Day 424 – Tokyo, Japan 🇯🇵 to Hong Kong 🇭🇰, China 🇨🇳
I had a little insight into the crazy world of Tokyo, just 72 hours-ish – a real whirlwind.
A city of 10 million people, and yet all I saw were smiles, friendly gestures and kindness. It’s a place I will certainly return to.
Today was a 3.20pm flight, arriving into Hong Kong at 8pm, with just an hour’s time difference – a simple travel day. Needless to say I am rather used to this three-day cycle of run, rest, travel, repeat.
I awoke to rain, clouds and damp grey skies. I could hear the patter of rain on the window and the wind rushing past before my eyelids parted. Much like my eyes, the huge heavy curtains of my room let in just enough light to allow a glimpse at the morning sunrise over the city and a bridge in the distance. A deep fluffy duvet and crisp white sheets were the cocoon to my small tired body, curled up like a hibernating cub. I was ready to shut my eyes, roll over, and drift off to sleep, knowing I didn’t have to be up and out for another 4 hours. For a moment I rolled over and shut my eyes. You know that moment, where your body feels extra heavy, and you’re happy and content knowing the world can wait. But as much as I love sleep, the world can’t wait. Kev came to mind, and as is so often the case these days, I couldn’t shake it. Life is short, precious and unfathomably special. Sleep is great – but today is mine for the taking.
Who is your inspiration to reach past the snooze button and open the curtains to start a new day?
With a slight grunt and groan I threw back the covers and slipped my three-day-old shorts and t-shirt on. A quick morning gym session woke me up – or rather, the cold icing of my legs afterwards. Skip ahead several hours and my bags are packed, jobs jobbed, and I’m ready to board the Narita Express, bound for the airport. Airport number … I’ve lost count. I think today was my 205th flight. (Remember, all carbon offset thanks to Natural Capital Partners.)
Another country complete.
Day 425 – Hong Kong 🇭🇰, China 🇨🇳, Marathon 121
Boom. Oh hello, a massive thunderclap.
What a day. I was planning to run up Victoria Peak today, but my legs weren’t having any of it. I was pretty low on energy this morning and so found a path called Bowen Road – 4km flat, cut into the weird hillside and city combo. As I ran west, the path dropped away behind a barrier on my right-hand side. The skyscrapers, cranes and tiny cars were below me, and yet the city still towered above me on the left.
The sky was gloomy and I could see the storm coming in. Five hours running and I had a symphony of noise and flashes to accompany me. If I imagined some dramatic music and some zombies chasing me, I could have been in some apocalyptic film.
I have never heard such loud thunder. The ground shook, or at least my mind said it did. As the storm came, the rain followed. What was once a muggy dry day became an equally muggy and not very dry day – I was soaked within 10 strides.
I stopped briefly to put my poncho on and noticed what had once been steps was now a waterfall. My GoPro on my head managed to capture some pretty great thunder noises. You’ll have to wait for the documentary. My feet now wet, I had the ‘I’ve been in the bath too long’ feeling. My feet can’t handle the wet; they just disintegrate.
If you would like to support my mission to raise £250,000 for Prostate Cancer UK please donate using the link in my bio. Just a few pounds, dollars or euros will help me get there. Prostate Cancer UK is trying to campaign for a national screening programme. We can save men’s lives. Despite there being lots of science involved, it’s not rocket science. Donate and we can help stop men dying from this terrible disease. Thank you.
Day 426 – Hong Kong 🇭🇰, China 🇨🇳, photo day
The camera shop of my dreams and a photo-friendly city. Lush, as they say in Brizzle.
I love photography. Capturing a memory, a moment that will never happen exactly the same again, even if carefully orchestrated. People say magic doesn’t exist – surly this is proof that it does. It’s special.
When you ask people what possessions they would rescue from a burning house, one of the most frequent answers is a photo album or hard drive. When in panic mode it’s interesting that we would grab photos (i.e. memories) rather than money or things of financial value. What do you value? I have a box at my parents’ house – it holds all my precious memories, and they know to dash through fire to save it.
