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If I have the chance to do something now and do not take it, I may always regret it

Looking back

Clearing out a few boxes of old stuff back at my Mum and Dad’s recently I found a copy of a letter. It was a letter I wrote to the headmaster at the school I had been working at during my Teacher Training course.

The school had offered me a full-time job. I was tempted. It was easy. I enjoyed the work. Life was good.

The letter was my response to this generous job offer. I found it fascinating to read it again, thinking back over all that’s happened to me in the decade since I wrote it.

I am often asked in talks whether my decision to ride around the world was a spontaneous one or a life-long dream. I reply that it had been a dim dream for a few years and that writing this letter was the decisive moment that tipped me over from pleasant daydreaming to committing to make something happen.

Here then are a few excerpts from the pivotal letter.

“Dear Mr. W,

…I would definitely enjoy working here on a permanent basis…

However there is so much to see and do in the world…

If I was to settle into teaching now I am sure that I would enjoy it, but there would always be something gnawing at me…

Therefore I have decided that I am going to go ahead with my original plan to take 2 or 3 years cycling around the globe. I believe that my experiences on the road will only serve to improve my teaching skills when I do decide to return to teaching…

Deep down I know that [teaching is] probably the sensible option. However, even deeper down I know that if I have the chance to do something now and do not take it, I may always regret it.
Yours Sincerely…

Chapeau, my young me. Well done. Well done and thank you!

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  1. Wonderful! What a great letter. You should frame it above your desk as a reminder to seize every moment.

  2. I think I recall you briefly alluding to this letter at the start of your first book.

    A surprisingly mature letter …apart from the bit where you thought you could make it round in 2 years. Does the fact that it lasted 4 make it a success or a failure vs the plan?!

  3. A surprisingly mature letter, apart from the bit where you thought it could be done in 2 years. Perhaps the fact that it took 4 made the journey more of an experience and more of a success vs the plan? Or was it just because Africa was not on plan A at all?

    In other news…

    * London To Amsterdam in 24 Hours
    Hats off to Harris Systems Limited’s International Marketing Director Ciarn Doran who will be leading a group of ten cyclists to ride from the headquarters of the International Broadcasting Convention in central London to the IBC show in Amsterdam (approximately 300 miles).



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