Dreaming about freedom

Freedom

One thing I love about the uk is that no matter what the situation if you look hard enough you will always find a lovely little place to just park up and relax. And for me at the moment it’s all about the dream of freedom.

I am currently sat in my car reading a book called around the coast in a camper van and watching planes land at Bristol airport.  I love travelling the idea of travelling and the concept of learning. I love culture and different traditions. How people live and interact with the world around them. People fascinate me but at the same time terrify me. I have seen what one human can do to another in the most horrific of cases, yet I have seen acts of kindness that are more impressive than anything I have ever experienced and it’s those qualities that fascinate me the most.

My dream of camper life is quickly becoming a reality and the thought of simply hitting the road and enjoying what it has to offer is appealing to me more and more everyday. I want to see as much of the UK as I can before anything else. I think if you learn about where you come from you will learn easier about where you are going.

How the van idea was born

When my ex wife and I split and went our separate ways I felt that somewhere along the way I had lost myself, lost who I was. We all change for our partners is small ways here and there but over the years you realise you are a completely different person.

The idea of a van was to go and find myself, reading books of adventure and tales of those who are doing just that excites me beyond belief. Meeting new people along the way, learning new things and experience different ways of life is more exciting to me than anything at the moment. Also hoping to climb a few mountains along the way but that’s an added bonus.

Originality the idea was to do it on weekends, you know leave Friday come back Sunday. Then I thought well why not live in the van. Then I thought I will give up Work altogether, go travelling full time and turn my back on the idea of normal life. However along the way my circumstances changed.

I reduced my hours in work to only 3 days a week. This was a massive positive to my next few months weeks or maybe years. So currently the plan is to travel for 4 days work for 3 and so on. I planned on enjoying the open road with just me, my thoughts and what ever happens along the way.

A few little adjustments

Since that plan was created I have met someone. Her name is Debra and believe it or not she actually likes me! I Know I was shocked aswell. I honestly thought I may be stuck with single life for a while. I have no money, no actual home as such and as far as job prospects! Well, let’s not go there. My fear that my disability would put people off was very real, infact I had taken a few confidence hits thanks to online dating. I think that I may have set myself up for a fall before I started to be truthful. But maybe Deb actually like me for me?

Deb loves the idea of van life and travelling, the new plan seems to work well for both of us so looks like we may just be fairly well on the same path in life. That is always a good start to any relationship.
To be completely honest The idea of the van and the open road was something that came out of nowhere and has literally taken its own path. I have not really guided it or even planned any of it until it actually happens, even then I seem to just react and see where it goes. I think that was the idea all long.

I may decide to turn my blog and my story into a book I can write it along the way and maybe someone somewhere may get some value out of my adventure! Who knows? But let’s see what happens.

Sit back and take time

I try not to take to much in life to seriously. Try and relax but at the same time stay loyal to myself.  Even though the plan has molded and changed. Found new directions and in the end may be unrecognizable from the original idea. The concept will be the same. Buy a van, kit it out my way, travel and create a work life balance that suits me. Be happy in my own skin and build strength in my mind. Open my heart up to new things and new people. Create new friends and enjoy new experiences. Go and see old friends and enjoy their company, But most of all to be free!!
But for now I am going to enjoy sitting here for a while and watch the world pass me by with no care and now worry, nothing to trouble me just for this moment and when I am ready I will start my car and move on……

The value of life is worth more than the the value of success.

So am in a success or failure?

Success is not determined by those around us but by our own self worth.

Recently a very dear friend and work colleague passed away. In-fact he was the inspiration to this blog.

He was kind! Gentle! He always made time for everyone! Nothing was considered a task! A true gentleman in every way and definitely a man I am going to miss.

He was younger than I, and we often spoke about what makes a person successful. I would talk to him about my current situation and also about my future dreams of a motorhome. I threw several ideas his way and stood eager for his response. Never critical! Always well thought out and perfectly delivered. Usually presented with an explanation or an example of his point.

Definitely one of my mentors! A man of quality and an example for others such as myself to follow. Rest in peace mate and thank you for the friendship and time we had spent together, and thank you most of all for helping me to clear my mind when i needed it most.

So where has my thoughts taken me?

Well simple! What is success? What is the idea of being able to say you are successful. And what is the purpose of life?

I am 36 years old I have served in the armed forces, I have worked as a funeral director. Run my own business for several years. I am married I have a lovely car, beautiful stuff and own my own home. Am I successful?

Currently I am getting divorced. I am selling my home! Sold almost all of my stuff. Looking to get rid of my car and I now live back home with my mother! Am I a failure?

Let’s start from the beginning.

Am I a success? Can I be considered as successful? When I became a minimalist I learnt the power of living life without the restraint of possessions. I always considered myself successful. I mean, I had a nice car, home and lots of lovely possessions.

