Accepting challenges and taking on new experiences is crucial to growing and learning about yourself and the world around you, and it’s certainly something which I’ve benefited from in my life.
Since a small child, I’ve watched my dad constantly push himself and take on new challenges. Sometimes he’s failed but every time he has picked himself back up and tried again. It’s a great attitude to have and something I’m grateful has been ingrained in me – it’s ok to fail, and is all part of the journey.
The Virgin Strive Challenge is something close to my heart and heavily based on my own learnings of growth. I remember sitting in my kitchen at home a few years ago, throwing the idea around with my cousin Noah – it’s amazing to think how far it’s come!
The first challenge was in 2014 when we travelled from London to the summit of the Matterhorn in Switzerland entirely under human power. Any of you who have watched the video clip of me being air-lifted off the top of the Matterhorn, will know some of the challenges we faced and that they are no mean feat… and this year is set to be even bigger and more challenging.
I’ve completed sporting challenges and even embarked on an Artic Expedition before, but nothing could prepare me for the sheer exhaustion and relentlessness of the Virgin Strive Challenge 2014 route. We ran, cycled and hiked for days on end, and there were times I just didn’t think I would be able to finish. But that’s the best thing about challenging yourself – just as you think you’ve reached breaking point, something inside pushes you forward and you realise that there is way more than you think left in the tank.
Whether with support from teammates or sheer grit and determination, you just can’t give up. There really is no greater feeling than getting past that moment and realising you really can strive for more than you ever imagined possible.
For some people, adventure and challenge is about going to far flung places, but for me it’s about exploration of the body and the mind. It is during experiences like these that you can break yourself down and build yourself back up again with more strength… But the best bit is that through such experiences you gain the skills needed to thrive in life.
This year’s Virgin Strive Challenge starts from were we left off, at the base of the Matterhorn, and will take us all the way to the summit of Mount Etna in Italy. With just three months to go, I’m extremely excited to be reunited with some of last year’s core team and welcome our newcomers. We’re training hard, fundraising as much as we can, and are focused on giving everything to the challenge.
There’s still time to get involved though – you have until July 1st to sign up and join this year’s Virgin Strive Challenge. All our fundraising and awareness raising is for Big Change, to further its work to drive change for young people across the UK.
It really is the most incredible experience and you’re guaranteed to make lifelong friends. I promise it will be something you remember for the rest of your life!
Find out more and sign up here: http://bigchange.strivechallenge.com/