My big fat move to the countryside
I am a Londoner through and through. A cockney in fact, someone born within the sounds of Bow Bells (go look that up lol)
I have lived in East London for more than 40 years…spending just a few away in Winchester when I studied for my degree.
I set up this blog 12 years ago after coming last in a race in East London, much of my marathon training has happened on the mean streets of London, and there are few parks, bridges, or canal paths in London that I haven’t at one point or the other plodded in, along or across.
But I am now happily residing in the middle of nowhere in the COUNTRYSIDE.
Let me explain how and why…
I have always loved the vibe of big cities, but interestingly through my running adventures over the years, and in particular some early bootcamp holidays I went on, I also learned to love the countryside.
Aside from my work with the TFTR movement, I am an experienced consultant and project manager, having worked on BIG community engagement projects and programmes, including 8 years on the London 2012 games. I now work as a business growth strategist alongside my various business interests…and none of these require me to be in any one specific location.
When I had my daughter Rose in 2012 I always imagined I would raise her in London, and yet over the last few years, that has become more and more challenging, and I realised I wanted something different for her and for me.
In my work as a life coach I always encourage my clients to think BIG, to dream the impossible dream, to really dig down into what they wanted for their lives…and when I asked myself what I REALLY wanted, two things came up over and over again.
SPACE and FREEDOM
The pandemic wasn’t the thing which triggered these feelings, (as I was already looking to move before then), but it sure as help amplified my desire to get out of London.
My problem was I didn’t know where I wanted to move. My family are spread out all over the south east and not in areas I had any desire to move to really, so I started drawing up a spreadsheet with my criteria, which won’t surprise you included quite a lot of lifestyle metrics like, open water swimming facilities, parkruns, and crossfit gyms ha ha.
I came across the property I am now living in by chance, I had never heard of the area, and I didn’t think I’d be able to afford it at first. But after 6 months of being quite disappointed with properties I went to see, I decided to come and have a look at “The Barn” (as Rose and I affectionately refer to it)
The moment I walked in I knew it was the one.
It was (it is) MASSIVE.
And I could already see how life could look living there. Space to do yoga in the mornings without having to move a heap of shit out of the way first, space for my peloton bike to exist, without me having to exercise in a sweat box, a small outside space to do circuits or skipping, and then out of my front gates to miles and miles of country lanes, and public footpaths for my running and cycling habits.
And after a bit of research I realised there are 40 parkruns within a 6 mile radias of my home, 6 within a 30 minute drive. LIKE SERIOUSLY???
So in a 5 week period, I packed up all of our stuff, got Rose into a new school, moved and have set up home in a tiny little village in Hertforshire.
And it is every bit as amazing as I thought it would be.
Even with the stress of moving, unpacking, building flat packs and learning how to use the Aga…I am exercising most days (check out one of my early morning yoga sessions I posted on Insta)….and for the first time in probably a decade, I feel like I can breathe.
It is interesting though what has been coming up for me from a mindset perspective..
– who am I to live in this big house?
– will I lose my down to earth identity?
– will folks judge me negatively?
– will I be accepted here in the village?
– after the novelty has worn off, will I be less enthusiastic about training?
That’s the thing about setting BIG FAT STUPID GOALS, the getting them is only one part of the picture, allowing yourself to enjoy them is another.
Anyways…you will find me posting on social media (and maybe even blogging more) about my continued fitness adventures out here in the countryside.
I will of course be back in London all of the time…in fact I have just signed up for the Ride London event, so I’d better get my bike out of the shed and get familiar with the local roads around here…although maybe I will wait until it’s a little less icy.
I have a rumbling of wanting to write a new book about achieving BIG goals…I now have my own office to write it from, after writing 11 of my 12 books from the corner of my front room in East London….the twelth was written in Greece when I escaped there for 8 weeks in 2020 off the back of the first pandemic lockdowns.
I will take some time over the next few weeks to think about the next chapter for the Too Fat to Run movement…I am excited to see where it goes next.
Thank you to everyone who continues to help me make my dreams come true.
Looking to get back into running in the new year?
Not because of the whole “New Year New Me” narrative, but simply because that is when the next live round of my popular beginners/returners programme starts.
Check out Kickstart your Running here…register before 1st January, and I have an exciting thing I am working on behind the scenes that only my paying clients get access to.
We start mid January xx
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