London was my home for 14 wonderful years and it is without doubt my most favourite city in the world. You will not find a more culturally diverse and accepting place anywhere else in the world.
I saw lots of things during my time working as a crime scene investigator with the Met police but I can’t even begin to imagine what the victims went through during last nights atrocity.
I’ve moved away from London now but just a few days ago myself, Jaime and our unborn son were in Borough Market where this horror happened.
Jaime had a meeting in London Bridge so we took the train to Waterloo and walked along the Southbank to where her meeting was.
As we walked along in the sunshine the skateboarders were out in force, children were playing in a giant sandpit and the sun was on our faces.
After I dropped Jaime off I walked back through Borough Market and I thought about just how much I love London. All the different stalls, music and people of all colours and cultures. All of the things that help make London such a fun and unique place to be.
I took this photo as I walked along the Southbank. People playing on the river and a tiny stretch of sand in the middle of the one of the biggest cities in the world. Amazing!
I had no intention of sharing this photo. It just made me happy and I remember feeling particularly happy on this day. It also reminded me that there was still a big part of me that missed living in London.
It was a gut wrenching feeling today waking up to today’s horrific news. The news that another few extremist idiots had ended and affected the lives of innocent people.
This particular attack felt even closer to home as it happened somewhere that I had not only just visited but also somewhere that had brought me great joy.
I wanted to write this post to say that like every other Londoner I won’t let events like this ruin the life and the city I love. We can’t let fear win which is what these terrorists want.
I can’t even begin to comprehend what these terrorists think they are achieving.
Eventually all it does is make us stronger.
Our love and thoughts are with the victims of this terrible and tragic act of violence.
Much love and respect also goes to the amazing NHS and my former Met Police friends and colleagues, who last night proved once again that they are the finest police officers in the world.
Stay strong London.
A SAD DAY TO START AN ADVENTURE
I went to be bed last night super excited about going on this weeks adventure but woke up to the news of the horrific and senseless attack in Manchester.
My big brother, Barry and I have just spent the past 12 hours driving up to the highlands of Scotland listening to the radio coverage and we’ve both felt a bit numb.
We sent our love to Manchester as we passed.
We arrived in Fort William, set up camp and tomorrow we’ll tick off thing number 39 – Climb Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Great Britain. We then set off for 4 days of wild camping in one of the remotest parts of the UK.
This is the first time we’ve done something like this together and after hearing of the families who lost their loved ones, I plan on appreciating every single second of this experience with my Brother more than ever.
Grab your loved ones, tell them that you love them and do the things you’ve always said you’d do together. Life really is so short.
Tomorrow’s climb is for the victims and their families.
Much love Manchester.
HOPE SUPPORT SERVICES
Loved this day, love this charity and love these people. This amazing charity helps those going through a family health crisis and is run entirely by young people, for young people.
I feel very honoured to have met these guys!
Please get in touch with them if you know of anyone who may need some extra support. This is such a worthwhile and much needed service.
CLICLK HERE to find out more – HOPE
VISUALISATION AND THE 101 POSE
I spent last night trawling through just some of the many thousands of photos I’ve taken over the past few years when I stumbled upon this little beauty.
This was the very first 101 photo I ever took. My friend Gemma was taking a pic of me in front of the stunning Cathedral of Leon in Nicaragua when she suggested I turn around to get the 101 logo in the shot instead.
And with that, the 101 pose was born.
I’m going to be sharing some of the classic 101 shots over the next few months which I hope will give you inspiration for possible future destinations but also encourage you to get out there and take your own 101 pics!
101 t-shirts are now on sale so pick one up via the website and get out there and do something you love.
It doesn’t matter what it is, just as long as it helps you feel good! Send in a pic and we’ll plaster it all over 101 to inspire others.
Just visualising being in a place can evoke all the same sensations as actually being there.
Having things to look forward to helped me get over my own mental darkness during my worst time with PTSD.
Research has shown that when we visualise ourselves being somewhere or succeeding in something, it releases that feel-good chemical, dopamine, in the brain which can often be the first step in alleviating the symptoms of anxiety or depression.
So when you look at these photos or make a list, visualise yourself being there and I guarantee it will help light you up inside.
Happy visualising gang!
MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK
Mental health is a topic that is very close to my heart. This week myself and the inspiring Sarah Page from award winning insurance company Insurancewith.com had the chance to chat about our personal experiences via Facebook live interviews for the International Business Times and Hello!
You can find the links to both below:-
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY OF SOCIAL MEDIA
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and, as you may have seen, I’ve recently returned to social media after taking a 4 month break. I wasn’t going to say too much about this but much like when I spoke about my experience with PTSD after cancer, I thought there may be people that feel the same way as I do. Some of you might identify with the following and some of you may not, but whatever your stance, I hope this helps you in some way.
It’s fair to say that I have a love/hate relationship with Social Media.
