I’ve an admission to make, a guilty admission.
In our much-heralded break in France this summer, I worked.
By that I don’t mean I worked my way through the 400 plus cheeses in Super-U or the thousands of varieties of wine, I mean I carried on writing for clients and marking for schools.
What a pro.
What a bore.
What it meant though was that in 34 degree heat on the Loire-Atlantique, I had the perfect excuse to stay indoors or near the Wifi gratuit at the bar.
It reminded me of the summer of 1976, when as a kid from Yorkshire, the annual holiday was taken in one of three places: Bridlington, Filey or Scarborough, if the family Cortina could make it that far.
In 1976, just as forty years later in 2016, I remained indoors – in arcades as an 11 year old and now on a Macbook as a 51 year old.
Bit sad isn’t it?
Working on holiday.
Except I don’t see it as work – it’s something I love doing, this writing malarkey.
I had an epiphany two years ago, when I did a Roy Keane and texted someone telling them I was leaving to become a writer. I didn’t though – I got sucked backed into estate agency and teaching – but have thankfully reemerged with resolute intention of making it as a freelance writer or copywriter.
I love writing me, as they’d say in Manchester.
I enjoy the following I’ve garnered and many lovely connections I’ve made on social media pages, but today I realised that I have no anonymity, nowhere to hide.
Strava is to blame.
In the Vendée, my wife took a photo of me recumbent on the terrasse and it mysteriously uploaded to Facebook on arriving home, causing much mirth about my proportions. Eye bleach was needed, once seen it could not be unseen.
You get my drift?
We’re an Apple family with iCloud photos, you see, so when I flick through the camera reel in my iOS prison, despite it being deleted from Facebook pronto, I see it.
It is not pretty.
It disgusts me in fact.
Had some Icelandic or Japanese fisherman been holidaying next door (unlikely I realise), I would have been harpooned and dragged bleeding on to a sun-kissed trawler in the Atlantic, ready to be carved up as human sushi.
It made me realise though that change was needed.
I’ve worked in schools and jobs long enough to see the signs of impending mortality due to waist girth: and I can only just see my toes in the shower, so action is required and fast.
I won’t bore you again with my derring-do exploits of sobriety for September, but I’ll come to the point – the keyword Strava.
Strava, you’re probably well aware, is a fitness app.
It relies on GPS to track you, can auto pause and restart – but what I like about it, as a social media power user, is the giving and receiving of Kudos (thumbs up likes) and the ability for people to follow and comment on your activity.
So booze banished, belly ballooning, I downloaded Strava and set off cycling.
I’ve forgotten too how therapeutic cycling is, and whilst reaching speeds of 27 mph on these Norfolk alpine passes, remembered how lucky I was to be able to do this with the freelance writing role I’ve created.
I could still be in a classroom, I could still be watching fish move around a tank in an estate agency, but no, I’m cycling.
13.2 miles later, back at base, energised by the activity, I posted my route smugly on Facebook and got Likes and Kudos on Strava.
Follow me on Strava too.
I like Kudos too – so dish it out please.
Boys need praise.