It was a week ago that my 17,000km solo expedition came to an end in Westminster and as you would expect it has been a very surreal experience being back in the UK. Running down The Mall with friends, family and well wishers was a truly unbelievable experience and one that I will never forget. Turning onto College Green and seeing so many people screaming and shouting gave the end of the expedition a fitting finale. Since then it has been none stop. It was only a few minutes after finishing that I was pulled away and asked to do some photos for The Telegraph and Getty Images. I felt a little bad as there were so many people that I wanted to go chatting with but the images that they produced were pretty cool.
While I was away having my photo taken friends and family sipped champagne and nibbled on delicious snacks my parents had driven from France. From there we escaped the cold and set up in a local pub. It was a great feeling to walk into a pub full of all your friends and receive a huge cheer – everywhere I looked their were friends all smiling. Priceless.
That night we had a little family dinner and I think everyone was happy it wasn’t too late or raucous. But it wasn’t over for me… I had my first interview at 12.30am which was a struggle to stay awake for after being awake for about 40 hours, flying across the Atlantic and running about 30km.
The next morning I was up early-ish and got my stroller back to my flat in Fulham and made my way to another family lunch in the City. It was surreal being back in a place I had spent 12 years working. What really hit me was how grey everything was and how tired everyone looked.
During lunch I had to sneak away from the table to do a live interview with BBC Five Live.
Tuesday was spent unpacking and getting everything into order. A number of people have warned me that reintegrating into “normal” life can be quite demanding so I was determined to get into a routine as quickly as possible. I have to admit that not drinking does help with keeping motivation up and focus on what needs to be done. In the evening Christo and I popped to the cinema and watched the news Star Wars.
On Wednesday it got really surreal. At 7.20am a taxi arrived and whisked me off to the This Morning studio in Waterloo. As soon as I arrived I was taken to the Lorraine and the Good Morning Britain studios and filmed running through them. I was then taken outside and filmed running along the embankment. After an enjoyable time in the waiting room with Facebook stars, reporters and Coronation Street stars I was ushered to the studio and a few minutes later I was meeting Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield. The interview was actually less scary than I thought and somehow I seemed to agree to come back on to the show and have my beard cut off!!! Watch the full clip HERE
From the ITV studio I was taken by taxi back to Fulham for a very cold photoshoot for The Times.
It was on Thursday that I realised that I might not be completely dealing with things properly. I had been back for 4 days and received countless emails from friends asking to meet up and subconsciously I had ignored them all. After 17 months of being alone I have got used to being exactly that – alone. Recognising that this was probably not that healthy I hit the email and set up some catch-ups.
On Friday I had some more interviews with different titles and spent the day trying to get on top of everything – something I still need to get on top of.
On Saturday The Times published a nice full page article that kindly made me a year younger…