Jump Off The Deep End

When I landed the opportunity to shoot tourism content in Africa for four months with TDA it’s safe to say I was over the moon.

Since I started making videos a few years ago all I wanted to do was travel and make films. I looked up to Youtube travel vloggers like Ben Brown and Louis Cole and thought if I could get paid to do anything, it’d be that. So I started a Youtube channel and made a bunch of random videos. I mean no one really watched them, but that’s how filmmaking started for me.

From there I moved to the UK on a study abroad year and made a bunch of travel films. They picked up a few thousand views and the university I was studying at asked me to make some promotional content for their study abroad program. Then I started freelancing online to build my portfolio. A few months later I left university to make videos full time.

At the time, it felt like a massive risk, a big leap, but now looking back I can’t believe I considered not doing it. Interestingly, the same thing happened the first time I rode a bike. I don’t mean the time when I was like 3 and had training wheels on. I mean that stretch in Egypt, that beautiful stretch of desert between Ain Sokhna and Ras Ghareb; the first time I had a go at being a cyclist.

When Shanny, TDA’s Marketing Manager told me the night before that I’d be cycling 70km, my first thought was ‘nope, that’s not going to happen’. I haven’t cycled more than 10k in my life and the last time I rode a bike was four years ago.

Shanny said that getting in the saddle was a great way to build relationships with the riders, understand what they’re doing, and why they’re doing it, so I could make the best videos possible. I saw his point, it’s a very smart thing to do, but on a 70km morning? Surely it’d be better to ride a 30km afternoon or something to ease myself in. But it was the first week of the tour, I couldn’t back down and come up with excuses.

So, I nervously headed up to my room and prepped all my gear so I could leave as early as possible. I had everything packed except for a pair of chamois, a t shirt and my runners. I woke up extra early, butterflies galore, thinking I’d be the laughing stock of everyone by lunch. I headed downstairs, put my bag in the truck, and waited in line for breakfast. The plan was to leave with the first rider and just cycle my heart out so I wasn’t last in at lunch.

I wolfed down breakfast and made a peanut butter sandwich for the road. Nervously I mounted my ride and started pedalling. About five minutes in, one of the fastest riders was on my tail, as she rode up I could see the puzzled look in her face – “you’re riding today?”, nervously I replied “I guess so”. She put her hand out for a high five and said “just remember to have fun”, before passing me and upping the pace.

After that all my nerves faded away, and as I rode into the sunrise I felt this immense sense of calm. But there was still 65km to go. Slowly but surely I found my rhythm. Other riders swished passed but it hardly bothered me, all I cared about was enjoying being on a bike in the middle of no where. It was almost meditative. Unable to think about any of life’s stresses I simply focused on pumping my legs and looking around once in a while. A few picture stops and incredibly tasty peanut butter snacks later, I came to the crest of the last hill, I saw the lunch truck and a massive grin emerged. I remember thinking ‘is that it? Is that 70km? Let’s do some more!’

Getting on the bike reminded me of the time I took that massive leap and left university. Full of nerves & worry I jumped off the cliff and it was the best thing I ever did. To me, this trip is quickly become less about filmmaking, and more about trying new things, pushing myself and seeing what’s on the other side. I think I’m doing ok so far, I backed up my 70km with a 110km a day later, shaved my head for fun and tried slacking just because. As I’m writing this all I can think is, ‘I can’t believe it’s been two days since I’ve been on the bike, I feel like it’s been a year.’ Oh how things change hey?

2 Comments for "Jump Off The Deep End"

Great background information.
Nice to hear your news.

You know I’m pretty sure every single one of us felt the same way that first day – I know I did. But nothing exciting happens in life without taking that leap. Enjoy! Looking forward to seeing your work. K

Leave a Comment for "Jump Off The Deep End"

Your Email address will not published. Required fields are marked