I wandered the streets with my camera in hand as my index finger hovered, curled and poised, ready to pounce on the next shutter squeeze. The classic boxy taxis, the ceiling of lights and concrete above, and the hustle and bustle of the street itself – brilliant.
I have been working recently on the Photography book ready to publish once the trip is complete. Back in the middle of last year I launched a Kickstarter campaign for the book. It didn’t hit its target by a few thousand pounds. If you’d like to support the book, please comment. I’ll be launching the Kickstarter again next week.
Hong Kong is a playground for any photographer. It’s been a big hobby of mine all my life, and now, with a Photography book coming out, I guess I can class myself as an actual photographer. All the gear and no idea, maybe – but it’s an art, so isn’t it all a matter of taste? If you want to buy my photo book, please comment.
Oh, and my three highlights for today were buying some new dirt-cheap memory cards, £2.80 for 32gb (I know), chatting to some locals in a mall, and writing in my new diary. I’ve been writing a diary for years, but today was a fresh book, and fresh clean pages to fill with my latest ramblings.
If you would like to support my mission to raise £250,000 for Prostate Cancer UK, please donate using the link in my bio.
Day 427 – Hong Kong 🇭🇰, China 🇨🇳 to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 🇲🇾
Roof-top DJ set, a huge suite, and great drone footage over the city.
You’ll have to wait to see the drone footage in the documentary, but the view I can show you. This beautiful hotel was having its first birthday and celebrating with a few DJs and live music on the roof. The infinity pool was covered, replaced instead with a dance floor and plenty of huge bottles of champagne. None for me, obviously.
I have a few bonus days off in the next couple of countries and therefore my mind and body is ready to relax a little. The flight this morning was easy, but the humidity here is much higher. It will be a tough one tomorrow.
I spent all of tonight snapping away with my new 50mm f1.4 lens. This won’t mean much to non-photographers, but with a LED bulb system and an off camera flash I accidentally spent 4 hours on the roof blending in with the official photographers taking nice motion blur photos of the DJs and punters. A great treat for me.
Let’s talk about cancer please. Some more stats to remind you how important this trip is to me. Kev, my good friend, has terminal prostate cancer and this whole journey is to raise some cash and much needed awareness for Prostate Cancer UK.
1️⃣ Over 47,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year – that’s 129 men every day.
2️⃣ 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime; for black men the risk is doubled.
3️⃣ Men aged 40 or over, men with a family history of prostate cancer, and black men are all more at risk of getting the disease.
4️⃣ Prostate cancer is set to become the most commonly diagnosed cancer of all in the UK by 2030 – which is why we must act now to curb its power to kill.
Please keep donating everyone. Prostate Cancer UK needs your help. Thank you.
Day 428 – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 🇲🇾, Marathon 122
45 laps, 30 miles and high humidity.
I’ve always wanted to the see the Petronas Towers and today I saw them for 5 sweaty hours, over and over again. I could have found so many great running routes around the city, but for simplicity and ease of access to water, I decided to stick to a run around the KLCC Park. This park is well kept, has a nice spongy 1.2km track, and is full of tourists wanting to take photos of the Towers. I chatted to locals as I ran and generally had a great time, until the sun came up. I was even stopped by a few onlookers who wanted photos.
The heat and humidity increased and I started to wish I’d woken up an hour earlier. After yesterday’s late night, though, this was not happening. If you’re a runner and happen to visit KL, then the route I ran today is great. Early on there were hundreds of runners all running the same way, just like a race, except it’s free, beautiful and no need to get a race number, just plenty of sun cream. The route isn’t flat, though it appears so for the first few laps. It soon starts to feel rolling. There are four sections for water, each with four water fountains. Top tip: the only fountain with any decent pressure is in the far west corner. The rest are just dribbles.
