finse.
This journey, my first true physical test in a very long time, was a defining moment. And, much like that day 20 years ago, has reignited faith in myself and the belief there is more to life than simply money and an office job (although both go towards paying the bills).
My message? Time has moved on. That matters little. What counts is the fact we all have some hidden, burning desire; a searing itch that demands to be scratched. I've raked my nails over the first flare of irritation and now look forward to the next.
For all of you that know me: I did this. I will do more. So can you.