Trip Up in the Sun

This year has been emotionally gruelling for me. From within a situation, you can become overwhelmed, not knowing which way to turn. I needed to take a step back and reassess my priorities. So, I booked a flight to Tenerife. I cast my mind back to my wish to go travelling so decided to see this as a test run. I deliberately didn’t make plans, no itinerary, no expectations. Was I going to find myself? Lose myself? Only time would tell…

I was waiting for the taxi early Monday morning, around 2 AM I think. I was “bricking” it. I have never been out of the country on my own, much less in an electric wheelchair, which is in itself, quite restrictive already. I’d not slept for some time, so the stress was already starting to take its toll. I only became more nervous when I saw Stansted airport looming. To say I was daunted would be the mother of all understatements. It reminded me of venturing into the corporate world when I had only been a factory worker. I asked myself am I biting off more than I can chew? When I had checked in and was waiting to board the plane, a helpful member of staff came over and informed me that it was unlikely I’d be able to transport my cumbersome electric wheelchair, being that it doesn’t fold down. Brilliant, my test run had potentially crashed before it had even taken off. He explained that he’d see what he could do, so I boarded the plane hoping that my wheelchair would be waiting for me in Tenerife.

When the plane landed four hours later, I got off the plane and my wheelchair was indeed waiting for me. Happy days! I pointed at it to the Spanish staff member who didn’t understand much English. He understood enough, though, to inform me that it wasn’t mine. I had quite a compelling argument as to why it WAS, but he couldn’t understand it. I sat in the wheelchair and firmly refused to budge while he had a debate with his colleagues. I’m not sure what the outcome was, but I managed to “steal” it and get out of the airport, and waited for a bus. For some unknown reason, I’d decided to stay in Santa Cruz at the other side of the island. The right bus came but wasn’t equipped to take my wheelchair. I waited for the next bus and had the same problem. And the next, and the next. I decided to call the local bus station and enquire. They explained that there are only two accessible buses for this long journey, that I’ve missed the first and the next is in a couple of hours. Looking at the hundreds of people going about their adventures freely, and me not even being able to get out of this airport, I was feeling lower than low. Couple that with the tiredness and stress, and I was a mess. When the accessible bus finally came, the driver had to drop everything, holding everyone up, to operate a complicated lift system. He got me onto the bus and strapped me in like a useless piece of meat. This wasn’t what I’d envisaged his trip to be like at all! I got to the hotel after having a meltdown and feeling about as upset as you could possibly be. I was cheered up immediately when I got there and got a much-needed early night.

I did a bit of research and found out about a local beach which had been made accessible. I took a bus (all of the inter-urban buses are accessible) and went to the nearby beach. It was lovely and I sunbathed for most of the day. I got chatting to some people who are employed simply to help the disabled visitors. They explained how they can take me out into the sea. I expessed how I would very much like this and they dumped me in the sea and left. THIS was more what I had in mind!

I went back to Santa Cruz in high spirits and sat “people watching” outside with some rum. I then went back to the hotel, did some more research and made some enquiries. The rest of the holiday became a bit of a blur. I know that I went to see the new Star Wars movie a day before UK release.

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I also went on a tour of Teide National Park. I was able to take some great photos.

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The tour guide said, “Hey, I’ve got a gift for you.” He handed me a piece of obsidian. I don’t know if this is merely coincidence, but from here the holiday became amazing and I managed to make some tough personal decisions. Since looking at the symbolism of obsidian, it is told to remove negativity and help cut attachment cords. This great day was rounded off when I went to take a closer look at the National Auditorium. I thought wouldn’t it be cool if I could see an orchestra play here?
I went in to see if there were any tickets available for anything during the duration of my stay. The girl behind the desk explained that there was only the gospel choir playing within the date range I’d given her. Then added, “The Symphony Orchestra are playing tonight…” Amazing! And they were just that.