As I started going through my divorce I realised that these where insignificant. I started to become more and more of a minimalist each step of the way. Now I have very few object possessions. Somehow now actually feel even more successful.

I now live freely without the lust for the next thing. I am free of the temptation to try and buy happiness through possessions.

Free mind!!

Recently I took up meditation. I started to feel my mind was as full as my home and this also needed concentration. I could say I started to actively clear out my thoughts. Put things in to a simple context.

The best thing I ever started was to take time to myself. Meditation relaxes the body. Puts you into a state of harmony with your thoughts.
The brain after all needs time to heal and rest the same as any other muscle in the body.

I have been single now for 9 months. Single as in no longer with my wife. It’s been a massive journey of discovery. I loved my wife with all my heart and I think I probably always will love her in one way or another. We shared 8 great years together and I don’t regret a single day of it. However in any relationship you have to compromise.

You change a little bit here and a little bit there. Over the years you think you are the same person but in reality you aren’t. Throw in a life changer like disability and you can’t even begin to imagine the changes and sacrifices you make.

I should imagine that when my wife and I become her and me instead of an us she must have felt a little like I do. Who am I? Where am I? What do I do now?

Dating

I attempted the dating sites! Not my cup of tea and honestly the rejections get difficult. I would message a woman and over and over again I was faced with the no replies! You run out of witty comments and open one liners.

Once you get a reply you start a conversation. You talk about likes and dislikes, you try and find a common ground or something to build upon. I would then explain I am disabled and that would end that conversation. No reply or explaining just deleted and often blocked.

It’s hard going and soul destroying. I was left feeling like a reject and disheartened. I met a few lovely people don’t get me wrong. We are growing and building what we have into amazing friendships. In fact these people are becoming an incredibly important part of my life. If that is all i was destined to get then i consider myself very lucky.

So every grey cloud has a silver lining.

Living with mamma Mac
So 36 years old and back home with my mother! That has to be considered a failure! Right?
Wrong! I am getting the opportunity to get to know my mother again. We eat together, we talk, we spend time together. I am sharing a great moment with a woman who is strong and amazing, I could not be happier.

There is a reality that my mum won’t be around forever. I know I will miss her terribly. My love for my mother is with every atom of my human body and this time! right now! This is something I will treasure for the rest of my living days.

so where has this mind journey left me.

Well this all started after the passing of a very dear man in my life. I was left wondering if my own life was on track! am I or am I not successful.

My conclusion is that only I will ever really know. Success is in the eye of the one travelling on that journey! Wherever that  may be.

Many things in your life matter,but only one thing matters absolutely.

It matters  weather you succeed or fail in the eyes of the world. It matters if you are healthy or not healthy, It matters weather you are educated or not educated, Rich or poor — it certainly makes a difference in your life. Yes, all these things matter, relatively speaking, but they don’t matter absolutely. there is something that matters more than any of those things and that is finding the essence of who you are beyond that short-lived entity, that short-lived personalised sense of self.

You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realising who you are at the deepest level.

 

 

Disability- lifestyles and life changes. 

disability lifestyles and life changes.

There are several types of people suffering with disability, those born with a disability, those who suffer from an injury and those who suffer from an illness.

If you weren’t born with a disability as many aren’t, it can be a struggle learning to adapt and enjoy your new lifestyle. This will lead to times of frustration, sadness, and despair. It shouldn’t have to, you are the one in control and you do have the power to succeed. I get it! Yes! This is Easier said than done. Yes! We all struggle. Yes! It is perfectly natural however it’s important to find your new way of living. Your task is finding a way to make ‘you’ happy.

Coping with your emotions

It’s hard and even more so if an injury or illness is keeping you from doing the things you enjoy. You will start experiencing a profound impact on your emotional and mental health.

For many people there is the offer of counsellors to help them sort through their emotions. Some like myself this is not necessarily on offer so I turned to friends and mentor programs. Programs like what is offered by the BackUp Trust.

Truth is you just need to find people to talk through your feelings with. It helps if they have a grasped understanding of your situation. There are loads of foundations and organisations that can help in this area for example Limb Power help with individuals that have lost a limb or have limb impediments. I have recently been a guest at the Katie piper foundation. They support burn and scaring survivors. The foundation and the patrons are fantastic and supportive.

I was very lucky as I met people through sport and those people introduced me to other people. I joined my local baseball team. (Archers Wheelchair Basketball) This helped loads, my journey from there has been positive and now I am in a position where I can offer others a bit of support.

Through sport I found confidence and from confidence I found will power. Before I knew it I was back in the saddle, I was planning adventures and deciding what I wanted to do next.

limitations

Your limits can be a massive issue. Your body’s new limits is something you will need to explore and also experiment with. This is the area however that will make you angry and at times irritable. You can gain a lot of benefits from working with physical or occupational therapists to help you find new ways of doing things. Effectively using your body to its best potential will be how you overcome the limitations presented to you. For all of us the hardest thing to beat is our own frustration.

