Can you feel a change in the air?
We’re at that time of year that I love: the halfway point. It’s a time when we can pause and look back over the last six months, add up our achievements and take a few moments to congratulate ourselves on a job well done. Then look forward to the next six months and anticipate those big expeditions and hikes that we started journaling about some months back.
At the same time I look at the other ways I’ve made progress in life. Treksumo, the outdoor gear review blog where I and my business partner, Jake, write is growing. Traffic is up and we’re getting some amazing feedback in the comments of a number of posts as well as offline nods of approval.
But that’s not enough for us. Jake and I love the great outdoors and, between us, we’ve trodden many miles in many countries and we want to share all of our experiences with the world in the hope that our journies will inspire others to make the leap into the great outdoors.
At the same time, I want to change the angle into which my personal blog, jamesredden.com, has tilted. There will still be a heavy emphasis on big expeditions that aim to raise awareness of various charities, but with a move towards more explorations of mind and body. These topics are dear to my heart and a few readers have already said they like the direction I’m taking.
Please don’t think this is a vanity project.
My desire to help others is very real.
Let me explain.
Just before my 30th birthday, whilst in the Army and on exercise in Norway I had what doctors like to term ‘an episode’. Some people may feel that’s a good way to desribe memory loss, parasthesia down the right side of the body, uncontrollable drooling and collapse, but, as you can probably understand, I have an issue with the phrase.
Moving on. Two hours and six holes in my arm where the Army medic kept missiong the vein, I was in a Norwegian hospital looking at an MRI scan of my brain. Sadly, I’ve lost the original image, but let’s just say that the tumour was pretty easy to spot, even to my untrained eye. A little like trying to hide a watermelon inside a hollowed out lemon.
To cut a long story short, I was flown back to the UK where a very nice man drilled some holes in my skull, peeled back the layers of my brain and popped the tumour out. Although my memory is still broken and I have a small amount of brain damage, I can still remember his words: “It was a whopper.” For any non-UK readers, that baiscally means the tumour was huge.
It seems I was rather lucky to be alive. Although the Army doctor back at barracks said he felt the surgeon might have been joking. I didn’t see the guy laughing.
Anyhow, in the intervening years I’ve had the pleasure of a full spectrum of issues:
- Poor memory
- Severe headaches characterised by intense, debiliating pain and huge blindspots in both eyes.
- A corresponding tempest of emotions.
- Not so great mental health.
I’m not over the hump yet, but I’m getting there.
And I want to share that journey with you. And anyone that might have been on a similar journey.
Some of the posts I’ve written will be moved to TrekSumo (mainly the expeditions reports and advice-type posts). Anything relating to upcoming treks and expeds will remain there because I feel this is the best place for them (for the most part, TrekSumo is a less serious read and definitely has no brains spattered all over it).
Likewise, any news relating the charities will stay here. As will the marketing content and public speaking sections.
I see jamesredden.com as a personal blog that allows me free rein to talk about both my trials and tribulations.
As I meionted earlier, the next big event is a planned South Pole solo in Nov/Dec 2021. We only have six months before the off and I’m a long way short of having the full amount required to pay for the trip (if you’de be so kind as to buy me a coffee, that would be amazing and $5 closer to helping me start the journey).
The aim of this expedition is to raise awareness and funds for mental health chariteis. The COVID pandemic has affected people in ways we won’t fully understand until the lockdown is rolled back and society shambles back into some semblance of normality.
That’s when the tusnami will hit. And it won’t be pretty.
Whilst I’m travelling I’ll be keeping a log of my thoughts and feelings – which will no doubt ricochet around the tent as 30 days of total isolation will have an impact. Then again, what with the past year of being removed from day to day human interactions, the ski might just a breeze.
So the detailed breakdowns of my journies and the vast outdoorgear reviews will continue at TrekSumo. Jamesredden.com will become a more personalised blog that encompasses brain injuries, mental health, expeditions, public speaking and marketing.
That’s an interesting mix.
As usaul, leave your thoughts in the comments.