I love that it can connect people and help to inspire or raise awareness about important issues, but I don’t like that everywhere I look now, I see people more interested in their phones than the world around them.
I saw this an awful lot on my trip around the world. In every hostel, people were glued to their devices.
I was careful not to blog during a ‘thing’ on my list. All of my posts were written afterwards so that I didn’t miss out on the live experience around me. That’s not to say I was completely present during all of them.
Last year, I used this photo of me watching the sunset over Horse Shoe Bend in Arizona as my personal cover photo and a friend commented “you like you are so in the moment there Greig”.
She couldn’t have been more wrong. As I sat there watching the sun go down over one of nature’s most incredible sights, all I was thinking was whether I had put the timer on and if the camera was in the right position. I must have taken 7 photos to get the right one. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to watch the sun go down over one of the most awe inspiring sights in the world and the only time I was in the moment was when the sun had eventually gone down and I had put my camera away. I absolutely love my photos and I especially love sharing these photos and places with you guys but I now wish that I had perhaps limited my time taking some of them.
Social media can be overbearing. Studies shows that it’s linked to depression, increased loneliness and anxiety. The average person interacts with their phone a whopping 3000 times a day and spends 145 minutes using it. Researchers found that the majority of that time is spent on Facebook. It’s madness.
Comparing our lives to the filtered lives we see on Facebook and Instagram is so damaging to our well-being, and so too is our need to share every moment of our lives with the world. I have always been very careful in assuring others that a trip around the world doesn’t solve your problems. Travel and experiences most definitely inject fun and optimism into life but I would never want others to look at my trip or my life and feel that it is what you need to do to feel happy. As I learned on my trip, all I was really looking for was a feeling of peace and contentment.
I left social media at the start of the year because it was causing me anxiety.
My travels and blog have brought many new people into my life. I have made lots of new friends, received thousands of messages and did a lot of work for various charities along the way.
But coming back home I struggled to keep up to date with all of the charities, messages and indeed friends. My contact with real people became limited, and I felt like I was living a virtual life. I constantly felt like I was letting people down – both online and in real life – and that I wasn’t a good friend or person.
You may be wondering why this only happened when I was back in the UK and not when my story was in the press during my trip. When my story was featured in the world press I was in the midst of travelling around South America. I made a point not to have a sim card for my phone and only used the wifi network at the hostels I was staying at. As a result I rarely got time to be online, so my time spent on my phone or on social media was brief and functional. When I got home however, this all changed and I soon realised I was paying more attention to my phone than I was to the people around me.
My world also started to feel cancer-dominated. I lost two friends to cancer and my news feeds were all about cancer. It seemed like I couldn’t even turn on the radio without hearing about yet another celebrity who had died of the disease.
I initially made some smaller changes to my life and switched off notifications on my phone, transferred my social media apps to a separate page on my phone and gave myself permission not reply to every message straight away. But it didn’t feel like enough.
So, at the end of 2016 I decided my health came first and came off social media completely. I was partly inspired by hearing that the singer Ed Shearan had done the same thing. He came off social media for a year, for many of the same reasons. He even went so far as to completely get rid of his phone. When was asked at a party why, he simply said “take a look around”. When they looked around the room he said that 50% of the people there were looking at their phones. “That’s why I don’t have a phone”, he said.
Coming off social media felt like weight off my shoulders but it was also a very surreal feeling indeed. I came off at the same time I had moved to an entirely new area. My phone rarely beeped and I suddenly noticed how few phone calls I received. My world became a lot smaller. I was more engaged with the people and the world around me and I was present. I’ve found I have spent the past few months spending more time with my family, I’ve read lots of books, written even more of my own book and I’ve been enjoying so many amazing experiences without feeling like I should blog about them.
I’ve also spent a lot of time researching why I did indeed feel this way and, as ever, been learning to overcome it.
You’re probably wondering why I came back on to Social Media. Well, it’s because I realised that social media and my phone were not the problem – it was me, and how I was dealing with them. So I plan to deal with them very differently now. The truth is I would like my purpose in life to be to help others. Whether that be my family, my friends or those who are just going through a bad time. I have learned so much over the years about physical and psychological health and I would love to share this whilst at the same time sending out some much needed inspiration. Social media is an enormous part of our lives and if used the correct way it can be a wonderful resource of hope and inspiration.
I plan on using Social Media in a less all-consuming way. Notifications will stay off and I will check it when I want to rather than when it tells me to. I now put my phone away when I’m around others and it is no longer the first thing I check in the morning or last thing I check at night. When taking in an experience I will make sure that the quest for the perfect photo is limited to just a few minutes rather than throughout the entire event. And my hope is that my unborn baby boy will never see me staring at my phone instead of his face when he’s speaking to me.
Finally, please don’t read the above and feel you can’t contact me! I absolutely love getting your messages. The support I’ve received over the past few years has inspired and motivated me to keep going (I fully believe that support is part of the cure for illness). All I ask is that you don’t judge me if I don’t reply straight away!