Be patient with yourself it will come in time. We all try we all fail but if you don’t try then you have failed before you begin.

Coping financially

Now this is the area of real pressure. It comes with its own issues and I have often stated that no one plans this life changing event. Often a recently new disability will keep you from working. This could possibly be long or short-term so you are effectively already starting on the back foot.

I know here in the U.K. You can seek benefit support and in other countries there are other such assistance. The application process can be lengthily and often complicated. You may even get rejected on the first attempt but the hard work is worth the effort. Remember two things:-

  1. You need this initial support and never be too proud to ask for help. One of the biggest mistakes that many people do in my opinion is to fund the new unexpected out goings on credit cards or loans. This is the voice of experience.
  2. Financial hardship is common, you are not the first. Sometimes the sudden lack of income can put massive pressure on an already pressured situation. You don’t have to face this alone and you can visit well run organisations such as Citizens advice or stepchange to seek financial guidance.
Finding new passions and hobbies

Hobbies will be very healthy, your life may have changed due to disability but your life style doesn’t need to. If you are unable to keep working in your current job try seeking a further education.

Sometimes hobbies have to change. I was a runner before my wheelchair but I found new activities such as wheelchair basketball, Handcycleling,  wheelchair rugby,  wheelchair squash and of course I became a blogger.

It is absolutely vital that you find new ways to enjoy life. There are plenty of hobbies and activities you can do. All you need to do is just be willing to explore your boundaries. Step outside the box.

It is hard to adapt but trust me you will find away. When I developed my disability so many people told me what I couldn’t do but all I could think about was “but why not?” So I decided to try to find a way to do these things for me that became my hobby! And I love it…

The journey from where I started to the place I am now has been long, painful and frustrating. I have had to overcome, push my limits and rediscover who I now am. People would say it’s not about the chair you are the same old you. No I am not I am a new me. I laid the able version of me to rest and embraced the version of me that has a disability and decided that if this was the cards I was dealt then I am playing them my way. Keep hope, keep faith and look to those around you for the support you need. You can do it and you will…

My talk with St Cadoc’s church ladies. Raglan

When I was asked by Beverly Jones of Awaken Life Coaching to talk in front of a group of ladies, in St Cadoc’s church and where they are all older ladies. I admit I was a little worried. These where a group of ladies that have lived through a world war. Seen and experienced things I could not begin to understand. And here I am with a story of my life. How could I even begin to offer them anything of any value.

I decided to open up my talk with a poem, something I wrote, something that had dear meaning to me. Very quickly I realised that my audience was engaged, so i continued with my talk feeling a lot more relaxed and comfortable.

I told the story of waking up one day and my life had changed for ever, I talked about loss and about how I had to learn to cope. I spoke about the path I had travelled on my journey and the exciting things I had experienced along the way.

These ladies where relating to me each in their own way, they where listening intently to what I had to say and I felt a real vibe of interest in the room. The setting was St Cadoc’s church Raglan  with the large church organ behind to set the scene.  It accrued to me exactly how fantastic this was, so prudent, I was a single man tiny in form engulfed in the architecture of this absolutely stunning building. Lit by the light coming in from the massive stain glass windows towered by the stone walls and watched by this incredible church organ. And yet here I was making a difference to people’s lives. simply by communicating and sharing my experiences with others. This was an amazing experience.

I spoke about my journey through medical investigations, tests and examinations, heads started to nod and a reaction of familiarity showed in the ladies faces. It dawned on me that these ladies had been on similar journey as I had. Of course they had! why did i even think for a second they would not understand the feeling of ignorance you get from doctors at times. The pain and frustrations of once being capable and suddenly you realise you are not so able. Each and every person in that room had a story, each story special and full. everyone there had experienced so much and seen so much and yet they offered me the grace of appreciating what I had to say.

I spoke about jumping out of aeroplanes and a sea of smiles shined back at me. I told the story of challenge 2015 and the interest grew stronger, these amazing ladies where so captured by my stories and tales of craziness, every joke I cracked was welcomed with laughs and interaction between each other, the best part was that all the way through they never took their eyes off me and that was extremely refreshing. (not one single mobile in the room)

I was so please when i finished and was showered with applause and congratulations, the questions flowed that I was happy to respond to. I explained what exactly a blog was, for some reason this was by far one of my finest moments of the past few years.

I have done many talks and I can honestly say that this was one of my favourites. I worried about what value I could offer these amazing ladies, I hope I achieved what I set out to do. However the fact they ended up offering me the grace of their time fulling with pride. The experience left me feeling very humble but really buzzing all at the same time.

