2016 might have sucked the rottenest of eggs in many ways. Welcoming 2017 with the norovirus rampantly making its way through the family might not have been the best way to see the new year in either. Of course, that was then swiftly followed by optical pit stops made by our old chum conjunctivitis. Sometimes I feel children are mere petri-dishes of bacteria rather than anything else.
We shall overcome.
I’ve been working bloody hard to ensure that we do, actually.
And one way of overcoming adversity that we are faced with in life is by showing it that we will not be beaten down.
What better way than packing your bags and setting off?
Perhaps packing your bags, setting off and having a damn good time filled with adventure, that’s what.
So that’s what I’ve been working on.
You see, for my brother’s funeral, he did not request flowers or donations to be made in his name.
That’s what he wanted for us.
He wanted people to use the money they’d have used at his funeral to put towards creating a memory instead.
Do something different.
Have some fun.
Knowing how I was still raw after the death of our dad and concerned about keeping me afloat once he too had passed, Jimmy decided to set me some challenges to focus on. We spoke often about the things he wanted me to do. High on the list was for me to complete the Three Peaks Challenge which was something he had always wanted to do himself. It was an emotional conversation that I remember clearly.
‘I don’t want to climb mountains,’ I sobbed. ‘I just want to scream.’
‘Then climb a mountain and scream,’ Jimmy replied.
He coached me on planning routes, reading maps and provided me with his tips and knowledge. I made the promise that I would complete the challenge.
‘You need to do more for you, Tania. You need to have some fun.’
I don’t know how much fun he thought I’d have climbing a mountain. I mean, he could have requested I visit the 50 best beaches of the world. But no, he wanted to give me mountains. Having lost 60lbs so far and with my fitness levels higher than they’ve probably ever been, I’m hoping to have a confirmed date for the Three Peaks Challenge soon.
I’ll also be doing the UK’s tallest freefall abseil from the ArcelorMittal Orbit. Because, you know, why not? Even if you are dangling 80 metres off the ground.
It’s all about adventure, right?
Another thing was to continue travelling with the children and to take them to see the places he didn’t get a chance to.
So we’re packing adventure into life.
This year will see us embark on a dolphin and whale watching trip with Harry, Eddie and Sid. Paddy and Ollie will be heading off to Paris next month to take a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower and a cruise down the River Seine with Mike, whilst Cait goes off to Luxembourg again during her break from work.
March will see Mike and I pack up our bus and hit the road for two months with ten of the children. We will be camping down through Croatia, Montenegro and Albania then settling in Greece for a few weeks before camping our way back up. We’re particularly looking forward to the horse-riding we have planned during our stay at an Albanian organic farm because where better to learn to ride a horse? It’s all about adventure, remember.
We’re in Italy and France later this year, Cait and I will be spending her 18th birthday in Germany or, more precisely, at her dream castle Neuschwanstein. We will also be visiting places closer to home, with glamping and camping and visiting places we’ve never been to before and doing things we’ve never done. Who knows where else we will end up or what we will do. Join us as we kick off our 2017 travels later this month with a trip to Wales.
Life is for living and we plan to make the most of it.