Each of us was given our own unique version of 2020. This is some of mine in what was my first year as a Freelance Writer.

The three days in the run in to the end of 2020 have been the most exciting of the year for me so far as a professional Freelance Writer. I started telling people in the Travel and Writing industries about my ‘Project Nepal’ which has prompted responses way more positive than I had expected and set me along the path to Nepal in April 2021 (If the world opens up by then). I could never have imagine a year ago that things would start to take off like this before the Hogmanay Bells ring us into 2021.

I didn’t really know what I was going to do in the very first days of 2020. What I did know was that I’d just been made redundant from my job in Telecommunications of the past 24 years and I couldn’t face going back into the industry. Nervously, hesitantly, I told the people who loved me that I was going to be a writer. I think there was some nervousness about that idea which deepened somewhat when people asked me what I wanted to write. “Stuff,” Was the only answer I knew. I tried to find the words to dress it up as something sounding more professional, better planned, but everyone just heard, “Stuff.”

It’s OK To Think You’re Amazing

On Burns Day, I decided to post to my Blog which had all but been forgotten at that stage.

One of my first entries of the year was a wee poem which I posted on the Blog for Burns Day. I was wrestling a lot with the past and, without a job or a clear direction, I was pretty unsure about the future. All I did know is I was happiest when I was writing.

The Guy Behind The Door

As a writer, I really should read more. One book I did read early in the year was Ant Middleton’s ‘The Fear Bubble’. He describes our Comfort Zone as a corridor with lots of doors and, in true SAS style, tells us we should fearlessly kick in those doors and break out into a new exciting life. As I thought about the concept, I began to realize I was always kicking in those doors but I never saw what I was looking for on the other side. I wanted more than what I saw behind them. The heart breaker was what I saw behind them was me and the fact is that there is no more than that. The lesson, I need to recognize and accept me for who I am and stop trying to find, or be, someone else. The video below shows the poem I wrote about this.

A Poem about Self Acceptance

White Horses Music

I decided to try Music Licensing as a way to make money. To cut the long story of the somewhat joyous month of March short, my daughter, Joanna, came to stay with me during the first lock down and I set up White Horses Music to release the music we produced. Joanna is a vocalist and I wrote and produced the backing tracks to some of our songs. Though I don’t pursue this endeavour so actively these days, the label is still around and you can visit by clicking the image below.

White Horses Music

Would be wrong of me not to plug Joanna’s Music here also. If you’re looking for a very talented Female Vocalist, look no further than the Soundcloud link below.

Joanna McBride. A Very talented Vocalist

Worth Your Weight In Gold

I was out for a walk with my youngest daughter Julia in the late spring when our conversation set the scene for what was to become the main writing theme for me for the year. We were discussing stretches I do to reduce lower back pain which I suffer mainly because of the excess weight I am carrying. It occurred to me that, where I hadn’t lost weight in years, I had done what I needed to in order to carry my excess weight into some of the most amazing and remote places on the planet. I wrote a Blog Post called Worth Your Weight in Gold to tell my story and help other people. That led to a series of inspirational posts and Podcasts about my time in the mountains and, at last, my writing began to take shape. Click below to find out more and to listen to the Podcast.

You are amazing! I know it and you know it

Worth Your Weight In Gold E1 – Worth Your Weight In Gold Worth Your Weight In Gold

This is the first episode in the Worth Your Weight In Gold Series. In this opening episode we look at some of the things that can be achieved when we carry our excess weight into our dreams. It makes the point that, whatever magical person we think we would be if we lost our excess weight, we are that person already. We just have to learn to carry our weight into the adventures we seek. It discusses seeing Everest from a unique and beautiful viewpoint high in the Himalayas.
  1. Worth Your Weight In Gold E1 – Worth Your Weight In Gold
  2. Worth Your Weight In Gold E2 – How The Tortoise Won That Race
  3. Worth Your Weight In Gold E3 – Putting Your Heart Into Your Dreams
  4. Worth Your Weight In Gold E4 – It's A Stretch But You Can Do It
  5. Worth Your Weight In Gold E5 9 Ways To Get Moving Again After A Muscle Strain

Mountains Between The Lockdowns

Despite the many hardships, the fears, frustration and heartbreaks of this year, my brother, Abel, and I still managed to get out on the hills when it was clear to do so. In the late summer we managed to get away to the remote and beautiful Assynt and climbed the iconic Suilven. Among the rocks and crags at the top, looking for miles over the coast and the heather filled wilderness there was a moment of exhilaration and beauty that is the reason why we climb.

Suilven towering above the wilds of Assynt

It Started With Scottish Mountaineer

In the late summer, I finally made the breakthrough I’d been chasing. After some emails and a brief conversation, an article was agreed with the Editor of Scottish Mountaineer which was to be published in their Winter Edition in November. I didn’t know it then but this was to be the spark which ignited the flames of some rather exciting times. There was the obvious excitement of seeing the article in print. Then a few unexpected and very welcome follow ups. First, The Scottish Sun ran their own feature on my story. I would say they took a more light hearted look at my story than I anticipated but it was true to who I am and what I am doing. Next was a request to allow my article from Scottish Mountaineer to be re-published in Mountain Rescue UK. For sure, my story had gone far further than I ever thought it would.

Project Nepal

Some time ago now, whilst still living in a time of uncertainty, I booked back to back trips in Nepal for April 2021. First covering the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek and then straight into the Everest Base Camp Trek. Spurred on by the confidence from my first article, I have made some very positive and promising contacts and have around 5 articles in prospect to come out of this trip next year if the world opens up such that we can go. I’ve also re-connected with old friends and made some new friends along the way on this journey. For now my fitness leaves a lot to be desired and, this being New Years Eve, I shall be getting drunk. But that in the knowledge that my first physical endeavour of 2021 starts in the morning. I need to cover some physical activity every day in January in order to raise money for a charity called Sport In Mind who support improvement in Mental Health through Exercise. Click the image below if you wish to donate.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is red-january.jpg

Click on the image to find out more

So that, for me, was something of 2020. Those who know me well will know that there was a lot more to the year just past than that for my family and myself but this is the part of that journey I feel most comfortable about sharing. The other parts still get talked about every day in prayers, tears, smiles, memories and love. Lots and lots of love. I leave you with a Scottish Toast. Please raise a glass or a smile and join me as we head rapidly towards 2021.

Here’s To Us

Dedicated with love to my Mum, Valerie Clements who sadly passed away this year.

Valarie Clements (1945 – 2020) You shone a light on our lives that will never go out, touched our hearts with a warmth that will never cool and taught us by example that love never dies.

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