Small note: as you can probably tell, posting has definitely not gone well these past 2 weeks. I felt like I had no time to do anything, and just couldn’t get anything that sounded remotely decent to come out, so I decided to leave it. Hopefully I’ll be back again from now. Also sorry this is a day late!
A couple of weeks ago, I completed my qualifying Duke of Edinburgh expedition. Two days of walking, and one night in a tent on a slightly soggy field. There were points where I genuinely wanted to drop my bag, and fall in a ditch for a few days, but I managed it, and I definitely learnt a lot.
1. It is so much harder than it seems.
When I first said I’d do it, a few months of volunteering and a weekend walking seemed super easy, and I’d be getting something good on my CV, so why not do it? If you’re thinking about doing Duke of Edinburgh, not to put you off, but it’s bloody hard work, and I seriously did not realise that.
2. Everything is mental.
My shoulders ached like hell, I felt like someone had stood on my collarbones, and the feeling in my back was close to death. But I just kept telling myself I wasn’t tired and it worked? My mind was a varying cycle of “come on pal, are you actually going to give up now? Pathetic.” and “woah look at you go, if you’ve got this far you can go forever!”. That’s also know as the two sides of my personality: self-deprecating, and an actual puppy. Genuinely though, no matter how much my body hurt, if I told myself to get through it, I did.
3. The weirdest things can motivate you, and that’s okay.
There were points where I was motivated by actual reasons like “you’ll be so proud once you finish this”, and “this will look great on your CV”, but if I’m perfectly honest by the end of it, I was solely motivated by the fact I would be able to have a cereal bar at the next checkpoint. But that got me through it and I’m okay with that.
4. I can do anything I put my mind to.
On the actual, we’d stopped at a lock on the canal and I thought, “right okay, I don’t want to do this anymore”. I did the same thing at the first checkpoint, and the second, and when we stopped at some lady’s house to ask if we could use her toilet, and at the third checkpoint, and also when we got to camp. Also all the way through the second day. But, low and behold, I bloody made it, and I’m fucking proud.
Although I probably make it sound like the worst thing ever, I really enjoyed it and I’m going to sound like some random teacher that tries to get you to do random shit like this, but if you have the chance, I would definitely do it. Thanks for reading!