Walking and walking… and more walking

It has been a beautiful day here in South Yorkshire. The perfect day for a walk. Luckily! I had planned the day for doing a site survey ahead of the software launch next weekend and was hopeful the rain would stay away.

The software is to be used for the Angling Trust’s Winter League final and as such I had 3 miles of the Stainforth and Keadby Canal and Lindholme Lakes complex to check and ensure it had adequate mobile signal. I opted to head for the Canal first as it was the biggest bit of walking. I was pleased I did as it was lovely. I parked near Staniland Marina in Thorpe and walked down from the pegs in the 280’s. A barge going through the lock gave me time to watch a couple of local anglers, one of which was catching a few small Roach.

Barge in a Lock

The walk down from the lock saw me get a bit lost in the long grass. Now, I’m not the tallest of people (a struggling 5 foot 5), but the grass was taller than me. There were a couple of guys fishing but I daren’t have a chat with them as I wasn’t too sure I wouldn’t stand on something. There was a moment when I wondered if that was going to be my entire 3 miles, but soon the grass cleared and I was faced with a brief walk along the road.

When I got to around peg 180, I encountered another group of anglers. It  transpired that several teams had made their way up to Thorne to get in some practice on the Canal ahead of next weekend, some of whom were staying to fish the Open tomorrow. A team from Oxford/Reading were very friendly and they were doing ok. I informed them of my mission and they wished me well.

By far the chattiest, was a gentleman at about peg 120 who was with Maver Image. He was sat behind one of his team mates and we had a long chat about the matches, travel, London and technology. By this point I had been walking for 2 hours and was starting to feel it. I had plenty of water with me luckily and I made my excuses and carried on walking. Other than a couple of other gentleman, there was then no one until I reached peg 20, where Ossett (forgive the spelling!) were fishing ahead of their League match tomorrow.


On my walk back, I filled in the guys with as much info as I could and again had a nice chat with the Maver Image guys. I saw quite a few fish caught, the highlight of which was a nice Tench of about 4 pound. Beautiful fish.

4 hours after I had started out, I arrived back at my oven of a car and headed over to the Lindholme complex to check the signal there. After several missed turns and spending 20 minutes messing about with EE (I really do not enjoy dealing with them!), I managed to get out and have a walk around.

It’s a wonderful place and is very well managed. Most of the guys were weighing in and as I rounded one corner, a group of chaps in fine voice, were handing over the brown envelopes of cash to the winner. As I walked past, a very cheery gentleman of advancing years, who I believe was called Lesley was holding the envelopes with a beaming smile. He asked me for a kiss to celebrate his win and, encouraged by several others and despite my first attempt at saying no, I gave in and gave him a kiss on the cheek. His smile broad and his friends cheering away, I carried on my walk around the lakes.

Lindholme Lakes

So now I am faced with a need to input some data into my system and look at one minor issue ahead of Friday. I’ve had an amazing day, but 18000 steps and over 7 miles later, I think for now I will enjoy my dinner and well earned beer… or two!

Best of luck to the guys fishing in the Open tomorrow on the Canal! Here’s hoping the rain isn’t as bad as they are predicting.


It’s been a bit of a week. In fact, if I’m honest it’s been a bit of a year! I’m currently sat in my hotel room near Sheffield wondering where the last 6 months have gone.

For those who aren’t aware, I work full time in London, but also operate two small ‘businesses’ (actually it’s one, but there are two sides to it). The first is my Photography and the second is software development. The software side has been my baby for years and it’s the reason I’m ‘oop North’ this weekend.

I find myself, complete with iPad, phones, laptop, camera kit (you never know) and a rather pathetic array of clothes, in a recently refurbished hotel room attempting to work out how I approach tomorrow. In my previous work, I was always working away here, there or wherever and I always had a brief. I knew what to expect (ish) and I delivered the goods (if my ex-boss if reading this and has other ideas… I’m sorry). But this time is a bit of an unknown. The software relates to data collection in Sport and as such I need to ensure that next weekend, the iPads have good enough internet signal to do the business. I have armed myself with an array of goodies downloaded from the App Store which are hopefully going to tell me good news and snacks.

I managed to entertain myself briefly in the rather packed (and noisy) hotel bar this evening, enjoying my beer and burger. The diet is nowhere to be seen and that’s working fine for me right now. I’m at the end of the first week of my marathon training but so exhausted from everything that it’s had to be turned into a 15 week plan. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Anyway, I’m quite excited about exploring this new part of the North. I normally skip straight past here and head for York! In fact, I think the last time I was in Sheffield, it was a day trip about 10 years ago!