This right here is what I need in life. This moment is the drug I am addicted to. This is what I want for myself. The moment you sit in front of a group of people share your time and story and leave with the feeling you have added value to the lives of other people is worth more that anything in the world. I would like to thank the ladies of St Cadoc’s church Raglan group for the most amazing evening and an experience I will hold very dear for a long time.  Thank you xxx

Go to a Christmas market #challenge2015

the final challenge

So the final challenge of the year was to go to a Christmas market.

All I can say is “Oh My Good God” people everywhere. So I am in a wheelchair, trust me they don’t care.

The atmosphere was great with the theme and festivities but it was hard work.

I felt so small and I was terrified, people where rushing around. They all had their own challenge on and their mission was a lot more important that anything else.

I enjoyed the time with Natalie and it was nice not to have to climb anything or push up anything all I had to do was try and enjoy the surroundings.

Truth is I did we had mauled wine and our photo taken with Olof. The music was festive and the weather was crisp until it rained but luckily this kind of event only happens once a year..

Getting on an aeroplane #challenge2015

For November the challenge was easy “go on holiday” sound good right? ok there was a bit more to it than that i wanted to fly on an airplane, this is a massive challenge if you have never done it before, i have got used to being a wheelchair user here in the UK but to go and do this in a different country was a whole new thing.

Planning and organisation was key, getting a hotel that was suitable was the real task and then there was the fear of Airports and would my chair make it alive and in one peace.

airport assistance is a must they got me to where i needed to be and onto the plane and they looked after my chair perfectly although take you cushion with you on the flight this note is a must.

I found that the assistance in Lanzorate was in fact better than in the UK and this surprised me but it is a fact all the same.

The hotel was fantastic the staff was amazing and always happy to help where needed but one you left and got into the street this where very different. High curbs lots of cobbles and lots of steps but with my wife to help we got around with out to much trouble.12240119_10153902185292868_4825562320952072453_n

the journey back was again seamless and very easy and all in all i cant wait to go away again lets hope all my experiences are as good as this one was.

Riding a motorcycle #challenge2015

October was a busy month and i managed 2 race weekends and 2 bike experience days and it was amazing in every way

I have ridden bikes for years off and on about 15 years to be exact, when i went into a chair giving up my bike was one of the hardest things i ever did, i took it to the shop i bought it from and asked them to take it off my hands. i just needed to get rid and move on. i had decided then that i would never ride again and that was just that. however then i was introduced to The Bike Experience where i met some of the nicest and most amazing human beings in the world, they got me riding a bike again not a trike a motorcycle, it had a few adaptions but i was up on two wheels in no time, everything came back to me every feeling every nerve seemed to work for just a second for the few moments i was on that machine i was the old me again. i twisted the throttle and i rode it like i used to hard and fast and i loved it.12112214_10153837310402868_980995514592167845_n

I made a lot of friends that day and i believe i will know them in one way or another for the rest of my life, it was here that i met Kirsty and Kelly who have since become part of my life and I could not be more proud to have them by my side as friends and in some ways they have already become family.

After my day with the Bike Experence I was invited to spend a weekend in the garage with the worlds first self sponsored disable motorcycle race team “Team Talan” and everyone who works with the team.  this was just breath taking in the pit garage at brands hatch was a dream come true and the guys very quickly became people i could soon add onto my friends list. i was in complete ore of the riders they just blew me away and the team was so slick and professional i just could not begin to grasp what was going on around me.

This was a fantastic weekend and when i was then invited to another Experience day i did not hesitate for long to take them up on the offer.

So off to donnington where i got to have another day on a bike this time my confidence was alot better and the track was alot of fun i started off on a stright 4 bandit but i was chewing at the bit to get back onto a v-twin again and as soon as the SV650 was free i was back in the swing of things, Dan one of the riders took me out to give me a few tips and before long i was leaning right over and in fact i even managed to scrap my toe on the ground, not bad considering i am strapped to the bike.

And finally I was then invited back to the team garage at snetterton to enjoy the last race weekend of the season with the team, by now i feel like i know everyone really well and i feel i have started to fit in, this is where i want to be mixed in the middle with these guys maybe not out on track maybe not racing but in the garage learning what to do and helping out in anyway i can. these guys are more than just a group of people i met along the way these guys have become friends and real friends at that and i cant wait to spend as much time as i can with them so watch this space.

Zipline #challenge2015

This was a fantastic challenge i got to achieve two thing, firstly i got to zip line something i have never done before and secondly i overcome my fear of heights. Chepstow was our location and one thing i will say is it dont matter what i have done this year the staff at beach place has been amazing and the guys here where no different, they just could not do enough for me including drive me from the bottom to the top and get my on the zip line its self, they listened to me and let my suggest what i could and could not do they didnt demand or command we done it as a team and that really stood out to me on this challenge.

we had two goes and i could have happily had a few more it was great, the next time I do this will be in Snowdon where you hit massive speeds and it lasts alot longer.

