For this, the first in an occasional series of guest blogs (they’re all the rage these days), I’d like to re-introduce an old friend, a man with whom I braved the horrors of Western and Central Europe for 10 weeks of this bicycle journey… ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Mark Maultby! Take it away…
Hello there. This isn’t Tom writing. What?! Sorry, but I’m hi-jacking this space for my own agenda. Actually, ‘hi-jacking’ is too fierce a word; how about ‘trampling-on’?
I think New Year’s Resolutions are a really crap way to make positive changes to the way you live.
Why? Well, I reckon it’s much more effective to start doingsomething than to stop doing something.
Most New Year’s Resolutions seem to revolve around giving something up. So, on the first of January this year, I’d like to propose something a little different. Let’s say you want to lose weight and get fit. A big cliché, but definitely a common desire!
If that’s you, don’t bother promising to eat less chocolate and start running every morning. Instead, set yourself a big, tangible target for way off in the future. Look right now for an event near you in the following summer or autumn — charity fun-run, duathlon, triathlon or Ironman. Aim high, put the date in your calendar, and start training. Once the event comes around, if you’ve committed yourself, you’ll have achieved that weight loss and fitness as a by-product.
Having something on which to focus is something I’ve found to be really important if you want to achieve something bigger, even if you have to mentally ‘invent’ that point of focus. When I had tough days on the bike, I used to visualise my girlfriend (now wife!) standing on the horizon with a big smile on her face. I know that’s vomit-inducingly corny, but it got me across the Sahara!
I think you can apply this change of perspective to almost anything. Set yourself a target for the end of 2010 while you’re seeing in the New Year.
It’s December and the mercury is dropping fast. This week I experienced my first morning run in the falling snow, crunching quietly in the pre-dawn blue around the faded grandeur of Victory Park and its empty dilapidated walkways, crumbling statues and rusty fairground rides.
The onset of winter took me back a couple of years to when I first arrived in the Caucasus. I remember vividly crossing from Turkey into Georgia on Christmas Eve 2007, dearly hoping to escape the freezing coastal rain for which the Black Sea is well known. The journey has generated such a wealth of crystal-clear memories. If my brain has cleared things out to make room for them without telling me, I really don’t mind.
(I wasn’t disappointed by the much colder and drier Georgian weather, but I did discover something of my worldly ignorance — the Orthodox Christmas is celebrated on the 6th of January.)
This is the moment at which we turn and face ourselves. Here, in the plastic corridors and crowded stalls, among impenetrable texts and withering procedures, humankind decides what it is and what it will become. It chooses whether to continue living as it has done, until it must make a wasteland of its home, or to stop and redefine itself.
My last post was an invitation to come along to one of the many global bicycle gatherings that happened last Sunday on the eve of the COP15 climate change summit in Copenhagen. I helped to organise a ride here in Yerevan, and I took my trusty video camera with me.
I’ve been slaving over a hot laptop for the last three nights, but now I think it’s ready for public consumption. Please take 10 minutes to watch the clip below. I hope you enjoy it, and that it gives you a glimpse into my currently-static life here in Armenia and the importance of what’s happening in Denmark this week and next.