Commuting and Summer

There is nothing quite like London in the Summer. Taking lunch by the Thames, the sun caressing the Shard, exploring Borough Market while avoiding the numerous cameras of tourists and being tucked under the armpit of a man on the Jubilee line.

As Queen’s, ‘I want to Break Free’ came on my Spotify playlist, my tube train pulled in to Waterloo. It opened its doors, welcomed several suited and booted men into the spacious 2 square feet of train I had all to myself and crammed me, sardine-like, up against the side of the train. In all fairness, I was tempted to compliment the owner of the armpit who had obviously taken great care in his personal hygiene today. No mean feat in the heat of the London Underground system. The owner of the size 10’s who stood on my foot twice however, was deserving of a slap.

This morning was slightly less of a trial I admit. Although I do wonder what happened to the American tourists at Baker Street who lost a child due to trying to get on the train when the doors were closing. They all got off, but left him on there. The woman was obviously distraught, but one of the gentlemen in the party simply said ‘He’s a big boy now, he’ll be fine’. There was no sign of said child at the next stop.

I was tempted, meanwhile, to shout at numerous people on the tube though. Walking slowly off the tube because you are reading your magazine/phone/book/paper/kindle/map/tourist guide (delete as appropriate) is not a good idea. If you cant multitask, focus on not hitting everyone while you move!

While writing this, trapped (although with a seat) on my First Great Painful train home, I have also been kicked. The man in question apologised, however,  he is having to cope with me elbowing him every two minutes. I think we are even.

Technology thoughts

It’s the daily drudge of the average working persons life. You get up, you go to work, you break for food, you go home, you have food, you go to bed. Maybe a bit of the gym/social. Sometimes, if like me you commute on a train, you also spend an unfair amount of your day stood on a train going nowhere fast, but we won’t dwell on that today.

With life for so many being so predictable and, sometimes boring, it’s no wonder that so many of us find ourselves seeking happiness and gratification in material possessions. In particular technology. How many of us have at least two forms of mobile technology these days? A mobile telephone, a laptop, a tablet… how much of it do we actually need?

Personally I find myself missing the days of stepping outside the house and not being able to contact anyone. However, I remember getting really frustrated at a friend who refused to have a mobile while I stood for ages waiting for them in the middle of Stroud Town centre one Saturday night!

Technology brings with it, a lot of problems. I wonder if our increase in stress and depression are related to the fact that we, as a society are constantly connected. When was the last time you went an entire day without looking at social media/your phone/tablet/the internet? I’m just as bad as everyone else, don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of these to sit and go on about how amazing my life is since I gave up technology or anything daft like that. And honestly, I have to wonder if it’s something that I could even do.

I find I’m quite an anxious person these days when it comes to knowing where people are. Simple things like where my Dad is, if he’s gone off on a bike ride and not returned when he should. Or when a friend says they’re coming round and they are later than normal (very few of my friends are ever on time!). If I can’t get hold of them on their phone, after a while I get worried. I think it stems from a few friends losing loved ones unexpectedly. I appreciate that’s a very negative way of looking at life, but there comes a time when we are all reminded of our own mortality.

On the other side of the electronic nightmare that is our lives today, there is no doubting the amazing things that it now gives us. I jumped on the tube the other day and took up my fairly usual location of leaning up against the glass overlooking my fellow passengers who were lucky enough to grab a seat. A woman sat near me was checking her phone and I found myself being nosey. I hate those that read over people’s shoulders, but I was captured by what I saw when I had turned around. She was flicking through pictures of 3D imaging of her baby. I found myself wondering what people 50 or 60 years ago would have thought, had they been able to see their unborn child like that. There’s no doubting that it makes our life better in so many ways. But are we capable of making technology work for us, rather than letting it control our lives?

**written on my laptop, on a train, with my mobile next to me and signed in to social media**


Well, it’s been a considerable amount of time since I last penned a post. A lot has happened since then. I had my work trip to Rio and then got swept up in a million and one things that I didn’t really have much control over. It’s been a tough last few weeks and today, on the 2nd anniversary of losing my Grandfather, I’m finding myself in a generally reflective mood.

One of the things that has been on my mind for a few months now, is the subject of loneliness. At what point are we actually alone? The reason for this trail of thought is due to a man, probably in his 80’s who I used to pass everyday on my journey to work. He would be walking to, or already sitting, at the bus stop as I drove past. He was always on his own.