I got a reply back from one of the enquiries that I’d made; I’d explained my mobility issues to a company who specialise in paragliding from Teide. They told me it would be entirely possible. I arranged to be picked up from my hotel, armed only with a walking frame. The lead up to this experience yielded this beautiful picture:

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Here is me doing the jump:

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Feeling a sense of elation, I went back to Santa Cruz and found out just how generous this Spanish are with their glasses of rum. I woke up the next day regretting having made this discovery. With the state that I was in, I resigned to just get a replacement case for my sunglasses and go back to the hotel to feel sorry for myself. As I was rolling up the street, I thought I’d heard English sounds emanating from a couple up ahead. Having only spoken to Spanish folk in the manner that you would talk to a baby, I was missing exercising my vocabulary. I stalked them for some time until they sat down by the side of the road, on a shop window ledge. I approached them and we got chatting. They were a couple, Taciana from Argentina, Joe from New Zealand. They explained how they had just travelled across Europe, paid for only by music. They fascinated me, living a life I had dreamed of.

They were currently busking to raise money for a guitar for Joe, which he normally played while Taciana (or Tash) sang. They had a speaker and microphone but the adapter for these broke, so Joe went in search of a replacement. They said I was welcome to stay and watch Taciana sing a cappella while he was gone. I did this.

She sang a Spanish song, and it was beautiful. I could hear her passion for life in her voice. I can hardly comprehend someone going to such lengths, simply to enjoy this world. I then got thinking about how I am only where I am, because people have helped me. It’s time to give back. I approached Tash and told her that I would buy them the guitar. When she’d finished telling me that I didn’t have to do that, she was over the moon and couldn’t wait for Joe to get back. She excitedly managed to give him the good news and he disappeared yet again, this time to procure a guitar. Upon his return, wearing a smile like the Cheshire Cat, we set off so that they could buy me some drinks to say thank you. Joe’s smile didn’t fade, apart from when he started beat boxing and playing his guitar while walking; he had so much music pent up in him. They are my kind of people; we had the best conversation about life. They played me a few songs, some of which Joe had written himself, one which he dedicated to me as it resonated with me. It was called I’m Not Stuck in the System; I’m sure most reading this know that I indeed should be, should have been written off with no hope of life. Of THIS! We went back to the spot where we had met, and they sang with their new guitar, to raise enough money so they could buy me dinner. I loved watching passers-by taking joy from these two, a woman even grabbing the guitar and singing a song! We had dinner and agreed to meet the next day.

When I met them the next day, they were with Bart, a nice Polish chap who was travelling in the same manner. I saw the Law of Attraction at work, as these sort of positive people seem to group together. We all went for a drink and everybody passed the guitar around and laughed (apart from me, I just laughed).

joe-and-tash

bart

Then the “guitar grabber” walked past and did her thing. She grabbed and sang. She is filled with an immeasurable energy and love, which is highly infectious.

mariaa

She said that she was having a party in the mountains tomorrow, and that we should all come! I said that I would get us all a taxi up there, but the next day she was to turn up at my hotel having procured the use of her friend’s minibus. I went off to the mountains.

That night I saw a side of life I have not yet had the privilege of knowing. It was a group of people, many of whom had never met, whose only motives were to make sure that everybody had as good a time as they did. It was like I had known them for many years, and it was an honour to be accepted in this way. I stayed up till 5 AM, drinking and singing and laughing, enjoying more happiness than I have done in a long, long time. They next day, I was sat on the porch, overlooking spectacular views while the fiesta continued (minus the drinking!) Joe started playing with some beats he’d made from scratch with an app on his phone, which was connected to a speaker. I got excited and asked him to play my song, which I promptly recorded. I can’t believe that this music sprang out of nowhere without warning, most of it being improvised “on-the-fly”. This sort of thing has been happening constantly, but I was too busy enjoying it to be recording. Caution, the following video contains some naughty words (the picture is the amazing view I was looking at):

P.S The guitar get’s amazing!!

