8 September 2013


First time back for 4 years

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.

But we just stopped going. We tried something different. And whilst that different took us on a new journey and a new adventure, and has undoubtedly helped us shape our lives and business, it’s not until you go the full circle and arrive back at the place where it all began do you fully realise the significance of certain people, places and their meaning.
Everything of any importance in life goes around in a circle. The Sun, the moon and the Earth all have a tight pattern, the elements, the seasons, life has a habit of balancing itself quite naturally. The animals and human life breathing out carbon dioxide and the plants that thrive on this, creating oxygen. I am a great believer in the way we move in circles too. Life is about connecting with people, places and events. But it’s the returning to a place that is the special thing for me as it’s a time when your emotions come flooding back.
20130908-215917.jpgWe hadn’t been planning to return; it was a last minute attempt to get me to switch off and have a rest, I reluctantly agreed but flying over the atolls and getting a glimpse of Rangalli Island and seeing Gail’s face told me we’d done the right thing.
Rangalli in particular, is an important measuring stick for us as when we first arrived we saved up to stay in the water villa and dreamed of one day being in the big sunset villa on the end. We set goals and each year on the same day, in the same chairs overlooking the Indian Ocean we ticked off what we had achieved and rewrote the ones we’d missed or were working towards and put them into a fresh book alongside our new ambitions for the years ahead.

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.


The Reasons Why

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.


Final photo The Jones Family on Tour 2013 Rangalli

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.



Early Evening Kicking Practice on the Beach


The Woman Behind It All (the other reason why)






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