Almost ten years ago, my sister kindly bought me a copy of Moods of Future Joys, written by Alastair Humphreys, to read on my inter-rail trip around central and western Europe. At the age of 21 I could count the number of books I had started to read and triumphantly completed on one hand. This particular book transformed my outlook on reading entirely.
Being a similar age to that of Alastair when he set off on his epic journey, this was finally a book that I could relate to. I put myself in his shoes and felt the emotion as I turned through the pages. Fantasising about the countries he cycled through, visualising the people that he was fortunate enough to meet who helped him along the way to achieve the ultimate goal of cycling around the world, and feeling the pain and anguish that he experienced. I was so captivated that I didn’t hesitate to buy part two, Thunder and Sunshine. I was even reluctant to leave the first book behind at a homestay for the next fortuitous backpacker passing by to enjoy, despite carrying a rucksack that weighed about 25 kilograms and large enough for a man of my stature to settle down in for the night.
The three and a half months to follow were fantastic; WWOOFing** on organic farms with welcoming families through rural France, experiencing eco-living with a beautiful family in the foothills of the Swiss Alps and visiting capital cities and learning about the rich European history. As memorable as these times were, I could not help my mind wandering, imagining myself pedalling, chasing my shadow across the globe, following in the tire tracks of Alastair on his awe inspiring 46,000 mile journey.
Ultimately, I am sincerely grateful to my older sister, Chloe, who has always shown interest and been a keen supporter of my endeavours. She is open, honest and has an inspirational outlook on life. I have always looked up to her and sought her advice when opportunities have arisen and when deciding which path to take as my life unfolds.
“Pursue what’s in your heart, and the universe will conspire to support you.” – Rich Roll, Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself
**For those of you who thought I might have been galavanting around France imitating a Dogue De Bordeaux, WWOOFing, or ‘World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms’, is a series of non-profit organisations that allow people to live and learn by volunteering in a number of countries throughout the world. For more information check out the UK site, http://www.wwoof.org.uk/.