I have also added a video feel free to watch and enjoy such a cool experience and again i cant wait till next time.

My lift for the day….. This dude was sound……

Canoeing #challenge2015

After the past few months of fairly challenging challengers we decided to do something a little more fun and with a little less strain on the body.

we packed the car up for a camping trip the night before, enjoyed a great BBQ and a few drinks. the next day we made our way to the river Wye where we met the guys who was going to help me onto the water. they sorted us out loaded us up and drove us up river where we would start our days adventure. picnic packed life jackets on and the boats in the water thanks to the staff, we where set to go.

the river was great it was peaceful the water was calm and the views where amazing, I hold no secret that for me it is always about the view, we hit a few rapids which made it fun we even nearly came out but we managed to hold our ground and half way down we stopped for a bite to eat.

At the end I even managed to climb to the top of the big rock and throw myself in, it was not a delicate process and i did not look graceful but i did it and that is all that matters.

All in all I had a great time and again i would do it again however i wouldn’t mind making a few days of it and camp along the river side

Surfing #challenge2015

Surfing was a great challenge, it was decided on the spot almost and as we where on holiday in Cornwall the home to surfing in the UK why not.

We used a company called “Freewave Surf Academy” based at Widemouth Bay.

Robin our instructor was amazing and took a lot of time with me to get me ready to hit the waves nothing was rushed and my confidence just grew and grew.

The life guards on duty “Billy and Richie” where fantastic .

We arrived and got sorted the life guards then drove me down to the water edge and helped me get into the water. Once my body was in the water and past the sea break things where a lot easier and with a little technique using the board to get out into the real waves it was just amazing from that point.

Robin instructed us how to get up on the board for me how to best get onto my knees and then he helped us hit the waves.

I can move my legs so it makes this a bit easier but I have seen guys surf who cant and for them they just lay down and rode the waves, its about being in the sea and enjoying yourself.

I cant wait to try this again and am so glad that I challenged myself to try this now I am just hooked.

WAAT4 Challenge #challenge2015

I have done many challenges for many good charities, I have cycled the coast of south Wales, and I have even climbed Pen Y Fan but never quite like this.

30 kilometres of every terrain known, tarmac, chipping’s, moss, mud, stones and grass even at one point a little stream.

I took on the WAAT4 as part of a work team challenge and it became one of the biggest challenge I have ever faced it has also become the base to

Something more, I cant wait to hit the hills again with a new chair and a better idea of what lays ahead.

So we started off on the road and then after the first check point the mountain formed in front taking on boulders the size of my chair and steep climbs. With my team pulling and pushing with all their might and me using my wheel to ramp over the boulders we managed to overcome the first major challenge of this climb, next came the uneven ground and still steep and hard work, the chair had already started to fell the strain and with a wheel buckled and bent the challenge was quickly becoming harder than anticipated.

11205540_10153579281202868_4918799741776969234_nAs team we competed a few minor repairs that was needed and cracked on to the summit, the weather had moved in and the rain and fog was  definitely against us all, due to the cold people started to struggle with cramp and lactose build up in their legs but team spirit was still very strong and no one gave up.

As we approached the base of the summit the path was almost vertical we sat on the grass and looked up at the towering mountain knowing there was no way the chair would make it with me in it and the guys where never going to be able to pull me up so we was left with 2 options carry me or I do it on my hands.

With a lot of support from the guys I was on my hand for the last 150 feet to the summit and all the way up was hard and gruelling, I knew I would make it there was no way these guys would let me give up now but my god it was not easy and it took will power.

The decent off the mountain was as hard as the climb and the wheelchair had really suffered the rocky paths never let out and the chair and the team was all suffering.

We got to the 19k check point and the right wheel was so badly damaged that it had stopped turning all together so it was decided for my safety and for the benefit of the team that it was time to call it a day.

I was the first wheelchair user to attempt this challenge and I got as far as I could on THAT day but I helped raise a lot of money and I helped raise a lot of awareness making it al worth while and the highlight was being presented with a fantastic award at the end.

NOW I AM PLANNING NEXT YEAR AND THIS TIME THE CHALLENGE WILL BE BEATEN..

Carten 100 #challeneg2015

This was my challenge for May 2015 a simple cycle ride……  Well ok not so simple it started from Cardiff city in south wales and made its 100 miles route to the popular welsh tourist town in west Wales Tenby we aimed to be completed in 10 hours and in total it took me 13hours a time I was very happy with.