It made me sad to see him there like that. His walking cane rested against his left leg, his eyes bright and a small smile as he waited eagerly for the bus to arrive. But why? He could very well have been going shopping, or to visit his friend/loved one in hospital, or perhaps just going to meet someone for a coffee. But what if he had no one? What if this man, whom the years had painted with wrinkles and the sun had weathered his skin, was completely alone in this world.

That last point made me stop and think. He’s not alone. He may not realise it, but every day, even now, when I pass that bus stop I think of that man. If someone is thinking of us, are we ever truly alone? So I don’t know his address or even his name, but he’s in my thoughts and, were I a religious person, he would be in my prayers.

We all have times when the days, weeks, months and yes even years, may drag us down and we all feel that no one knows what we are going through. But why is it that no one understands? In my case, it’s purely because I take no time to let people in and allow them to get to know me. That is easily fixed in time. There is always someone who will understand. Be it a therapist, friend, lover, colleague or anonymous stranger (The Samaritans for example), there is always someone to turn to.

Sometimes we need that grounding, to be reminded that we aren’t alone. We all have to muddle through and carve out a path in life. Rich, poor, hungry, full, married, single. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that we take the time to make sure people know that they are never alone. When you next goto the shops or to work, take a look around you at the people you see everyday. Those cars that pass by every day. Those people on the train with you. The people and those cars may be nameless, but chances are that at least one of them will recognise you and notice if you’re not there.

I haven’t seen that man at the bus stop in a few months now. I hope that it’s purely a change in his routine and that nothing has happened to him. My office will be moving soon so I will never see him again, but I hope that he is happy and safe. It may seem a weird thing to say about someone I have never (and will never) meet, but it goes a long way to remind me that no matter what happens in life, there is always someone who recognises you and probably thinks of you.

And for as long as that goes on, I can never really say I’m alone.

Travels of 2014 -Trip 3 (poem)

A little poem I wrote on my flight from London Heathrow to New York JFK on 9th Feb (and while waiting to get to the terminal building)!


Those crisp high peaks with wispy hair, no movement do they make
As crimson light from ageing sun, transforms those hills to lakes
Those sharp white clouds they are no more, they’re nestled in evening glow
With pins of gold and red shone through, natures closing show

Flying towards that dying sun, the gentle fading light
Westward bound, now clouds reveal, the mountains snow-capped white
The lights below begin to flicker, as mankind makes their way
Through darkened streets and winding roads, to finish off their day

The mountain ranges of Canada, they stretch out far ahead
With twilights glow and reflected white, the ground so few do tred
Now rested here at JFK, watching snow flakes fall
A blanket clean and crisp to touch, it slows us, makes us crawl

So now New York, what delights have you, for my month long stay?
Hard work no doubt, but laughter too, trying to keep cold at bay
This beautiful City, with so much to do, somewhere you have to see
It’ll charm your soul and make you smile, such a refreshing place to be.