My only regret is that I didn’t re-book my flight and stay for longer. I have taken a lot from this holiday. One of the main things I noticed was my differing reaction to the two amazing events of the previous day. I have been recording the summary of the days events using a dictaphone. When describing the epic paragliding experience, I was quite calm and reserved. However, when I was describing the invitation to the party, it started, “OH! MY! GOD!” So, it appears that I get much more fulfilment from amazing people than I do amazing experiences; that amazing people to me are amazing experiences! The other main thing I took from this holiday is a note I wrote to myself, to be repeated to me every day:

Look at the things people overcome to experience this beautiful world. They mainly contend with money, you don’t have to. Instead, you have mobility problems. Swings and roundabouts. You owe it to yourself to not waste this opportunity.


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This has to be my favourite picture from Tenerife – some of my new amigos

This trip lifted my spirits beyond belief and reinforced that there are endless possibilities if you can only dream them.

About Nick Verron

Lead Ambassador for the Royal Bucks

Posted on December 30, 2016, in My blog, Top Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 87 Comments.

  1. This sounds like a truly amazing, freeing trip !!!!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. So pleased your impromptu trip turned out so well… and I suspect there will be no shopping you now!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Brilliant post, Nick. I’ve been waiting for it since reading your mum’s post about her Christmas gift from you. Great photos and it sounds like you had a magical time with your new friends. What’s next on your agenda?

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Wow, what an experience, Nick. A fantastic start to your adventures πŸ™‚

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Inspiring and uplifting for you to experience. Likewise for us to read.

    So, Nick, what next?

    Liked by 2 people

    • So many possibilities! The only problem is drilling down on one.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Congratulations. Ain’t it grand to be suffering from overchoice?! (as my friend Cindi always refers to it)

        Re: “I get much more fulfilment from amazing people than I do amazing experiences; that amazing people to me are amazing experiences!” We share that point of view – although I usually have to get out looking for amazing experiences to get to hang with amazing people.

        I treasure some of the tapes I made during some of my good times when I was your age. Make sure you save them – and label them with dates and names. Loved the photos – thanks for sharing ALL of it.
        xx,
        mgh
        (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
        ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
        “It takes a village to transform a world!”

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  6. Amazing, Nick. What a triumph! Lovely photography. May I re-use the auditorium photo as part of a Silent Eye montage for the final lessons?

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Well done Nick – Got another adventure in mind?

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I am so pleased that you are doing what you were born for livin and lovin it!! I wish you so much more of the same for 2017!! xxxxx

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I’m so glad that this first expedition was such a success not only travel wise but also in the people you met. It must have been amazing to have come away as uplifted as you seem.
    I wish you a very Happy New Year full of Dreams come true.
    Hugs

    Liked by 4 people

    • Uplifted would be an understatement! I think the happiness that has been infused to me has shone through, and that is why a cat has become my best friend and move it didn’t. I feel so privileged to have met these people when I did, it’s just what I needed. Hugs.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. What a great post and I am so happy you had such a great time.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. An incredible post of inspiration and the beauty adventure can bring to life if one is brave enough to venture forward ~ a wonderful read to end the year, and so worthy to sit back and think of what lies ahead around the corner in 2017. You must have made your mom very proud and happy. Best wishes to you and your family!

    Liked by 3 people

  12. What wonderful things happen when we jump without a parachute! Bravo! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 4 people

  13. The thrill of victory! I am SO, SO, SO happy that your trip went well and you made many great friends. As they say, ‘Love will find a way.’ You’ve proved it. πŸ™‚ May many more blessings come to you in 2017!

    Liked by 4 people

  14. i love every word of this post, nick, even the challenges, as they led you to where you were meant to go. i’m so glad this trip was restorative and renewed your joy in the world and the people within it.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Sounds incredible. Really thrilled it went so well.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Nick, my friend, this is a wonderful post, wonderful stuff, and I’m filled with admiration for your courage, and for what you have achieved in the face of adversity. Your positive attitudes are very, very valuable. What I am going to say? >>> keep on keeping on, just go for it!!! Adrian