Many of you have asked how I measure the distance when I run on my own. And how I verify that I have run a full distance. The answer is simple. Lots and lots of rules stipulated by Guinness World Records. I have a 29-page document with hundreds of rules and regulations that are virtually impossible to abide by, but I do my best. For each marathon distance I must have watch GPS data, witnesses along the route, photos, videos and geo data. I also roughly mark the distance on a map to be triple sure. Along with all the other bits and pieces.
The witnesses are sometimes hard to find, especially in countries where English isn’t spoken. I stopped a few times for witnesses along the way, as usual, and made some new friends. Great people here.
Day 429 – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 🇲🇾
When was the last time you did something for the FIRST TIME?
A taxi driver named Jack, eagles, fireflies, temples, Little India and a cave – firsts were aplenty today.
With a bonus day in KL I managed to cram it full of amazing experiences. Despite the tiredness and humidity I knew there was a lot to see and not long in which to see it. Once again I feel I’m doing Kev’s message proud – live today, don’t wait for a diagnosis, life is short and so very precious – so act now and live with intent.
My alarm sounded early. I wanted to catch the sunrise between the Petronas Towers from the infinity pool of the 51st floor. A light pastel-coloured blob appeared masked by haze. Eventually the sun broke through to reveal a beautiful circle between the two buildings. The other hotel guests and I sat in or around the pool and stared out at the view. It wasn’t even 7am and I’d already taken some pretty great photos.
I then snuggled back into sleep for an hour or so before heading to breakfast and then out to explore. I flagged a cab to drive me to the famous KL Thean Hou Temple. Bright-red lanterns cast small grey speckles of light all over the temple floor. It was quiet, with incense hanging in the air.
My driver, just a regular lovely, friendly, Asian cabby, offered to show me some other sites around the city. Aware that I didn’t want to be conned into spending loads of money, I got the cost up front. It was just £40 for the whole day. He had 12 places in mind and we visited them all. A busy market, then to Little India, and so on. The list of amazing places today was insane.
The sun set quickly just after I’d finished feasting on local food from a market. Jack had driven me the hour-and-a-half trip to a small boat. This boat then took me out into the depths of the winding rivers to watch eagles. We waited and then they came – 40 eagles or so all feeding on food from the river at the same time.
Day 430 – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 🇲🇾 to Hanoi, Vietnam 🇻🇳
A massive train and a tiny street.
Hidden between the narrow hectic streets of Old Quarter, Hanoi, lies a world of washing lines, miniature homes, brightly coloured walls and one big train track. Motorbikes are no longer the biggest danger here. Despite the buildings being less than a foot from the tracks, and the railway sleepers that lie disjointed to the point the line appears disused, the high speed train hurtles through the residential street just inches from my face. For the locals this is a daily occurrence and one I will never forget, my sweaty back pressed up against someone’s house window and my feet at right ankles to avoid the possibility of any missing toes. This was the day of the Hanoi Street Train.
Today was in two halves – a mad rush to get to the airport in time, to then be rewarded with a stunning assault on the senses in Hanoi. What a city!
I am getting lax with my planning of transfers and taxis. I just go with the flow now. I hadn’t booked any transport to make the hour journey from The Face Suites in Kuala Lumpur to the out-of-town airport. No taxis, and no one around to help. It was 3.15am and my flight was at 6am. With at least 50km to cover and no transport I thought this might be the first flight I would miss. It wasn’t, but for a moment there, it was stressful. Note to self – don’t get so lax in future.
Arriving into Hanoi at about 8am after a super-early and frantic start to the day was a treat. I checked into the hotel and went straight out in search of beautiful street photography. For those of you who haven’t been here or know about the brilliant vibes of this place, it’s certainly worth a visit. The people are friendly, the atmosphere on the streets is one of chaos and yet it has an entirely relaxed feel. It’s great. It’s also not as warm or humid here. I hope this will mean a more pleasant run tomorrow.
A little ride on a push bike taxi to the infamous Train Street and I settled down with a long lens and wide eyes.
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