Week 3 – 2021 (15th – 21st January)
Hope, Peace and Opportunity
This week’s been full of snow time in blue sky empty valleys; time to play in the fresh deep powder with Poppy, and of course spend some time trudging up to various peaks ski touring, hiking and running.
As of 22nd March, which is only a few weeks away now, I am due to fly out to New Zealand to begin my 1st of 4 expeditions this year. My aim is to run north to south of the country, zigzagging taking in all the best bits, much like The Italian Grand Tour but in the vast empty hills of both the North and South Island. With Covid still rife across the world, it’s looking unlikely that the borders will open. This is of course a shame – but it does however open doors to other opportunities. Fortunately we are not stuck in a particular country so watch this space. The 3 other challenges are also further a-field and therefore they too are at the mercy of Covid.
My outlook on this strange time the planet is experiencing is to plough on with plans, and let dreams continue. If I do everything in my power to make what I want to achieve possible – then perhaps everything else will slot into place. And if it doesn’t slot into place, then at least I did everything I could. Plan and hope for the best, but expect nothing. After a while this can become exhausting and frustrating – but actually the alternatives are worse. I could ignore advice and travel when we’re not allowed to – this, of course, is reckless and absurd. I could also sit and be miserable and accept that nothing will ever be possible. I’m sure you know by now that is simply not me. For now, we are doing all we can to plan for New Zealand – the rest is up to the planet to decide.
A re-introduction to peace.
Running and the outdoors has always been a place of peace and calm for me. In a world of haste, vacuousness, and frivolity – I like to remind myself of the precious things in life. For me being outside, in my own head, is a chance to reflect and simply smile at my fortunes and freedom.
My diary entry for yesterday, 20th January is below. Being the 20th and the day in which America begins to change its way, and its leader – I believe I had a subconscious uplift of hope in my heart.
Upward and into the vastness.
Today the slow melodic plod of my skis crushed snow with every step; the squeak of powder compressing under me, and the gentle glide of my skis on the snow – this, along with the occasional crow was my soundtrack to a day in mother natures playground. High in the mountains, with a chill to my toes, finger tips, and face there was not even a hint of breeze as I marched up and up. With my breath labouring up the steep inclines, I’d stop occasionally to take in my surroundings and reset my heart rate. The deafening silence of the spirit of the valley rang deep and clear. Be it the Andes, the Himalayas or just our little hills here in Europe, the sense of beauty in the abyss is something so profound and unfathomable – words will never do it justice. The fine white cloth of snow encompassed everything I passed. On my 5 hours climbing there was nothing to remark on, nothing to make note of – and that is what I enjoyed the most. A single vapour trail from a lone plane drew a neat fluffy line above the horizon; that made me think of all the air travel I was once, and so recently in the midst of – and now the world is on pause. And perhaps for a reason. It’s been a reflective and enriching day of solitude and peace. I am and always will be eternally grateful for the adventures I’ve been on, but too, the time in between.
If you’ve read my book, or attended one of my talks, or perhaps listened to one of the many podcasts I’ve been a quest to, you’ll know that I’m a lover of the outdoors and all there is to offer outside the confines of conformities and concrete walls.
I challenge all of you to embrace the wonders of the outside. The beaches, the ocean, the mountains, fresh air, trees, clouds, rain, and snow – We all too easily miss the beauty that’s right in front of us.
Thanks Mother Nature – you’ve hosted me well. I ask of you the same as yesterday – please let me have more tomorrow.
Goals for 2021 and a call for voulenteers.
I’ve had a number of people ask about what I’m doing next, and what challenges lay ahead for this year and beyond – the answer is simple – rather a lot, and I’m excited to share it with you (the news and the projects). So here they are in a nut shell – more info is on the website nickbutter.com. If you’d like to be invovled with any or all, please email me directly on email@example.com – the more the merrier.
With covid dictating so much of everyones lives it’s easy to slip into a never ending slump of doom, gloom and despair and for some it’s harder than others to focus on what we can control – For me, my outlook is one of hope and optimism – because without that – it all looks rather grey doesn’t it. My approach is to plan and hope for opportunities, but expect nothing. So that’s what I’m doing – There’s always a way to make any situation more positive than it feels. My plans are likely to be difficult to achieve with Covid affecting so much – but nonetheless, I’m going for it.
North to South of New Zealand [March 22nd – 40 Days] – This will be a solo mission (just me and a buggy with my clothes, cooking equipment, food, water, tent and camera) I’ll run as many miles as I need per day in order to take in all the best bits of New Zealand. Some days will be just the 26.2 miles and some will be 50, 80, or 100. All depends on where I want to go. It’s going to be a flexible, fun adventure to see New Zealand, run it, and photograph it.
Circumnavigation of Iceland [10th May – 40 Days] – A team mission, with some crew to film, document and support. I’ve given myself 40 days to run the very edge of the island. Volcanic rock, shorter days, and the harsh elements to contend with. This has been on my list for a while.
North to South of Malawi [1st August – 30 Days] – This has been planned with much help from friends V, Paul and a huge collection of Malawi supporters (thanks to all of them). I’m very much looking forward to this one. Beautiful country, selfless people, and I’ll enjoy dishing out support in the form of mosquito nets, malaria meds, and working with water projects. The miles will be hot and long, and I intend on getting my head down and banking decent milage early on to be able to support various charity projects on route.
Circumnavigation of Bali [13th September – 20 Days] – Let’s be honest, how can this not be a good idea? This will be the most laid back of the 4 challenges. Beaches, ocean, and a country where the people wave, smile and cheer. The slight difference with this one will be much shorter milage per day, but far greater time to support the community.
All of these journeys will be to support environmental causes, as well as our own 196 Foundation, and our Free Your Footprint initiative. These are things I’m focusing on massively over the next few years.
If all goes well I’ll have the chance to complete these missions. If Covid stands in my way, then alternative plans will be made – one way or the other, running will of course be the focus for the year. I’ve hinted before that I’m training for a bigger challenge in 2023. Miles of smiles will prevail. More details will be announced soon.