After all the excitement of the TEDx event in Austria, we headed back to the UK to a very wintery scene. We spent some time visiting Vanessa’s family and friends in the South, before heading up to my home town of Darlington where we stayed with my mum. I took a trip down memory lane, showing Vanessa where I spent my earlier years and we took a long walk on top of Sutton Bank, near Thirsk, on a gloriously sunny but very cold, wintery afternoon. We spent another cold afternoon in Barnard Castle where I grew up, and ended up staying warm in the local cattle market, where Vanessa almost bought 18 sheep as she scratched her forehead!
After a fun weekend with my friend Bruce and his family in Scarborough, we headed back down to London where we had tickets to see the Happy Mondays at The Forum in Kentish Town, as part of their 2013 Bummed Anniversary Tour. Shaun and Bez were on good form and we had a great evening and managed to visit a good London pub for some decent beer!
It was good to catch up with Kate and Elliot, the producer and director of the “New Lives in the Wild” documentary filmed just before we left, and to find out how the editing was progressing. We also spent some time with another film production company exploring other possibilities for a further documentary – more on that soon as we progress with our idea.
Before we knew it four weeks had passed and we were back in the air en-route to San Diego. We loved the area and spent time staying with and catching up with the guys I’d met whilst running with the bulls in Pamplona, as part of my 100 goals. We stayed in the colourful Hillcrest area and spent time walking the streets exploring what there was to offer. The Farmers Market with its organic foods and interesting locally made products is definitely to be recommended.
We hired a car and drove up the picturesque coastline to LA to stay with my friends Evan and Theresa and also met with Val and Eric, friends from Colorado, to support them whilst they took hang-gliding lessons high on the mountainside above Santa Barbara. We spent the weekend together exploring Hollywood, checking out RV’s (hopefully part of our next adventure!), and cycling around Venice Beach where we ended up at a drumming circle celebrating the setting of the evening sun. A further highlight was a return visit to the Griffith Observatory high above LA where the view across the city in the dark was quite spectacular!
But, work was looming and the purpose of our trip to LA soon arrived. We were attending a second seminar held by James Malinchak, all about promoting yourself as a public speaker in the corporate market. Spurred on by my successful TEDx talk, I am confident that this is the career path I would like to develop over the coming year and this is our new focus now that we have returned to the island. As part of this project, Vanessa and I are already busy writing a new book all about goal achievement. Our plan is to arrange a speaking tour in the US and travel around in an old RV, mixing work with more adventures as we travel. So if anyone knows anyone that needs an inspirational speaker in 2014 please give me a shout!
It was a long trip back to the island with several delays but we made it in time to attend the whirlwind of parties on the run up to Christmas and the New Year. It was good to be back in Panama and meet up again with all the local gringos.
Nothing much has changed on the island since we left. It was well looked after by our house-sitters who managed to raise a new brood of hens (with Gina’s help), of which two have survived and are growing quickly. They are from the bloodline of Big White, who met his demise as part of the “New Lives in the Wild” documentary.
We were, however, very excited to collect our new Christmas present to each other – a new two person kayuku – the very one that Ben Fogle and I helped carve out from a tree and haul down with Jean through the jungle. You can see this amazing piece of documentary footage when the episode is aired this Spring. We have decided to name the kayuku after Ben – the HMS Fogle!
We had a lovely Christmas lunch with Bill & Janis, our neighbours, and other friends. We hope you all had an equally good Christmas and that you all have an inspiring, adventurous year ahead.
We have already set our goals for 2014 – take some time to think about yours for this coming year and try to take on something that will take you out of your comfort zone.
What are your goals for 2014?