Much love and thanks everyone.
I’ve ticked some pretty incredible things off my list but I always wanted thing 101 on my list to be something extra special. Something so extraordinary and life changing that there was a good chance that it might not even be possible.
About half way through my trip around the world and after staying with various inspiring families and communities, I finally decided what that special thing was – To have a family of my own.
Last year I managed to achieve the first half of that particular thing on my list when I fell in love with the girl of my dreams. What was even more amazing was that she fell in love with me too.
A few months ago Jaime and I got the news I never thought I would.
After years of thinking that chemo may have stripped me of my ability to have children, this little guy suddenly appeared. I still can’t quite believe it. My thirties started off as a nightmare but now they feel like a dream. I feel like I am the most grateful person in the world.
This little miracle will be arriving later on this summer. My greatest adventure yet!
THE AMAZING LYNN – 101 GUEST BLOG
“It’s been one year since I finished treatment for breast cancer. Physically I feel fine but mentally is a very different story. Some days I see it as a success when I manage to get out of bed and make it out the front door.
Buying one of your Tshirts and reading your story is helping me to move forward, although I wish there was a fast forward button in learning to cope with the emotional side.
Here are my first 2 pics with the T Shirt, hiking in Chamonix with the view of Mont Blanc, on a recent holiday”
GUEST BLOG BY THE INSPIRATIONAL ALEXA
“I like this picture because of me and the world around me. I look at the picture and do not care about my funny hair, my long arms and huge hands, my grin, my funny trousers. I see my friend taking the picture on a warmish day, I can hear her laughing and I feel safe.”
I am Alexa. I relocated from Germany to London, my favourite city, in June 2012. In 2014 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had a mastectomy, followed by 6 cycles of chemotherapy and 3 weeks of radiotherapy, all at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, near to my new home in Chalk Farm. For at least the next 5 years I am on Tamoxifen.
My friends and family wanted me to return to Germany for treatment but I decided not to. I could not stand the thought of living in a guest room while I was ill and feeling down. I wanted to be surrounded by all the things I love, including my new life in London. For every chemo cycle one family member or friend came over to help out for a few days and after they flew back home I had help from friends and colleagues from London. They brought me cooked food, laughter and distraction. It was in this time that I realised that some colleagues turned into real friends.
From Facebook and 52 Lives I came across your Facebook page and bought one of the 101 Things-Hoodies. Please find attached 2 pictures where I wear it:
The first picture was taken by my friend Birgit. I go to see her and her family in Felixstowe, Suffolk regularly. I went there and because the weather was quite nice I wanted to see the port of Felixstowe. The best place to see it and have a good overview is from the Fort Felixstowe.
I like this picture because of me and the world around me. I look at the picture and do not care about my funny hair, my long arms and huge hands, my grin, my funny trousers. I see my friend taking the picture on a warmish day, I can hear her laughing and I feel safe (It´s maybe because of the walls surrounding the fort).
I also like to look at the other people/strangers in the picture. The girl in the right corner seems to thing “What is that crazy lady doing?”. And other visitors do not notice me at all, they just do what they were coming for, to visit the fort.
Sometimes it is such a good feeling that, although my life changed and shifted so much during the last 15 months, the world has not changed much and people keep on doing their things without knowing me or my story.
In the second one you can not see the logo well but I am getting something I always wanted to get, a tattoo. I never knew what design to get and where on my body to put it but when I was diagnosed with cancer I knew it before I started treatment. It is a “C” around my ankle, starting as a black dark letter, turning into a bird swarm.
One of the birds is red symbolising a hot spot in my pelvis, doctors found in a full body scan after my diagnosis which could be a metastasis. I always loved birds. So I hope to turn something really scary and horrible into something beautiful.
SURPRISING THE AMAZING OLIVER
Jaime and I surprised a little boy at his School so we could drop off a whole load of kindness courtesy of Winsley School in Bath.
Oliver is 6 years old and has been donating his super duper bone marrow and T-cells to his sister Evie who has Hodgkins Lymphoma.
As we all know it’s not just the person with cancer who struggles but also those around them.
Oliver has been through so much and has only ever wanted his big sister to be well again.
Oliver is Life no. 2 of the 52 Lives School Kindness Project and the children at Winsley School made cards, wrote beautiful letters and made video messages telling Oliver just how brave and kind they think he is. They also heard that Oliver liked going to the cinema so used the remainder of their cake sale money to buy cinema tickets for Oliver and his family.
We can confirm that Oliver is every bit the legend we thought he was and it was so lovely to see his reaction to receiving such kind gifts. His little screech at receiving the cinema voucher was especially awesome!:)
To see the video Winsley school made for Oliver and also see Oliver’s reaction when we surprised him at his school click here; – Winsley School’s message for Oliver
Turn off the news people, the world is filled with kind and wonderful people!