I dropped the ball. I dropped the ball which fitted so effortlessly between my fingers.
I started this blog in March 2018, with the simple goal of publishing one blog post a week, every week. For the most part, you could say I was doing well. I put out 89 consecutive blogs detailing what my weeks entailed.

Publishing a weekly blog for me was part of a bigger goal: being consistent. In 2018, I made the conscious decision to be more consistent with my running and my writing. Both of these pursuits light me up physically and mentally. Engaging in these activities regularly allows me to be the best version of myself, it’s where I feel I can express myself in ways I wouldn’t elsewhere.

At some stage, my motivation dwindled and I lost my flow. I stopped putting out a weekly blog and fell too far behind that I didn’t feel like trying to catch up. All of a sudden, the point of posting a weekly blog seemed irrelevant. Despite my blogging being put on the back burner and forgotten about, I can happily say that the creative juices haven’t stopped flowing. Furthermore, the physical work has kicked on in ways like I would have never imagined. I have stories to tell and have learned many lessons over the last 6 months.

It’s time to return to the weekly. I’m back and I’m excited about it. If you’ve clicked through to read this article, I want to say thanks for giving me a second chance or maybe even a first chance if you’re a new reader!

On the flip side, it’s somewhat enthralling writing a recap on the last 6 months of life. It’s not an activity that I’ve ever tried before and it’s something that allows me to properly reflect all the brilliant things I HAVE DONE. If I was writing a fiction thriller, I dare say I wouldn’t write the following events in chronological order. However, for my own documentation purposes, I want to unravel each month in order.

 

 

Let’s wind back the clock and have a peek at December.

December saw my return to Adelaide after a big finish to 2019. December is always a great time to come back home to Adelaide. The weather is finally heating up and people are beginning to enter the festive state of mind. This December, my sister turned 21. I’ve missed a lot of 21st birthdays over the past few years but I wasn’t going to miss this one. Whilst travelling, missing events of close friends is something you have to learn to accept. You can’t be everywhere and neither should you want to be. It’s important to be happy where you are and trust that you are exactly where you need to be at that point in time.

 

Other fun events in December included my friend’s wedding in Melbourne, attending a porch sessions gig of Hein Cooper, many beautiful sunsets, and the inclusion of pilates and strength training.

In the final week of 2019, I reflected on the year that was. 2019 came to a close in ‘red hot’ fashion. What do I mean by ‘red hot’? I feel that I built up a lot of momentum and went from one exciting endeavor or adventure to the other. Along the way, I came across some brilliant souls and minds. I traveled from Switzerland, to Fiji, to PNG, to the Philippines, to Melbourne to Adelaide – it was a whirlwind.

 

 

WELCOME TO 2020

 

Going through notes of mine from the first week of January, I wrote “I think it’s going to be a big year of growth and personal development.” As I write this blog in the middle of 2020, I can definitely say that my instinct was correct.

To start 2020, I decided that I wanted to go and spend time with my friends who lived in Perth. Despite Perth being so close to Adelaide, I had only ever spent three days there in my life. I enjoy the irony of domestic travel and it’s a situation I encounter all the time. Travelers will go far and wide but rarely explore their own backyard extensively.

I spent lots of time in the ocean, drinking coffee with friends, and watching my mates pole vault. It’s also worth noting the 45km run I completed with my friend Monty. That was a fun one to throw into the mix.

 

 

 

On January 10th I turned 24.

Objectively, there is little difference from who I was on the 10th of January than the person I was on the 9th. The exciting difference arises when I look back at who I was on January 10th last year and who I will become by January 10th, 2021. The last year of my life was big. After releasing a book at 22 and running my first ultra-marathon, I really had no idea what 23 was going to entail. “How was I going to beat that and achieve more I pondered?” at the start of turning 23. I had no idea.
In a brief reflection, I feel that I developed and grew as a person in a very positive way. I adventured as I would at 22 and 23 but also made more decisions to develop myself. Self-improvement motivates me and that is exactly what I strived to do. Now that I’m 24, my goal is to continue to learn about myself and develop genuine human connections with those around me. I want to be more focused this year and become a better story-teller. Storytelling and impact I believe will form the backbone of my decisions and help dictate what direction I go in 2020 and beyond. I want to be less concerned with external goals and more driven by internal ones.
Amongst all the ideas and reflection, I ran 24 kilometers for my 24th birthday, climbed “Sugarloaf” and watched the moon rise. It was a magical entry to 24.

 

Relief Run

I’ve actually written a re-cap on Relief Run. Relief Run was a community-run to raise money for the Australian bushfires. If you want to read my recap on the event – you can click through here. The Relief Run really highlighted the power of bringing together the community. It showed me that running is a vehicle for more than just physical gain, with the assistance of communities and driven individuals, running can promote mass-change and action. Read more here.

 

The Remainder of my time in Adelaide.

After basking in the endorphins that relief run brought about, I returned my focus to training. I found myself with a 6-week block before heading to Hawaii. I love blocks and timeframes – I feel I do some of my best work when I know the parameters of the time I have available. I decided to target a 5km race on track before jetting off again.

The 6 weeks went by (It’s clear now that I was really slack with my notes and blogging) and sure enough, it was time to see what I could do. The goal was to break 16 minutes. Fast forward, I went out with a plan, stuck to the pacer and left everything I had on the track in the last 2 laps. I came through the line with a time of 15.28. A new benchmark was set.