Travels of 2014 – Trip 2

In the short period of time I have spent travelling abroad for work, I have learned a few things. Firstly that if you’re only going for a couple of days, there is no requirement for anything other than hand luggage. Secondly, for short flights, there is not need to get there any earlier than 90 minutes before your flight. In fact sometimes 60 is enough.
My trip to Sweden on Monday proved me wrong on both levels.
I arrived at Heathrow airport at 5.55am, 5 minutes earlier than planned, to be greeted by tailbacks onto the M25. Apparently, the world and his wife were attempting to park up and fly from Heathrow Terminal 5. 15 minutes later, I was stood waiting for the lift to take me up to departures so I could head for security. My colleague had arrived and gone through security so was waiting the other side.
Heading straight for security with my hand luggage and boarding pass in hand (how amazing is online check-in?!), a woman opened up one of the queues for me to go into, lulling me into a false sense of relief. With the delays of parking, I had a feeling that there would be more trouble to follow before I was sat in my seat on the plane.
I was right. Standing and waiting for my luggage to fly through the scanner, I watched as my bag was swiftly moved to one side in order to be searched. A good 5 minutes passed before anyone came to search said bag (due to a shift change) and I was left starting to wonder if my colleague and I would both make the flight. 6.30am and a lovely woman from security had removed everything from my bag and placed it into a container. Another 5 minutes and she was repacking my bag for me, happy that some antiseptic wipes must have been the item responsible for setting off the alarm that liquids were in my bag.
My colleague and I looked to see the gate we needed to be at only to find that we had to head for A10. We caught the lift and walked to our gate and I suggested we sit down as we had 20 minutes.
We hadn’t been sat for 10 seconds, before they announced boarding so that we could catch our bus to the aircraft.
As my boarding pass was scanned, the woman frowned and informed me that my seat had been changed as we were on a different aircraft. I had to laugh at this point. I had never had any of this happen before and it all managed to occur on the same flight!
Tired and frankly a little frustrated at my day so far, my mood was lifted as we emerged from the London cloud into a sky painted with orange streaks. The sunrise was beautiful and the rapid change from dawn to daylight was a sight to behold. Our flight was smooth over the sea and as we began our descent into Stockholm, the land was bathed in white.
As we emerged from the balmy air of Arlanda airport, we were hit by a bitter wind which struck like pins into our skin. A shock to the system it’s true, but the cold was completely different. Crisp, clean and cutting. Completely different to the thick, damp cold of England.
The rest of the day passed without issue and in the evening we took a walk around Stockholm, near Karla Plan. It was beautiful. A small amount of snow on the ground helped to light our way through the streets of this beautiful city. Lights were strewn across the streets in a dazzling display of cream and red. A true sight to behold.
My UK colleague and I enjoyed the trip immensely. Learning a lot about some of the software we needed, seeing our wonderful colleagues in Sweden and sampling the food on offer in the City.
To those who haven’t been yet, I highly recommend it. For just a 2 hour 30 minute flight from Heathrow, you can experience this wonderful and very friendly place. It has to be one of my favourites to visit. I can’t wait to go back.

