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Archive for Fear

Walking Wales for Centre Point

I'm going to attempt one of my more adventurous goals in April. I want to walk the length of Wales. Starting in Cardiff and ending in Bangor, at the north of the country. The walk is 162 miles long. Don't feel too bad for me, as I do get to walk through the two nicest areas (arguably) in the UK: Breacon Beacons and Snowdonia. So I will aim to fit some waterfall diving and mountain climbing in. I aim to do it in 7 days, in fact I have to. It will be a race to catch my train from Bangor. My friend Duncan (SpiritPig.com) may be coming, however he is not definite so I'm fully ready to make the journey on my own. The other thing to add is that I will be sleeping wild each night without a tent.

Wales Map

I was planning on doing this trip for fun (Type 2 fun according to Alistair Humphreys), but I thought if I was going to put myself through it I might as well get some money for a great cause.

The beauty of this challenge is that it will also help me overcome my fear of being attacked in the dark, as part of my fear busting challenge.

The cause I have chosen is Centre Point. They provide housing and support of young homeless people here in the UK. I will be sleeping rough for 6 nights on this trip/challenge, but these unfortunate young people have to do it every night and in not so nice areas. This is something I would like to help alleviate, as much as I can.

I will make a video of my adventure and share it afterwards. I will also be tweeting throughout so you can keep up to date - follow me @StuartARalph.

If you feel compelled to support the charity and my walk, you can donate here - https://www.justgiving.com/walk-wales-2015

What's on your goal list?

To your success,

Stu

I will be writing an article each week, updating you on my progress and wacky adventure:

Walking Wales (For Centre Point) - Part 1

My -3 Degree Micro Adventure

Inspired by Alistair Humphrey's book Micro Adventures I wanted to try his 5to9 adventure.

What is a 5to9 adventure? It's purely and simply having an adventure when you leave work at 5pm until you have to start work again at 9am. It's Alistair's answer to people saying "I can't be an adventurer, I have a job".

Below is a write up of my adventure and what I Learned.

January 22nd 2015, was the day I would try something new. It was also my 28th birthday. I left work about 4pm with a massive backpack filled with warm clothes in preparation of the -3 degree temperatures coming that night.

I headed out the door with a spring in my step. Rushing through the London Underground beating off the other commuters at London Waterloo. I was finally one of those people with the giant bags that everyone hates in London. I have a bit more sympathy for them now (for a week at least). I jumped on the train heading south out of the city.

Sitting on the train decaf cappuccino in hand I watched the commuters getting off the train zipping up their coats. I felt a wash of calm and excitement flow through me as I was transported back to memories of me only the day before getting off the London underground ready to brace the cold, and rush my way home through the gaggle of commuters facing the same fate. However, today I was going on an adventure. A true sense of liberation.

I arrived in Haslemere, Surrey for around 5.30pm. I met up with my friend Eliot, and headed off to Tescos to buy some supplies and food. As we purchased our supplies the guy serving us in Tescos said "Have a good night". Eliot and I looked at each other, laughed, and said "we will". Both realising the insanity of what we were about to do.

As we entered the wild, with no one around for what seemed like miles we put on our head-torches to light our way through the winter darkness. As we walked through the errie woods, it dawned on me that only 2 hours ago I was in a rush, in one of the biggest cities in the world and now here, in silence, beauty and fresh air.

After about 20 minutes of walking we found a great location. Hidden from sight, surrounded by an epic view of the wilderness and surrounding towns we cracked open a couple beers. We then collected some dead wood to start a fire as it was bloody cold. Throughout the night we cooked, chatted for hours about many great things and appreciated the clear sky that allowed us to see the heavens.

We woke at 5.30 am. Damn that was cold. It was still dark, so awaking to the stars was amazing. We had no tent, just sleeping and bivvy bags. So we had a unspoilt view of the vastness of the universe. There's something very special about that.

We headed back to his to grab a shower (not together), then headed to the train station. As Eliot and I said goodbye in front of the train guard and passengers, he enthusiastically said "thanks for last night, it was great" - awkward!!! But equally as funny.

On the train it became clear to me that there was a difference between me and my fellow commuters. I had a buzz about me, a glow. I felt alive.

[wpdevart_youtube]http://youtu.be/7RvOpWFHbQk[/wpdevart_youtube]

Coming back into the office people thought I was weird, and yes I am. In the elevator, random workers from other floors overheard my conversation about Micro Adventures. As I stepped out of the lift, one lady shouted to me "Don't go I wanted to hear the end of that story". Funny situation, but also a sign that you don't need to be that adventurous to be interesting.

The biggest takeaway from this Micro Adventure is that just sitting by the fire, the stars and my good friend I was the most present and carefree I've been in a long time. I can't wait to do it again.

"When was the last time you did something for the first time?"

To your success,

Stu

Challenge Yourself eBook

Fear Part 1: May I Wee Next To You?

December the 7th 2014 was the day I wrote down my fears, and challenged myself to face them. It's now January 10th 2015, and I feel I've conquered the first most basic fear: Going for a wee in the urinal.

"Only when we are no longer afraid, do we begin to live." - Dorothy Thompson 

In that first article on my fears and why I was learning to face them I never explained why I had each fear. For this fear I will explain now. I reckon about 50% of guys get self-conscious or 'fearful' when going for a piss. How do I know this? Well quite often when I'm doing my business guys will go in the cubicle instead of standing at the urinal to have a wee. And I've had many conversations with friends who have similar toliet fears.

Why do guys have this fear? I believe it has something to do with the hype around penis size. Women will always talk about it, pornstars have MASSIVE peices and movies carry the meme further by sitting 4 women around a coffee table giggling about one of their new lovers penis sizes; be it big or small.

We as men adopt this notion that we should be scared of showing our penis size. Especially to our friends as it could be a cause for ridicule, as if manhood is pinned on the size of your dick.

So I knew deep down this was stupid. I had to get rid of this concern. Sometimes I would be ok, other times I would stand there for way too long, then you get even more worried because you're thinking they now know you have stage fright.

After my initial writing of that first article on fear, I started to force myself to stand at the urinal and never use the cubicle unless I needed to drop a deuce of course - I'm not an animal!

I failed once. Pussied out. However I learned from this, and used the pain to make sure I didn't do it again.

Do I still get worried or fearful when I pee? Yes, sometimes. The distinction now though, is that I will use the urinal regardless of my fear (although I am slowly removing it completly). I understand that some fears will never be removed, conquering them will be a matter of learning to act in spite of fear.

Here is what I learned and some tips for your fear-fighting challenges:

  • Be mindful - Fear exists in the future. When you become mindful fear drowns (in your wee). Tip: notice what you hear, see and dare I say smell. This will bring your mind back to this moment. This moment has no time or room for fear.
  • Tell yourself you can't back down - I told myself that I had to stand there for as long as it takes. As soon as you do this your mind will slowly stop being fearful because it knows that you are not going to back down. You are also telling your brain that their is nothing to be worried about, that you are in control and that it can take a rest.
  • Laugh at your fear - I don't think I did this. However it's something I have recently learned. When you get scared laugh at your mind chatter, agree with it. Embellish it even. This will soon stop that mindless chatter, and tell your brain to chill.

I consider this fear challenged. My next is talking to homeless people which I have already started, and finding scary but highly rewarding. You'll have to stay tuned to find out more very soon.

"I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear." - Rosa Parks

 

To your fear big or small may it be slayed,

Stu

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