Date of adventure: 5th June 2015
Although I’ve completed so many big adventures in the past two years, before the start of nearly all of them there is a point where I tell myself I can’t do it. The main reason I give is my Crohn’s Disease. It’s such an easy, knee jerk reason to give and thankfully one that my positivity typically overcomes in the end….after lots of procrastination sometimes.
I’ve come to learn that my decision to be adventurous is simply a battle between my negativity and positivity.
The idea of taking part in a nights camping adventure was exactly the same. I’d see friend’s posting about their camping plans, inviting everyone and anyone to join them but I’d always decline. Camping in the woods or on top of a hill a long way from a toilet was just too far out of my comfort zone. Until I climbed Kilimanjaro that is. For that adventure I’d procrastinated about it for well over a year before finally taking the plunge and loved every minute of it. Especially every day where I smashed my negative thoughts that once told me I couldn’t do it because of my Crohn’s Disease.
Roll on a few months and another opportunity to camp in the woods came up as part of Dave Cornthwaite’s Say Yes More Summer Series and this time there was no negative thoughts, I simply said YES!
The adventure began at Marylebone station where a group of us caught the 18.32 train to Wendover which is only a 45 minute journey away. Once there we met up with Dave and the rest of the joy filled adventurers who all had beaming smiles on their faces looking forward to the night of camping in the woods.
Budgens was our next stop to buy the evening’s food before heading off up a steep hill and into the woods. Reaching the top we took the time to enjoy our reward of the view down to Aylesbury.
Before getting settled at camp I helped others put up their tents and checked out Dave’s accommodation of a Tentsile which is a tent suspended between trees and something everyone wished they had to sleep in.
For me setting up camp was easy, all I had to do was borrow a bivy bag from Live With Purpose founder Russell Smith, roll it out and slip my sleeping bag inside, job done! Russell has been a real positive supporter of my adventures in the last year, no more so when he introduces me to people as a guy who has Crohn’s Disease and whose gone on epic adventures because of it!
I’m still not 100% comfortable having people share my Crohn’s Disease story with strangers, although I really wish I was. Especially as after the small group dispersed one of them came up to congratulate me on my adventures as they themselves have Ulcerative Colitis!! Which is a very similar condition to Crohn’s Disease. Even more amazing is that they are a keen traveler and hope to be heading to Australia very soon. It’s moments like that I wonder why do I make such a fuss sometimes about telling people about my Crohn’s Disease.
By now the sun was setting so a group of us headed to a clearing to savour the last rays of the day before it disappeared.
Back at camp it was BBQ time and a chance for everyone to introduce themselves to the group and see if anyone could help them achieve their adventure or life goals. Listening to everyone’s story it was great to see the possibilities that were out there only if you were prepared to take risk and light up your passion.
As the night grew longer we were warmed by the fire, the eating of sausages, the melting of marshmallows and the sharing of stories.
Evening’s like these are a shame when they have to end but after hours of talking about adventures planned or accomplished slowly people went to bed as the embers of the fire died.
Soon I was snug in my sleeping bag looking up at the stars and the moon. I didn’t want to close my eyes and sleep. I set my alarm for 4am to try and capture the sunrise but when I woke it was too late as I could see the sunshine licking the tips of the trees. Although only 5.30 I bound out of my sleeping bag and even sprinted for a bit down towards the reported hill top to see if any magical morning light was left. I wasn’t to be disappointed…
Soon after I bumped into Russell and Jenna who were heading to another look out point where a supposedly life sized grufallo was also enjoying the view over the rolling hills.
Most of the camp were starting to stir by the time we returned, sharing the cakes, flapjacks and crisps that people had brought the night before. Most of the group stayed for the café to open for coffee but I had to be back in London for 9.30 so I soon had to say my farewells.
Walking back to the station I was left wondering; why hadn’t I done something like this sooner? How can I put what I’ve learned from such inspiring people into practice? and when can I join the next one?
The answer to all these questions is simple….Say Yes More!!
Dave is running lots more one and two day adventures in June and July as part of his Say Yes More Summer Series. To learn more and to sign up check out his website.
Here’s a little film Dave made about our night in the woods