8 September 2013
It was 4 years ago. I remember every footstep, the feel of the sand between my toes and the heat, the fantastic heat beating down on us. Holding hands, like you’d hold a child’s weaving between red and blue of a derby day, but all alone, not a sound and not a soul in sight. It’s a memory that is ingrained in my mind and I still feel the tears being wiped away with huge smiles and an overwhelming sense of gratitude.
The Maldives is a special place, lost in the Indian Ocean, where abandoned together we are able to think, savour, dream, grow, learn, escape. Far from the madding crowd, a home from home.
We’d got married 26th January, a year to the date of my avalanche in Alpe D’Huez and we’d been coming every year since our honeymoon in 2002.
It was a ritual I looked forward to. I have no idea why it is so effective, but who am I to question the wonders of the mind.
With our 3 beautiful daughters, it was immediately apparent just how far we’d come on our journey in the last 4 years. Tegan was 9, very grown up, happy to read and avoid kids club. Poppy who couldn’t remember her previous visits couldn’t be prized out of the place. Coco was just in awe with creatures everywhere. And whilst we spend lots of time with the kids and we have some great holidays too, I can’t help thinking of all the thousands of times I have been told, “it will go so quickly.”
I think what I am learning is the connections that matter though are the ones that involve other people. Today an old friend and neighbour, Mike Perls, who had the big office next door to UKFast’s first office when we were both startups, sent an email out about a charity bike ride called “On the Road to Alp D’Huez” he is doing for Christies, where he’s aiming to raise £1m for a mobile chemotherapy unit. The last climb on the trip is Alp D’Huez, a mountain I know well as it is the place where I had my avalanche accident, on the 23rd January.
Just his visiting this place brings my memories flooding back and reminds me of the importance to help others who are less fortunate, it certainly triggered me to pay a visit to his website uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/OnTheRoad
So walking down the beach this last time, it was an incredible feeling. Watching the kids and grandparents heading across the bay in their little white boat, whilst Gail and I preserved our tradition, barefoot, the slow walk to the jetty, where every last footstep carries a thousands thoughts.
There was a flood of emotion, but no tears, until the sea plane and behind the sunglasses I could see the tears falling across a huge smile. Isn’t this what life is about?
It’s only now I am really beginning to understand business and actually how simple it is. The secret of life and business are identical. You can’t be truly happy with either unless you are happy with yourself. You can’t be happy with yourself unless you are contributing.
The best way to contribute is to focus hard on the destination ahead, never forgetting where you have come from and who you are, but most importantly helping others along the way. If I truly master these things, the second time around, I will die an even happier man.