Travels of 2014 – Trip 1b(?) – well it wasn’t for work and wasn’t abroad

Following my week in New York, I had a week off booked. This was my first week off since September last year, however I didn’t feel like I’d had any time off for a lot longer. Work has been hectic and with a lot of deadlines and difficult project work to complete. My week away from my mobile and laptop was to be spent tidying up the house and then taking a trip to the North to see some old friends.
Thursday morning I hopped on my train and headed up to Durham. Frankly this was a trip that I shouldn’t have bothered making. N, was due to meet me in Durham so that we could have a bite to eat, a drink and a catch up. He’s been working hard on building his own business and I did have a sneaky feeling that our catchup wouldn’t happen. Sure enough, at midday, he asked if I would be able to meet him a little further North. With a serious lack of funds due to waiting on expenses (and the fact that I was already travelling for 4 hours) I declined and we had to cancel. I was very disappointed, however understanding that he has been putting his heart and soul into trying to get his business going, I sadly conceded that there was nothing to be done or gained from being too upset.
However, emotional and still suffering the after effects of jet lag, I found myself, watery eyed, staring out of my train at London Kings Cross, contemplating what I could do with my short time in the Durham. In fact, I spent most of my journey trying to work out what to do. And there was a lot of journey. I left my house at 10.30am and at 3pm I was still sat on my train, just outside Grantham staring at the fields. At 5pm, I arrived at my hotel. Slightly worse for wear due to enjoying one too many glasses of wine.
Tired, emotional, tipsy and feeling generally rubbish, I headed for the hotel bar and had a meal there before retiring to bed early.
Friday morning I woke with excitement as I was to head to York to meet an old (and very close) friend. As I departed the hotel I looked across the River Weir and realised that my last trip to Durham had also been very short. It had centered around the building opposite, as I was there to train some staff joining the BBC (well, it had become Siemens) Technology team. It was at this point that I also remembered the steps that you have to take up to the train station.
After too many steps to count, a big hill and lots of regret over bringing spare shoes in my luggage, I arrived at the station. Frozen, hungry and a little hungover, I awaited the packed train heading to Manchester Airport, which would see me arrive at a slightly warmer York.
When I arrived, I walked through the City, aiming to locate my room for the night. My usual hotel choice had been spurned for this trip and I had booked myself and 3 friends (joining me on Saturday) into a pub in town.
The Roman Bath was a place that I had only ever walked past and glanced in before. It had been chosen primarily because it would allow one night stays on the weekend and secondly for its central location. When I arrived I was greeted in the most cheery and upbeat manner by Chris. His bright conversation and quick wit was welcomed after my dismal Thursday and I looked around to see several people enjoying a drink and food in the bar. I was shown to my room and I must confess to being pleasantly surprised. A small, but functional double room with an ensuite shower, TV, wardrobe and a proper key. None of this swipe card fun and games which usually results in being able to access your room at 3am and waking up everyone around you!
When I re-entered the bar later in the day, following a walk to my favourite Tea Room (Chloes, near the Last Drop Inn), I was greeted by Paul (who runs the Roman Bath), as if I were a regular. By this time of the evening, the place was buzzing, every table occupied by diners and drinkers. I had a swift half (of very good beer) and then proceeded to meet my friend, V, in the pub down the road.
The night was a lot of fun. We had a meal and then went back to our meeting place, where we sang along with the pianist (sorry Ali), before then heading to watch a band perform at the Golden Fleece. Much fun (and beer) was had but I must confess to being glad to get back to my room for some much needed sleep.
The room was perfect. Quiet, comfy bed and in the morning a good shower awaited me, followed by an even better full English breakfast.
Ready to start Saturday, I walked around York and then went to the train station to meet one of the party due in at 11.30. I ensured he could check into the hotel ok and then we took a walk to a pub to catch the Liverpool match. By this time, my other two friends were attempting to navigate their way into town from their parking position. This should have been fairly simple, however D, has never been the best with maps. Or directions. Or instructions.
Then, while we were in the pub, the heavens opened. It rained so hard that when my friends made it to the pub, D’s jeans were soaked through. They both looked like they had just stepped out of a power shower.
Once the game had finished, we agreed to take a walk back to our rooms so that we could all get changed (and that D and S could dry off/warm up!).
When we met up again we walked back to the pub in order to watch the Stevenage game (as D is a life long fan). The beer and company was brilliant… The football, not so much. V met us (once her hangover from the night before had settled down) and we went off in search of food. The rest of the night was brilliant. We talked about old times, old friends and faces that we hadn’t seen in years and of course caught up on some gossip.
We called it a night fairly early on and V headed home while we went back to the Roman Bath. We were just in time for a swift pint, so sat on the corner and continued our chats. It was at this point that I realised just how much some people have to deal with on a day to day basis.
S (who is D’s wife) went through a lot last year. My blog isn’t the place for detail, but I have the upmost respect and admiration for her. She’s a beautiful woman, tall, slim, blonde and walks with a confidence that few have. But every hour of every day she battles with anxiety and worry. So many people would hide away or let it drag them down, but she copes brilliantly. I’m so pleased and proud to be able to be considered her friend. I just hope that we all get to spend more time together soon. Never easy when you don’t live near to each other, but it’s a sign of true friendship when you can meet up after a few months (or years) and pick up where you left off.
As for D and S finding their car on Sunday morning, well… What should have been a 15 minute walk turned into nearly an hour. In the pouring rain. All due to D’s map reading ‘skills’.
It must be love.

