Remember the last email you sent, or the last phone call you made, that you knew would have dire consequences? That as soon as you hit ‘send’ or the words began tumbling out your mouth, there could be no retractions, no way back?
Remember how that pang of adrenalin boomed and burst open in your chest, throbbing away until it consumed and choked your lungs? And once you finally fired off that mail, once you’d spat out all the right words (though not necessarily in the right order) and hung up, all you wanted to do is scream silently into a cushion or put your fingers in your ears and la la la la la?
That was me, just after midday today. Once the first tweet about @twitchhiker was sent, I stood up, sat down, stood up again, made lunch and proceeded to repeatedly stab a fork in my tongue, my shaking hands terrified by nerves. I was panic-stricken or, as I so eloquently put it to several people on Twitter later on, shitting my trousers. None of this was real until I told people it was, and I didn’t have to tell anyone. It could have been another one of those stupid bloody ideas we all have and never do a thing about, that we file away in the back of our brain and forget until we’re 87 years-old and playing mahjong in a home. And I was less than convinced that I wanted to attempt this. I like to travel, I’ve done some travel writing in the past, but this could see me end up as an unsolved torso case in Eastern Europe. Or Hull. The merest inkling of the slightest notion scared the living bejesus out of me.
At dinner time, I genuinely thought I’d never leave the shores of the UK on this challenge. I couldn’t see what possible combination of events could propel me over seas and oceans. 12 hours later, I’ve absolutely no doubt it can happen. None whatsoever. The kindness and warmth and support shown by those on Twitter has been everything I knew it could be. I still haven’t the first clue how I’ll depart the country after March 1st, but I feel as if sheer force of will take hurl me there, wherever there might be.
So if you’ve followed me today, if you’ve said hello, if you’ve already sponsored me, then thank you. You’re great, and you’ve made this all very real and very possible. Charity: water is an outstanding cause that will continue to prosper because of you. If you’ve already offered me lifts in cars and avocado trucks, if I can crash on your sofa or in your spare room, then thank you too. Even though the pesky rules of this challenge prevent me taking up any offers right now, as Juliette points out, all of these responses prove there are plenty of people on my side, willing this to happen.
If you’re Stephen Fry, I bloody love you too.
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