It was a massive challenge for anyone able bodied or not but for me I completed it on a handcycle

10675585_10153457907922868_9175806795399974429_nI was joined by my amazing team of support riders along side me and my amazing wife as my support vehicle but basically in a nut shell I completed this using only my arms to go the distance and driven by determination and motivated by my close friends…..

Why did I choose to do this well that is the easy part i have raised a lot of money for many good causes in the past and this one was no different and the charity of choice was the Velindre Cancer Centre

This is not just any charity it is the centre where my own farther is currently being treated for terminal cancer, he was first diagnosed with Leukaemia and then shortly after lung cancer a few years ago, his treatment is not only very important but the care they give is essential to my dads needs, they offer him and my mother the support and assistance they need and they like many others would be lost without this centre to care for them in the way they do. For many people this centre is a place of hope and that can not have a price or value it is just priceless.

The centre needs and rely’s on many fund sources to keep its doors open to the 1000’s of people that visit it every day, it is no secret that they say that everyone in the world will know someone who has had cancer it is an illness that takes no considerations and the work this centre does on a day to day bases, the staff that work there giving individual care based upon individual needs young and old people like my farther is very important and life saving..

I Completed this challenge in the memory of Simon ash who lost his battle to cancer.

I Completed this challenge in the memory of Mrs Hole  who lost her battle to cancer.

I Completed this challenge in the memory of my grandmother who lost her battle to cancer.

I Completed this challenge in honour of Mr Pardoe who beat his battle against cancer.

I Completed this challenge in honour of My Mother who beat her battle against cancer.

I Completed this challenge in honour of My Farther who fighting his battle against cancer.

Gravity Riding #challenge2015

So it was a bit delayed due to me having double booked myself but my April challenge for Challenge 2015 has now been completed..

Roughriderz hosted my challenge and was amazing Phil and his team took care of me  all day as I took part in gravity riding for the first time ever and it was one of the best days the weather was good and the rain stayed away..

I can recommend this enough anyone who is remotely interested in an action packed day of down hill this is the event for you.

I turned up and got set up everything was supplied and the guys really looked after me even put my chair in my car for me locked my car and made sure my keys where safe in the van once I had got into the gravity bike..

We took to the course with some fantastic instructions and then just upped the speed each time as my confidence built.

This day out cost me £150 and when I think of what I got for it I would say I got a bargain the three guys Phil, Ed, and Tudor where brilliant from the word go and we hit the track maybe 10 or 11 times with loads of gopro footage all the uplifts was included as well as full ppe equipment and of course the bike.

For me this was a day of great company fantastic scenery and the weather was on our side Would I recommend people to try this Yes in a heart beat..

I can’t wait for my next birthday because I think I know what I want..

I want to thank the guys for all their help and making this a day to remember..

Phil for his instructions and tuition and making sure I was safe comfortable and enjoying myself

ED for getting sorted loading me in the van getting me out the van and just making sure I was good to go at all times…

Tudor for driving up and down the uplift all day so it was simply fun fun fun and very little effort on my part

All in all if I was going to rate this out of 5 it would hit a massive 10 get on this people YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT

Clay Shooting #challenge2015

Where do I start with Clay shooting…

This is an amazing sport not matter if you are able or not you don’t even need to be any good you just need to be willing to have a go, I took part for two reasons first off it was a friends birthday and what a great way to spend the day, Breakfast a bit of shooting and then off to the pub for a few pints and a meal sounds perfect no matter how you look at it. The other reason was to complete my march challenge and that was a great motivation to get out and have a go..

For me this was something I was very worried about I didn’t know how I was going to cope with the recoil or how I would handle a gun sat down, also as I have used a gun before there was a bit of pride I had to swallow as I knew I was not going to be much good and I didn’t want to embarrass myself but I decided that I was going to do it and so off I went.

We got to the shoot location and the nerves started to kick in I made light heart of it but

11083610_10153332492877868_7965709256506801747_nThey where very real I had fears of coming out of my chair and embarrassing myself or worst the recoil caused me to drop the gun but once I had the gun in my hands it all seemed to come back to me I noticed straight away that I felt more planted sat down had less to worry about not using my legs and I noticed that holding the gun was very comfortable.

As it turned out I did ok I don’t know how hard the clays where in comparison to more advance shoots but for me I held my own and was very happy with the fact that I did not take my first shot and hurt myself.

The day all in all was great and I would recommend this to anyone its a great way to spend a day and if there is a group of you it make it all the better. I was on two minds to do this as I had real concerns but I pushed myself to do it and I am glad I did I  think if it had not been for challenge 2015 and it being a friends birthday I may have been more likely shy away and that would have been a terrible mistake and now I cant wait to go again this is a great example of getting out there and seeing how you do and then shocking yourself at the fact that your fears where easily overcome..

