When Life Gets in the Way

The last few months I’ve been a bit off grid with my blog, sorting out all the life stuff after coming back from NZ.

My last blog post was on my reasoning as to why I came back. Since then, early October time, a lot has gone on. Sometimes I think it wasn’t worth it, but then if you don’t go and try something you’ll always be left wondering, which can mess with your head, especially when you’re young.

In short, since coming back, I’ve got a new job for a great company that I actually worked alongside in my previous job, started and ended my first relationship, got a new flat to myself in Cheltenham, bought a new car (Ford Fiesta ST-500 2.0 Petrol 2008) & most importantly, got back into Skating Wales as often as possible. So highs and lows..

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The transition between getting my life and career back in check definitely hasn’t been a smooth one though, taking around 2 and a half months, which was somewhat demoralising at times. Safe to say I won’t be trying to move Countries again anytime soon. Money should never be required for happiness, but not having money to go skating as often as I would usually.. fucking sucked, to put it bluntly. Living on practically zero for the 3 months before January.

The odd time, maybe once a month, I was able to borrow my parents car and go for a session in Wales, definitely helped me keep going, not just because of the Skating, but having my friends back to share it with. I also learnt to change my Toeside stance to a much higher stance during this time, which gave me something to focus on. Below shot by Cai Davies. Eagle eyed viewers may notice I’ve chopped my Never Summer Reaper deck too, this was so I can try a 25″ wheelbase as opposed to 28.5″ previously, safe to say I love it and it suits my style of riding.

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When I finally did start work on the first week of January this year, it was mixed emotions, though mostly happy. I was dreading I’d have forgotten most of what I know after a 6 month gap of being jobless, not to mention having to meet and work with new people. Fortunately I surprised myself and quickly readjusted to having to fix stuff again, which I had almost forgotten that I enjoy and still do. Also I’m working in a very friendly team of techs, something I’ve not done before and I’m loving it so far, no planning and very little customer interaction, just fix stuff and write about it, perfect.

January seemed to fly by very quickly for me, focusing on my work, moving into my new flat and reacquiring basic things like a Sofa & desk etc. When my first payday in 7 months came around, well I haven’t felt that happy in a long time, money is a worrying thing at times. Getting paid allowed me to apply for a bank loan, which in turn got approved and I was able to go buy myself a nice car with low mileage, which I fore mentioned. The following weekend (4th Feb) I went down to Bristol to buy the Fiesta ST-500 and drive back the same day, even after paying out a silly amount of Insurance money and paying the yearly car tax. But I loved the car after a test drive, so to me it was worth it.

Literally the following day, Sunday, I was free and decided to go skate Wales at short notice, fortunately two friends were free, Jack & Richie. A few hours Skating at Junglewank and I felt like a kind of normality return, as we skated Wales pretty much every weekend the previous Winter.

The following weekend was the first Downhill Skateboarding event of the year, Dig Deep, organised by Pom Pom Tom & Ry of Brianne Collective. I had four of my friends from the Barrow Longboard crew stay at mine, AKA Borderlands Skatehouse for the weekend. The Skating was a lot of fun despite being moved on by the police on Saturday and snow preventing us from skating 2 of the 3 hills on the Sunday and helped take my mind off other things that happened near that time a little.

Below Pictures from the weekend, Jack Patten & Kev Hurdle, respectively.

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That pretty much sums up the last few months for me, safe to say it has been a slow return to ‘normal’. If there’s any wisdom I can share from my recent experiences, it’s be realistic when you’re trying something new and always appreciate the friends around you, don’t take them for granted.

 

Back Home

After an eventful 4-5 weeks in New Zealand, most of you know I chose to come back to the UK 12 days ago.

I don’t feel I have to explain all my reasons to everyone, after all, it is my life. But the main reasons were being very homesick, missing certain people and NZ turning out to be much more expensive to live and work in. I did a blog post the second week I was there, but didn’t share it anywhere, so go look at that if you really want to.

The downhill skateboarding I got in my time there was pretty epic, skating in Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown. But even so, I still genuinely prefer the hills in Wales. Contrary to popular belief, there are world class hills in Wales and I can’t wait to get back to hitting them on a weekly basis. City life just isn’t for me, skate and living wise.

Now that I’m back home in Cheltenham, the job search has begun and is very positive so far, I expect to have something by end of October/early November. I’ve also decided that, although I’m likely to get a job based in Cheltenham, I’m going to move into my own flat again, this time in North Bristol. I’ve always wanted to live in Bristol, good for skating, a few friends to go skate with, awesome nightlife, it’ll be an easy 45 minute drive to go to Abercynon in Wales (an awesome local if ever I saw one) and still close to family in Cheltenham.

Yesterday I went to Hog Hill for Hogtober Longboard Fest, not the greatest of hills, but it was awesome to see friends again and catch up! I did race, but only managed 2nd in every heat, not enough to get through to finals.

The next event of note is BDSL Winter Chaos, hosted by Skate to Escape, always a crazy fun 2 day event in the beautiful Lake district, on the legendary Thrill Hill. Link: Winter Chaos FB Event . #4Wheels2Mainstream . Last year was epic, tight racing, super wet and fun times back at the Hotel/Hostel. Ben Stainer will be defending last year’s win, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens this time round!

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Not a long post this time round, but the return to normality feels good and it feels like a new chapter of a book and I can’t wait to see what unfolds.

For those interested in the Double BDSL race weekend recently, instead of posting on here, I wrote it all on the Never Summer UK blog: NS UK Blog Post

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Photo by Kai Menneken.

 

Until next time, Peace.

Welly So Far

The last week or so has certainly been eventful for me. I arrived in Wellington, New Zealand, on Monday (12th Sept) after a monster 29 hour journey from Heathrow.

I’d never been to Wellington before, but I’ve heard good things. Although I’ve been to the South Island of NZ last year for 2 weeks. First impressions are pretty good, though I’m certainly not used to City life, having lived in towns my whole life. Everyone’s super friendly and helpful, buses are actually always on time and the roads are perfect for Downhill Skateboarding, though ridiculously grippy.

Though the Skateboarding is great (3 sessions in 5 days so far), my focus is primarily on the boring ‘life’ stuff. The job search is slower progress than I first imagined and finding a decent place to live is causing me no end of hassle. At the end of the day, I don’t have to settle for a shithole shared house with 8 other people (viewed 6 places so far), because I have the funds to do AirBNB’s for a few weeks, go live with a family friend in the South Island, just tour NZ as a holiday instead, or return to the UK. The plan is to find somewhere long term, where I can live for at least 6 months.

So far I’ve had to book another week at a different AirBNB for the modest but not sustainable fee of £300 (not NZD). The first week was always going to be tricky so I’m hoping for good news next week. Anxiety has set in a bit, not knowing what’s going to happen next, but I’ve decided to just try my best until 26th September (2 weeks after I arrived), before making any long term decisions.

When I think back to when I applied for my NZ Visa, it was because I wanted a change that would benefit my work/life balance. I was working 8-5 Mon-Fri in a job that didn’t have much potential for IT skills growth, doing nothing with my weekday evenings, Skateboarding on Saturday in Wales (always the highlight of my week) and seeing my parents on Sundays. Moving 12,000 miles away is a massive change and different to what most people do, but Skateboarding had a big part in where I chose.

I mainly wrote this post, just to clarify things for myself, but also out of boredom. Though I am quite Introverted, not being able to go out and socialize outside of Skateboarding feels strange, but again, time will tell.

Until next time.