There is, of course, the charity element and raising awareness for mental health, which has huge relevance (obviously). But the real reason I’m walking across India might just resonate with you!
I had a midlife crisis at 40, at least I think I did.
Turning thirty was a blast. Life was damn good. I had plenty of money in the bank, I was living in Brighton, owned a beautiful apartment, ran a couple of businesses, and was DJ’ing at all the best clubs in London and Brighton.
'Man, I’m smashing it', I remember thinking to myself. Life couldn't be better.
Fast forward a decade and fast approaching the big 40, my life really couldn’t have been different.
I remember sitting in a pub in Clapham thinking to myself, 'what the fuck have I achieved in life?' I was someone that never wanted to be “normal”.
Why hadn’t I pursued a career in sport. I envy the lives of rugby players, footballers and MMA fighters alike.
Why didn’t I pursue this career, invest in that company, buy shares in that stock?
I recall at the time, there being a lot of “why’s” and with those why’s came a lot of regrets. Suddenly, I didn’t see a life in front of me, I merely saw a life that had passed me by. I got a deep empty feeling in the pit of my gut.
I was all too aware of how quickly the last decade had passed by, another one of those and I’ll be fifty. Fifty for fucks sake.
I’m sorry, but I’m just not the type of guy that is willing to settle for dinner party introductions as “meet Damian, he’s an accountant”. No, never. You can call it egotistical, vain or whatever you want. I’m just not willing to be ‘Mr fucking average’, ‘Mr, what-was-his-name’. Not because I give a shit about what people think of me, because I couldn't care less about that, it's more about what I think of myself, and that I do care about.
Turning 40 hit me hard. I was in a relationship and comfortable. I’d put on a bit of weight, I hadn't achieved any noteworthy accomplishments - in my mind at least. We can all sit around and spurt off successes we have achieved in the past to make ourselves feel better. But, the fact is, all that goes out the window when you’re staring at the realisation you’re getting older and time's running out.
Inner peace (whatever that is), contentment, purpose, all the prerequisite things we strive for, meant absolutely nothing to me when I was sipping my beer in that pub in Clapham.
I thought my life at 40 would be so different
I didn’t have a Lamborghini, a big fuck off pad in Richmond, a safe full of expensive timepieces, I was as far away from a six-pack as a man could get, and I certainly wasn’t where I wanted to be in business and, quite frankly, getting older was scaring the hell out of me.
Suddenly, all of the material objects and signs of success that we know don’t really bring true happiness became extremely important to me. So much for all that therapy and coaching.
But more worryingly, I was turning into one of ‘those blokes’.
I know, it shames me to admit it, but I’d become one of those blokes who rejoices over past achievements. Business successes, sporting accomplishments and tales of travelling around the world.
I was slowly turning into one of the infamous armchair critics I deeply despised. I’ll get around to it tomorrow, convincing myself that shit's going to change, and I’ll show them doubters...tomorrow. Excuse, after excuse, rolling off the tongue.
Tomorrow never comes my friends
The weight of not being the person I knew I could be was weighing heavily upon my shoulders. It was causing me to feel depressed, frustrated and angry. It was killing me inside, because I knew what I had to do in order to become successful and get out of the rut I was in. But, I simply didn’t have the drive or enthusiasm required to do anything about it.
There were certain people in the spotlight enjoying great success who, once upon a time, I was a huge fan of. But, I’d grown to dislike them because, in my mind, they had got too big headed and egotistical. Deep down, I knew I was simply jealous of them. Jealous of them for having the motivation, drive and bollocks required to become successful in their chosen field.
Resentment kills you slowly inside
Joining a new gym, listening to a new podcast and going to yet another seminar, wasn’t going to give me the will I so desperately needed to change. I needed something big. Something beyond the realms of normality. I needed something that was going to scare me, hurt me, ravage me and push me so far outside my comfort zone I would have no choice but to change from being that fat lazy bastard.
I wanted a challenge that was going to fuck me up. I know this may sound somewhat sadistic to some people, but that’s just the type of guy I am. I say it like I see it. My girlfriend hates it when I say things like "I’m a fat fuck". She thinks it’s negative condemnations that reinforces negative beliefs. I don’t. I call a spade a spade, and I saw a fat useless fuck. Anything less, would be unjust and simply not the truth.
Lap it up fat boy, because shit's about to change
I wanted a challenge that was going to break me in every way possible - physically, mentally, and emotionally. I was done with half measures. I might lose some of you here, but bear with me. It’s just the way my mind works. If you had walked a mile in my shoes, you might understand my way of thinking. Let’s not forget, this mindset and attitude is coming from someone who was frustrated with life, disappointed in himself and fast approaching 40.
I needed a challenge that was going to be so tough that it would either make me or break me. A challenge that would set me apart from the average person. And so, I decided I would walk across the entire length of India with no support team, guide or fixer.
Fearless or foolish?
And, it’s been everything I could I have possibly imagined, and much, much more. There’s been times I’ve sat in my sleeping bag, under a tree crying with frustration and exhaustion. I’ve been robbed at knifepoint, had my room ransacked, got into an altercation with a bunch of eunuch’s, and had such severe health issues I genuinely thought I was going to die.
Yet, I’m thankful for every single experience, because any self doubt I had before this adventure has vanished. To say the trajectory of my life has changed would be a massive understatement. I’m only halfway through this crazy adventure in India and I can safely say I am not the same man who left the UK just over two months ago.
The man that left was an overweight, self conscious, and frustrated. Physically not built for endurance or extreme adventure. And, if truth be told, I hadn't walked further than 8 miles around Richmond Park before embarking on this crazy arsed adventure.
So much can change
The man that now stands before me in the mirror, is a fucking machine in every way possible. Lean, resilient, unfazed, self assured and extremely confident in his abilities. I’ve got an impregnable mindset, that has calibrated everything that I’ve studied and learnt over the years. It’s like my mind just needed a reboot and now everything is running in sync.
It’s an empowering feeling knowing that I can knock out a 40 mile trek, in 50 degree heat, carrying an 18kg rucksack, having only had 3 hours sleep.
I don’t say this to boast. I’m simply telling you how it is. I had all the tools and knowledge before setting off for this adventure, I'd just forgot how to use them. I had lost my way slightly. But, isn’t that true for so many of us?
How many of us have split up with a partner and said ‘why didn’t I do this sooner?’. Or quit a job and wished you have done it years ago. Sometimes, we all put off the inevitable, because we lose sight of our goals and ambitions. I know I did.
Change can happen in an instant, but we need to ensure we take the appropriate action before it’s too late.
Create Your Own Adventure
If you’ve got kids, a mortgage, a wife and commitments, I get it. You can’t just up sticks and piss off halfway around the world on a crazy adventure like I have. But you’re missing the point.
That was my adventure not yours
It’s up to you to create your own adventure. Who knows what that might be. But, if you really want personal growth and fulfilment, it has to be big. And when I say big, I mean huge. Don’t just say I’m going to lose weight, change jobs, or take up a hobby.
That’s simply doing something people do when they get pissed off with their current situation. Creating your own adventure has to test you physically, emotionally or mentally. Anything less wont give you the desired results.
Remember, we are looking for life changing results here. Something that will make you a better husband/wife, parent or success in your chosen endeavour.
Be detailed, be precise and be willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. But even more important, is to set a date and take action.
Since I embarked on my adventure I’ve grown as a man. In fact, I’ve become the man I knew I could be. It feels absolutely amazing to do something so out of the ordinary that it sets me apart from everyone else.
I created my own adventure that was relevant and unique to me.
The only person stopping you from creating your own adventure is you.
Create Your Own Adventure