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This was perhaps one of the most physically challenging and dangerous moments of the trip. Yes, climbing down from a train onto a little stool and down to the ground in Alpine, TX. Not exactly xtreme adrenaline junkie stuff, is it?
But when I talk to people about travelling coast-to-coast in this way, many of them look at me in the same way they might if I was telling them I was going to climb into a cage and fight someone or bungee jump or go white-water rafting.
It’s a kind of adventure for the physically cowardly like me. I was never afraid for my personal physical safety on the first trip – well, momentarily and needlessly when I had my first experience of NYC I suppose but not for very long.
My senses already heightened by men wearing two overcoats tied up with string, I emerged onto 7th Avenue ready to see what the isle of Manhattan had to offer. Well the first thing was a couple arguing – not the sort of low-level passive aggressive bickering you see from couples in IKEA – no, full on, sassy. “you ain’t nevah gonna see yo’ children agin mofo” screaming match – just marching straight through the tourists. Tired, jetlagged, uptight and suffering from an imagination overfed with way too many nights under the blankets reading Amazing Spiderman as a youngster, I really didn’t know whether to laugh out loud or hit the deck because the shooting was going to start. So I looked to Dana. Who was laughing. Not at the couple but at me, for being such an out-of-towner.
And I would never even go snowboarding, let alone jump off something tied to a piece of elastic.
But *this* kind of adventure appeals to me, the challenge of just making progress towards some goal every day and being as present and authentic as possible. I’m not just living this when I go away, it’s become a way of life, where there isn’t a plan, a job, a safety net, but as long as I keep moving, talking about it, asking for help, that help and the resources I need happen to appear just at the right time.
Looking back on the first trip, it all seems incredibly safe. What was I worried about? The people around me at the time didn’t know. I try to remember this now that I’m stretching the concept a bit further and then start feeling scared about it. Being a bit scared is what it’s all about, It’s all part of the adventure.
This was the first Pro bout on the card – over in less than a minute. I didn’t catch how old Neil was but he looks like a kid to me and he didn’t seem to stand a chance.
This is the kind of experience Nick may have. Or maybe he’ll last longer. Maybe he’ll win…
And whether he wins or loses, I wonder whether he’ll ever want to do it again or if once will be enough for him.
The main reason for going to the show in Leeds was to get a feel for what the sport is really like. i had so many preconceptions and prejudices and I’ve seen them in other people too when talking about this project. Which is one reason for doing the project in the first place…
However, I did of course have a camera with me and so here’s Nick giving a bit of an intro to the evening. I got a bit too engrossed in the action after this to get really good stuff, but I’ll see what else I can pull out and publish and I’ll be capturing some stills from the other material too.