    Liked by 4 people

    • Amigo, we discover so much about ourselves when battling adversity. Positivity is the key element in order to conquer it. There is no chance of me “quitting while I’m ahead”, if that were to happen, I’d have done so a long time ago. It’s because, I know in my heart of hearts that this world holds many more beautiful experiences if I only head out into the world with an open mind filled with the “key”.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I very much agree with what you’re saying, Nick. Positivity is extremely valuable. It can be elusive to attain, many fail to realise its value and others search in vain for it; but it is one of the ultimate objectives. Likewise, I very much agree with your words about “many more beautiful experiences” and the importance of keeping an open mind – again, something which not everyone manages to do. Follow your thoughts and ideals, my friend – and I’m always here for a chat. Good luck! Adrian

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Wonderful! I am so thrilled for you. What an inspiration you are.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. An amazing trip. So happy for you.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Wow, what a roller coaster ride. You had many difficulties to overcome and yet what a wonderful holiday. I’m so glad you met those people, like minded calls to one another. I went to Montenegro with two friends one year and we ended up having the time of our lives when the locals we had met took us to their hearts. We learned much more than we would have. Happy New Year Nick and may this year bring all your wishes true. x

    Liked by 3 people

    • It did have many “ups and downs”, but do you have to do experience the bad to make the comparison of how much better the good is! It does seem that positivity is like a magnet, and plucks people with similar levels of the stuff from the world around you. I learned so much more than I could ever have imagined and this will be the catalyst to experience more of the same. Happy New Year! x

      Liked by 2 people

  20. Wonderful post! Happy New Year, Nick!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Sounds like a totally wonderful experience, Happy New Year!

    Liked by 3 people

  22. What an amazing adventure, Nick! Just goes to show us again, that there is nothing you can’t do. I’m so happy you had such a great time out there in the world and am looking forward to your further adventures. I see a book in all this…

    Liked by 2 people

    • I didn’t consider that, but yes, there is great potential for a book! I’ll let you in on the secret; before I had booked this holiday, I thought back to everything that I’ve achieved over the past few years and came to exactly the same conclusion! This adventure just proves we are right πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Completely wonderful! What a great trip and experience – and I love the symbolism of the obsidian, too. So pleased it went so well πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Oh, Nick! How WONDERFUL to read you and your mom’s posts on your adventure – Happy for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. What a lovely bunch of people. The photos are brilliant Nick. I am so glad you enjoyed your time there. How you went on that jump I do not know, my stomach lurched looking at the photos (I’m scared of heights)!

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Did my other comment post Nick?

    Liked by 1 person

  27. A perfect post, in words, pics, and the experience. Wonderful.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Wow what fun your trip turned out to be…It looks and sounds like you had an amazing time…I am so pleased you have worked so hard to get where youare today…Well done you. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Reblogged this on Retired? No one told me! and commented:
    If you are having a bad hair day or your nail has broken then read this and prepare to be amazed ay the tenacity of this young man :)It will put a few things into perspective πŸ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

  30. So amazing! Your zest for life is so contagious! Your courage overwhelms me. You are beyond amazing!

    Liked by 2 people

  31. What an adventure, Nick! I’m glad you stuck with it through all the obstacles and ended up having an amazing time. I love the photos of you flying. Wow. Now, on to the next adventure!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Hey, Nick. I’ve been hearing (or, rather, reading) about you for a while now, via your mum and her blog. Today, I hopped on over here and read your first-hand account of what she relayed on her own blog. In many ways, we’re a lot alike. Whenever I travel, I “sneak” away from the tourist areas and go inland to see what a place is really all about; and I’ve made so many friends doing this. So your post made me want to travel again soon, among other things.

    I know that you are “just living,” and you probably don’t like undue attention solely on the account of your physical challenges. In fact, that’s the point of going and doing this on your own. But you sure make a case against complainers and naysayers who live small lives. Kudos for living life fully.

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    • I completely agree. Anywhere people go, it is set up to give people what they want, to encourage them to part with their money. This doesn’t reflect what actually goes on outside of that environment. I am glad that my post has inspired you to enjoy some more of this wondrous world. Just being on my own, in places of the world that people would deem average and boring, seeing how people will live life, is a privilege and a triumph πŸ™‚

      Like

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