I am an ideas man. I think my dream job would be to work for a business where I just come up with new business ideas. I love it – embracing my creative side. For me, though, the ideas always revolve around what I could possibly push my body to do next. The following are the 3 questions that I constantly ask myself when I come up with an initial idea:
1. Is it hard enough to be called a challenge?
2. Am I likely to get shot while I am there?
3. Will I have to sleep in a tent?
I don’t consider things like cost or whether I might die completing the challenge. I err on the side of possibility which usually requires a small step away from what most like to call the ‘real-world’.
America for any adventurer (I guess that’s what I call myself now) is a place full of intrigue. It’s not an unknown quantity, we know what’s there, however, for me as a little islander, a person brought up in a village of around 3 surnames, America is the great unknown.
America Map Photo Gallery
I realise now how explorers must have felt throughout history, it’s exactly how I felt when I first had the idea. I saw it as the ‘land of opportunity’, a land of great appeal. After spending 6 weeks there I now know that whatever your adventure is, you can find it in America. I believe that there is a paramount reason that so few Americans choose to travel overseas, it’s not because they don’t want to or because they don’t like anyone else, it’s more because why would you? When you have every type of holiday and climate that you could want in one country, why leave?
I remember thinking when we were in New York how every stereotype of America was real. Those in New York were loud, brash and somewhat arrogant but what I realised about America was that they didn’t take it as an insult, instead they embraced their stereotypes. The hillbillies were hillbillies, so much so that when we went through one town, they even had a cafe called “Hill Billy Cafe”. In Texas and Oklahoma, we met some red-necks, that’s exactly what they had, red necks. I recall staring at a man in utter disbelief at what I was looking at!
One stereotype that bothered me somewhat was that of Americans being obese. When people mentioned to me about the size of some people in the US, I always just laughed it off thinking that I had seen overweight people before. Well, an overweight person in England looks like a cocktail stick compared to some of the people in America. It’s pretty sad to see to be honest. People don’t walk anywhere and with my experience of the roads out there, I can understand why, especially in the big cities. From time to time the pavement would just end whilst I was running on it, no warning. I would be running along and then – BAM – no pavement and I am in the middle of the road. Now don’t get me wrong this isn’t the sole cause of the weight epidemic in the good, old US of A but it doesn’t help if you are risking your life just by walking to the corner shop!
America’s allure and my somewhat obsessive fascination with the iconic Route 66, provided all the reason I needed to at least want to give this challenge a try. I still remember on the first Epic Run
a friend saying to me, “Whatever the human mind can conceive it can achieve!” I love that saying; it makes me believe that anything is possible. This is also what I love about America and for that matter Americans in general, they have a belief in themselves, a belief that they can achieve greatness – that they will attain the ‘American Dream’ no matter wat. How could this ever be a bad thing?
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