 

 

Hawaii and the USA.

 

Returning to Hawaii was an exciting time for me. The island holds a special place in my heart as it personally marks a pivotal point in my journey so far. Hawaii was the place that opened up my love for adventure and photography.
To this day, I still have many friends scattered across all sides of Oahu. I flew to Hawaii with my friend Mitch for 5 days before we were due to set off to the ‘mainland’. I was looking forward to doing more free diving around Oahu this trip as I recently acquired my free diving certificate in Siargao in December 2019. There are plenty of ‘secret’ spots around Hawaii to free dive, some of which I was lucky enough to go to.

Showing Mitch around Hawaii was good fun but it soon came time to focus on our next adventure. Bike Packing.

Bike Packing LA to Vancouver. (Cut short in Eureka)

 

Going into this adventure, I had little to no cycling experience. My longest ever ride was 65km and I knew nothing about bike mechanics. I especially didn’t know how to change a bike tire. Instead of detailing every destination and happening across the backpacking tour, I’m going to dot point the lessons I learned.

  • The quickest way to learn is to put yourself in the deep end. Sink or swim.
    Mitch and I had no idea what bike-packing entailed, so we quickly worked things out on the fly.
  • If you have an idea, tell people. They are willing to help, particularly Californians.
  • Nutrition is imperative. EAT EAT EAT.
  • No-one else is designing the adventure but us, so there are no rules as to what we can and can’t do.
  • Some roads really are too narrow to ride on.
    We almost got hit by a truck.
  • If you want to do something, go do it. Your mind will take you a lot further than your body.
  • I’m now really happy that I have a bike and I think it’ll be the type of adventure I do more of moving forward.
  • The people you meet are just as important as the adventure.

The lessons above are just some of the things that come to mind when I think back to the bikepacking adventure. We made it 1200km of our 2600km to a town called Eureka, about 200km out away from Oregon. Unfortunately, we had to cut the ride short but it was one of the best decisions I’ve made this year. After all these years of traveling, I’ve started to learn when to trust my gut instinct. Heading back to San Francisco was one of these decisions.

 

 

 

Back to Aus… indefinitely.

Flying back to Adelaide I had no idea what was happening with the world. I went straight into two weeks of quarantine and self-isolation. Fortunately, I was able to spend it with Mitch and had a lot of friends swing by to keep us entertained. Throughout quarantine, I completed many reps of pushups and pullups, renovated half a house, and listened to numerous podcasts.

 

 

At the end of quarantine, I decided I would take on a challenge called ‘Calendar Club’. It is a challenge where you run the corresponding amount of miles to the day of the month. E.g. April 10th = 10 miles, April 11 = 11 miles and so forth. It equates to 465 miles or 744km run in one month. If you do the math, you’ll quickly recognise that the last two weeks of the challenge ramp up in intensity exponentially.

 

Calendar Club

 

 

The month of April entirely revolved around Calendar Club. The first two weeks of the challenge started off in civil fashion. The amount of kilometers I had to run on a daily basis was nothing new. It was week 3 when I hit a ‘new high water mark’, running 180 kilometers in a week that things started to heat up. Week 3 and 4 were completely time-consuming. My day revolved around running, eating, recovering, and sleeping. I am so fortunate for the support I had during the month of April. In particular, Emily and the team at joggers world. Any endurance effort, even if it is run solo, is always a team effort. I’m grateful for the meals that were made for me, the conversations, the nurturing, the early morning walks, the fresh shoes and so much more.

Calendar Club was a challenge that put me out of my comfort zone. Being motivated to get up out of bed and the discipline required to show up each day and get the miles done wasn’t always easy. Routine became important for me, with early bedtimes becoming a priority.

There is still more to come from Calendar Club, stay tuned because I’ll be releasing video footage from the last week of the challenge shortly.

 

Here I am now.

 

Here I am, one-month post calendar club. I feel like I’ve written a very brief synopsis of the last 6 months. I don’t plan on doing a 6-month recap again. To explore the ideas and experiences I’ve had so far this year would really require a huge block of writing.

Now that I’m back in Adelaide for an indefinite period of time, I’m still navigating what the months ahead will look like. More days than not, I have a plethora of questions for both myself, those around me, and the world.
It might sound silly, but I’m learning how to live in one place. It’s something I haven’t done in a while and it’s quite difficult at times when my whole lifestyle has revolved around travel.

Travel has become the well of opportunity for me, it has become factored into my relationships, a source of income, one of my core needs, it has changed my perspective and so much more. I’d be lying if I said the end of travel for an indefinite period of time hasn’t impacted me.

 

In conversation with my friends earlier this year, I coined the term ’emotional traveling’. I said it in jest, however, there is now some truth behind the joke. As I’ve come to stay still, I’ve had more time to work on myself. There are places of my mind and heart that I haven’t been to or given time to in the past few years. I now have the time to explore these places within which is where the term ’emotional travelling’ was born. It’s an idea I want to develop and write about further, especially as I stay put and work on myself.

I may have lost a little finesse with my writing and storytelling, but it’s a start. As my friend Samantha Gash said to me the other day, “Done is better than perfect.”

On that note, I’ll sign off and catch you again soon. In fact, I’ll catch you next week.

Big Love,

JL

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