Handcycle Marathon #challenge2015

Before the days of being confined to a wheelchair I used to help out as a volunteer at a local youth theatre company called WAWWA,

I had the pleasure of working with some amazing young people in my time there and worked the stage on some fantastic shows.

The problem with young people are they are addictive and if you are willing to open your mind they will teach you more than you can ever wish to teach them and that is exactly why I loved them all so very much.

One girl really stands out in my mind Tash a great kid and a wonderful family of whom I was and still am very dear of.  But one day the phone rang and I was presented with the worst new imaginable……………

On February the 14th a day I will never forget Tash was taken from us she died from Toxic Shock Syndrome, this is not common and the symptoms can if known be very clear unfortunately for Tash these where missed because her family did not know what they where. Since Tash’s death her family have campaigned to make sure as many people as possible are aware that Toxic Shock Syndrome exists and are aware of the symptoms.

My Next Challenge is aimed at raising awareness and to do this I decided that a very fitting challenge should start at point that has meaning so for me there was nowhere more suiting than where it all started and WAWWA rehearsal room just had to be that place.

I decided that as my life has changed so much since being in a wheelchair that I wanted to do something that would show a real challenge to me something that would raise awareness and make people want to know what I was doing and why I was doing it so I decided on a push maybe a marathon or something like that but I didn’t want to get swallowed up in the crowd and I wanted to make it a stand the best way I could and after all I really wanted to start at WAWWA.

After much deliberation I decided I would take myself on a journey, and that would end in the very place a young angel stepped into heaven and the world celebrated the great life of such an amazing young lady the lovely St Priory Church in Chepstow.

And so the planning began the route has been decided and the distance is 21.6 miles taking on long roads up steep hills and also back down again I had a support vehicle to follow me driven by Owain and I done this in a quickie handcycle up until I completed this I had not cleared anything close to this distance and the whole thing was completed using only my hands as the source of power. I was nervous but I couldn’t wait to hit the roads for another milestone challenge with a great team and for a great cause.

The ride itself was hard I can lie it rained hard the whole way and within 10 meters in I was soaked through and it stayed that way till the end we battled the wet and the cold and the hills where long and tiring the last hill of all nearly broke me but with the support of those around me I battled on till the top. With one of the team being seriously affected by the cold we needed to get her off the bike and in the warm the bike was loaded up into the car and the challenge continued one thing I have learnt is there is no point putting yourself at risk. Then another of the team got a puncher and suddenly the spare bike came into its own so a quick swap and we where back on, finally the last hill and then down to the finish line freezing cold and soaked through the feeling was immense and the challenge was complete….

WCMX #challenge15

WCMX was recently unheard of here in the UK. Made famous by Aaron “WHEELZ” Fotheringham.. Even though in recent years this sport has now really started to build in popularity in the U.K it is still very new very young.  I think I could be one of the first people here in the UK to pick this sport. I don’t think it will stay that way for long. However in the U.S.A its very different  story.

Steven Jacobo, another USA star competes in this sport to a high standard. As well  as successfully becoming sponsored by companies like high-five and Box wheelchairs. For me this was something I always wanted to at least try.

After having been given a Quickie XTR frame with a rock shock fitted to the rear axle my project had begun. With the addition of  some new rear wheels. A set of scooter casters. Some tidy straps and a no fear approach I was ready to hit the ramps.

Once I bought the right body protection I headed to RampWorld Cardiff and with a bit of time from Jason (the owner) I was good to go.

Attempting WCMX was the first part of my 12 challenges. I will be completing a new challenge each month of 2015 to show that all you need to do is look outside the box. I am very glad I have given WCMX a go. Really looking forward to hitting the ramps and learning new skills and getting better as I go.

Challenge 2015

What is challenge 2015 #challenge2015? Last year I was put into a chair in January. I had to deal with a lot. Adapting my home, sort out cars, change jobs, learn to use a chair and find some direction in my life. As everything I thought I knew was completely useless to me last year was a massive challenge in its self.

I thought that life was going to become tough! I was not disappointed! All in all it had been a hard year. A real up hill struggle. Dealing with the physical implications of my new life. No one prepared me for the mental challenges I had to face.

In the middle of all that I managed to attempt the Welsh three peaks although failed. Built an off-road chair (with help) and I climbed Pen Y Fan.  I made the Cardiff Celts Wheelchair Basket ball team. Selected to play  for my country in Wheelchair Rugby 7s at the home nation. , landed a great job and I took control of my life. Not forgetting founded built and launched See No Bounds.

Well in January I passed my first year anniversary as a chair user. To celebrate my success I have decided to set myself a challenge #challenge2015…. I will try 12 new things 1 a month for every month of 2015. Keep logged in to follow my journey.

