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13,000 Miles, 50 States and My First Big Adventure

Well hello there, nice to meet you - my name's Anna. I can’t thank you enough for stopping by on this, my very first Nature’s Bakery blog. I’ll give it to you straight – I’m pretty darn excited. So, where to start? Politics? The economy? Ancient history? How's about we begin with a few confessions…

Here's one - my passport doesn't look the same as yours. I drink a lot of tea. I put unnecessary ‘u’s in ‘honour’ and ‘flavour’, and although the colors of my country’s flag are of the same hue as your own, the shapes are all muddled and distorted. It’s true, I’m British. Think you can overlook this little nugget? Phew, then I’ll move right along.

I believe I've been granted an international pass through the sacred Nature’s Bakery gates due to a shared love of adventure and all things outdoors. Cue the tale of how it all began...

Jonty and Jamie - my two boisterous brothers

Back in the 80’s when shoulder pads were cool, and wearing denim with denim was acceptable (FYI - most definitely not acceptable anymore), I came into the world as the offspring of two Olympic athletes, and the middle sibling of two rather boisterous brothers. From that moment on, I can’t remember a day when I wasn't out and about playing sport.

I did what most ‘active’ kids do - I tried anything and everything on offer. Gymnastics, soccer, netball, hockey, track and field, until, in my late teens, I discovered rowing. For six years that followed, I trained 2 to 3 times a day alongside studying at College. By age 23 I’d given my heart and soul to the sport, represented Britain in international regattas and won a few medals along the way. But I’d also suffered a lot of injuries, become demotivated, frustrated and lost sight of everything I loved so much about sport as a youngster. So I dragged my childhood dream of becoming an Olympian like my folks, kicking and screaming out of the closet. I looked it square in the eye, and let it go.

I then threw myself into working life, and supplemented time spent at a desk with searching for a new challenge every year. I completed an Ironman, did cycling races in the French Alps, even swam round the British Virgin Islands. Yet, I couldn't help shake the feeling that I needed to do something…. big, that I had something ‘more’ to offer the world.

One July day, I was feeling particularly restless or ‘travel itchy’ as I like to call it, and I read an excerpt from a book called ‘Vagabonding.’ It said “ Vagabonding begins the moment you stop making excuses, start saving money and look at a map with the narcotic tingle of possibility.”  For me, that was the tipping point. With no real ties and fresh out of excuses, I went out and bought an aesthetically pleasing notebook (very important), did some research, and set my sights on a new dream.

The planned 13,000 mile cycling route through the 50 states

So here I am, 4 months into planning the biggest adventure of my life. In June 2013 I’ll touch down in Alaska to begin a 13,000 mile, 7 month cycle through all 50 states of the US. Because of the massive role sport has played in my life, I’ll be stopping in various communities as I go, trying where I can to donate my time to inspire kids to get involved in sport. I’ll also be raising money for the charity Right To Play, hoping that my little trip can go some -way to giving kids across the globe even a taster of what I had.

I’m just busting to tell you more about my plans, and about the cause I’ll be pedaling all that way for. Guess you’ll have to stay tuned for that little lot. In the meantime, it’s been an absolute pleasure – hope you’ll stop by again soon.


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