Travels of 2014… Trip 1

New York, New York… Well, what can I say. The City is superb. this was my first ever visit to the US, let alone to NYC so I had no idea what to expect.
The apartment I was staying in was on the corner of 38th Street and 6th Avenue with a wonderful view of the New York scene. My first night in the apartment was pretty quiet as I was too tired to even eat, so I simply went to bed. The 6am alarm call was not well received, but I awoke, collected my things and headed out to the station, armed with directions. Sadly the directions weren’t entirely accurate and, after a slight detour, I arrived at Penn to meet my colleague.
Penn station was huge but surprisingly quiet (being used to London Kings Cross at 7.30am had prepared me well). We boarded the 7.39 (which made me smile – thinking of the Sheridan Smith drama of the other week) to Farmingdale and I was entertained to see that the buildings on Long Island were exactly as I expected.
We were joined on the train by a bright, intelligent New Zealander, M, who proceeded to talk me through the cab situation once we arrived at our station. The Checker cab company are something that I have never experienced in my life. You all pile into a cab, that Larry has sent you to, and the driver proceeds to drop you off in a (random?!) order. However you still pay the full fare. To say I was a very confused Brit, is an understatement. Still, 20 minutes later, we arrived at the office and I was soon settled into a desk with a coffee ready to start my training.
That evening, I got home at about 8.30 and by that time I had no will to go to a restaurant. I had been subjected to the mother of all ham sandwiches from a local deli (it was awesome but enough for 10), so I headed for Pret. I was greeted by a friendly American who served me and then said I should pop back as the manager was also from London. This did amuse me however I didn’t go back.
The days that followed were basically the same (although a slightly later train in the morning as my jet lag was kicking in) and I must confess that by the Wednesday I was craving vegetables and food that didn’t contain cheese.
I flew home on the Friday, but I had a couple of hours to kill (and to pack) so I decided to walk the few blocks up to Central Park. When I say few, I mean loads. It felt like miles. But it was worth it. The horses and carriages were waiting patiently as couples took the romantic jaunt around the park. I took the obligatory selfie with various high rise buildings behind me and then realised I needed to walk (at speed) back to the apartment and pack my case.
In my wisdom I decided that I should opt to go to the Airport (JFK) via public transport rather than paying the $80 for a cab. This was fine until I reached the steps at Jamaica. This was not a fun experience! The airtrain however, was a delight and once I’d worked out how to find the departure area, I was away. What I wasn’t prepared for, was having to kill over 2 hours in the tiny food court that is JFK Terminal 7. It’s safe to say that I was bored senseless.
The flight itself didn’t help my mood. The couple in front of me decided that the best thing for them, was to put their seats back for the entire flight. It was the red-eye so I expected people to sleep, but they insisted in keeping the seats back. I had no room to move. Luckily the woman and gentleman next to me were friendly and we had a nice chat about how their son was at university in Glasgow and about the town they were from in Azerbaijan.
At 5.30am we arrived over the West of England (a lot earlier than scheduled thanks to the tail wind) so after a lot of circling around Brighton and the South East, we eventually landed at 6.30. The rest of my morning was spent sleeping through my alarm and then driving back to Gloucestershire to see my family.
To those who think that travelling for work is glamourous… Think again. It’s fun and obviously I get to go to places that I would otherwise never go to, however sometimes, it’s just nice to come home.
Speaking of which, I’m off to Sweden on Monday….

8 hours to contemplate…

(Written on Sunday 12th while flying to New York City)

There are some things in life which surprise us. There are others which make us sad. Most days however are ‘generic’. Those days where you know what will happen and how you will feel by the end. For most of us those days are the ones that we are paid for, the days we go to work, our ‘9 to 5’.

What if we mixed that up? Do you remember that feeling as you walked through the school gates on a Monday morning? That feeling of dread (you’ve forgotten to do your homework), excitement (at seeing all your friends) and the possibility of seeing that one special person who is yet to be yours?

You may think that those days are at an end… or maybe you still feel this way about the start of your week (in which case I salute you and hope you never lose it)… but what about getting those days back? If you are married or in a relationship, I’m not talking about having an affair, I just mean, how about you start looking at the life around you with those child-like eyes that you once had.

As I type this, I am on a plane heading for New York, looking forward to a week that contains… well I don’t know what! A week full of new things, of excitement, new people, new things to learn. A bit like attending school all over again.

But you don’t need to jump on a plane and fly 8 hours to get a new perspective on life. I have had a pretty ‘childlike’ view on the world since the start of 2014 and frankly, I am a lot more positive and happy for it.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have a lot of responsibilities and I haven’t just abandoned them, but I am looking at life in a much simpler way. Last year was very stressful and sadly I took it out on those that I cared about the most, friends, family and certain colleagues that I have come to admire over the years.

This year, is about remembering what life is about. What is the point in worrying about tomorrow when you have to get through today? And if today is your last, wouldn’t you want to make it the best day of all?

Take a chance to look up, to look into the eyes of that man/woman you love (whether they know or not) and most of all don’t take a second of the time you spend with loved ones for granted. Not because it might be your last, but because it creates the beautiful memories that will see you through the darkest times in life. And no matter what or who you are, there will be dark times.

Lets face it, it doesn’t matter how positive you are, there will always be a time when all you want is to curl up in a ball and for the world to stop.

I’m chasing the sunset as I write this. It’s the most extraordinary experience… my flight departed at around 4.30pm GMT and yet, nearly 4 hours into the flight, I am still looking at a beautiful red sunset. It’s times like this that remind you how amazing the world we live in is.

It’s a wonderful feeling to know that everything I have been through has brought me here. I don’t just mean to seat 43A on this flight, but I mean to those friends I have and the work I do.

How many of you regret? If you regret a person or a situation, remember this, if you’d never met them or never been in that situation, you wouldn’t now know the people you know and have the friendships you have today.

Even when I look back to some of my darkest times, I just look to the fun and laughter that I have shared since and I know that this life is the one I was mean’t to have. I wouldn’t change a thing or a person.

Right… New York City… What memories will you create?