Looking back on 2014
2014 was, by most accounts, a quiet year for me with regards to adventure. Whereas i would usually spend a fair few nights out under the stars during the year, this year i haven’t spent one night out. Usually i would spend more time out on my bike or walking, and this year i’ve spent hardly any time out and about. Instead i’ve been working. Hard.
At the end of 2013 i started my own business, a creative design studio called ‘Chips & Gravy Studios’. I knew starting a business would be difficult and time consuming but not as consuming as it actually was. Late nights and early mornings book-ended days that were crammed with hours hunched over my laptop editing video or coding websites. This time spent meant that any extra curricular activities that i would usually have undertaken didn’t happen.
At the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 i told myself that i would finish my book ‘Walk Serbia’ and have it released at the tail of the year but the writing took longer that expected and the release of the book was pushed back – again due to my excessive work load. As you know, the book is due out in the next few months all being well.
2014 was also the year where i started to take my speaking services seriously. I’d spoken a few times before for small organisations and clubs, but in 2014 i had the opportunity to speak at the Serbian Embassy in London and the Global Adventure Meeting in Novi Sad. The latter of these was an event that i was involved with organising with my friends at Exit Festival and this year i will have more opportunity to get involved with the event. As the Global Adventure Meeting is organised and hosted by Exit Festival, i was once again given the opportunity to visit the festival so i took time off from work and enjoyed Jelen Pivo and Serbian BBQ whilst listening to some pretty awesome music.
I was also given the pleasure of being invited to an event in London attended but the Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić and HRH Crown Prince Alexander. The event was attended by influential businessmen and women from the UK and the goal of the event was to try and invest in Serbian industries. Needless to say i was stuck out like a sore thumb but did manage to raise interest in Serbia with my stories from the road – plus, i sampled plenty of Serbian wine.
Moving into 2015
So i’ve set my goals for this year. There more like goals than resolutions as i want these to be goals to achieve by the end of the year, not things i’m going to change in the first few weeks of the year.
This is first and foremost. As someone who has been relatively fit from expeditions and working physical jobs i look at my expanding gut with disgust. So, this year i will be getting back on my bike and i will also be trying to start running. Running is something i’ve never been able to get into as it seems that my legs muscles are accustomed to cycling long distances or long, monotonous walks, and every time i’ve attempted running my legs have rebelled. But over a year ago i shot a video for my cousin who was attempting to run his first ultra marathon after starting running one Sunday morning. He went from unfit to ultra fit so i’ll be drawing my inspiration from him.
As i mentioned before, last year i started giving talks on my expeditions and this year i hope to continue. I recently signed up to a speakers agency and already have a couple of potential talks lined up. I’ll be posting notifications of any upcoming talks that you can attend so that you can hear my stories and come and say hi afterwards. I also hope to have a small book tour of Serbia when my book is released where i’ll be giving talks and readings from my book. Incidentally, if you’d like to book me talk and went to chat about me talking art your upcoming event head to my speakers page and drop me a line.
Walking across a country is hard. But writing a book is harder, although equally rewarding once completed. The task of transcribing your memories and thoughts from an arduous journey is a hard slog with nothing but the blank page for company (…plus numerous cups of coffee and a cat in my case) but the end result is worth it. This year i’ll be releasing ‘Walk Serbia: On Foot to Discover the Heart of Serbia’ but i also planning on writing another book about an earlier journey and hopefully an ebook too.
Last year i did very little traveling, in fact i had i took three trips. One to Serbia in July for Exit Festival, the second was a romantic weekend away to the Lake District where i proposed to my partner and the third was a few days break in Kent staying at a safari park. This year my goal is to travel more (of course) but also to take my fiancée and step-daughter-to-be to Serbia so i can feed them some awesome Serbian food!
My business is already going from strength to strength now that i have established the company somewhat i can actually spend more time with the family. Even though i work from home i spend much of my time chained to my desk with headphones on whilst the world goes buy so it would be nice to lift my head from my screen and say hello once in a while.