Cwmcarn Forest Walk with a FreeWheel

A day at Cwmcarn Forest Walk with a FreeWheel. Walking as I have mentioned many times before was a very favoured pass time for me and my wife. Before my condition it is the number one thing I miss the most. Hill walking through the forest. Walking around a lake well. Basically we loved being out.
For Christmas Natalie bought me a FreeWheel. An attachment that clips on the front of your wheelchair. It works by raising up the front two wheels so that you can take it off road.
To give it a little test we decided to hit the woods at Cwmcarn. What a treat it was to feel a bit of extra freedom. The weather was brisk and fresh as you would expect 2 days after Christmas. It was amazing to be out and about together and to work off a bit of the Christmas dinner, sweets and chocolates. The path was some gravel. a fair amount of mud. Oh yeah there was a tiny bit of Tarmac. Nothing slowed me down, well except the hill bits. My wife came in handy on the hills.
Now don’t get me wrong this was not really a challenge for me not after climbing Pen Y Fan. This simply shows that you don’t need to walk to enjoy time outside. Spending time with family and loved ones and enjoying the fresh air is very important and healthy.
The views and scenery where amazing. With waterfalls, streams and wild life everywhere. Just what a great way to spend the day with my wife.
The water was so clean and clear.  The ducks was loving life and you could see the fish at the bottom of the lake, so pretty. I bet this place will be amazing in the summer i really do need to find my way back.

Taking to the ice in Cardiff Winter wonderland

Taking to the ice in Cardiff Winter wonderland was amazing. There are times in the year that are all about friends, Family and loved ones. Christmas is one of those times.

Christmas 2014 is my first Christmas in my chair. A miles stone in many ways, it’s the closure of my first year as a chair user. The land mark of my first winter and it was a celebration of some of the amazing people I have met along my journey.

This year we decided to really make the most of the things available, to get out and enjoy life to its fullest. One of those decisions was to make the most of life events. Ice skating and the Cardiff winter wonderland, what could go wrong? Drinking mauled wine, eating hod dogs straight off the coals and indulging on candy floss. Perfect. To enjoy this with some of our close friends made it very special.

To say taking to the ice was a frightening thought was an understatement. We waited in line for a few moment. Thoughts went through my head like their was going to be 250 people on the ice! What happens if I fall out? Could I hit someone over? What if I go backwards and hit my head? What if I get on there and can’t move? How the hell do I get on the ice in the first place?

Well these thoughts I am sure are perfectly normal. I was determined to give this a go and see what happens . As it happens the staff where all great and very helpful. My wife love her can’t skate. I knew she would be no real help on this one but take to the ice I did.

It was amazing moving was strange at first. I soon realised that I needed to simply start slow and work up to it. The other people on the ice where fine they just skated around us. Somehow I never bumped into any one. I was shocked at how stable I was on the ice. I even pulled a wheelie just for a laugh.

The best part for me was when my wife held onto the back of my chair and I pulled us both around. this was a first, and the most fun time had in ages. I was able to help her with something! I was able to support her when she needed it! As strange and small as that may seem, for me it was massive.

All in all it was an amazing achievement. I tried I tested and I survived. here it is just one more thing I can tick off my list. Don’t be afraid to try things! Don’t feel you can’t do something because you think it is impossible. Hit the ice and see where it takes you. Life can be slippery at times but it can also be fun and exciting as well.

Volunteering at Greenmeadow Community Farm

Volunteering at Greenmeadow Community Farm was my way of getting back into the working world. It can be one of the biggest challenges you may have to face. Being around people who don’t know your abilities. Treat you like you can’t do anything! Constantly worry about your safety! Well the list goes on.

Its hard going and nerve-racking. The experience can be very frustrating. Be rest assured you are not alone with these feelings. We all go through them but you can do something about it. Sometimes you simply need the opportunity to discover your new strengths. A way to learn new skills. The best way to gain this experience is by volunteering.

It can be so rewarding and gives you a great opportunity to get back out. Try new things. And you can learn so much from other people. It is one the best ways to help towards your recovery.

The video above shows me doing a wheelie over wood chip bark. I done this while helping out  building the Santa’s grotto. The 2014 festive season was here. I have helped out at the farm for a few months. Enjoyed trying new things at my own pace. Feeding the animals. Helped with cleaning out some of the enclosures.  I have met some great people who dont hold me back. They help me with my skills by not telling me I cant do this cant do that.
I have also helped with the Out Reach program. This is a program where we take small animals out into public places and work with children. the program is about giving them the opportunity to interact and learn.

I have always had a love for animals and more so since the chair. They don’t judge me! Animal therapy has to be one of the best forms of therapy available.

I have also always wanted to work with young people, again with my role at the farm this may become a great opportunity for me to do that. I recommend volunteer work it will help you in so many ways. Never let your disabilities hold you back. Take your abilities and grow on your strengths.