The Daily Explorer

December 25, 2009

Goodbye to the Noughties

London: December 2009

MOZZIE BYTE (Editor): A warm welcome back to all our Daily Explorer readers and greetings to those of you who are joining us for the first time. To our regulars, many thanks for viewing our online publication and for giving us your feedback. Over 26,000 visitors have been to see our site since the beginning of 2008. For new readers, Ray has been living nomadically for over four years since he left England in November 2005. In that time, he has visited or lived in 16 countries and we have been publishing news and stories about his journey throughout that period. You can find all of these in our Previous Issues archive. We always aim to maintain our high standards of journalism and presentation, so please keep sending us your comments and suggestions as to how we can improve what we are doing. You can use the comments box on this site, or email Ray (ray@thedailyexplorer.com) or ‘Mozzie’ or any of our correspondents at mozzie@thedailyexplorer.com

Our latest issue, and the last one of this decade, is online now. Since running in the New York marathon a few weeks ago, Ray has been recovering in London and taking a break from nomadic living for a little while. I caught up with him to find out what he has been up to and find out more about his plans for 2010.

In our last issue, Nick Elandimer reported from New York on the final stages of Ray’s global “Calling All Angels” fundraising campaign, when he successfully completed the New York Marathon on 1st November. You can read the full, exciting story of the race itself and some highlights from Ray’s eight-day visit to the ‘Big Apple’. If you missed it, you can read it now at: 256 New York Minutes

Above: Thousands of runners pass through Brooklyn during this years New York Marathon. It is one of the five boroughs that runners pass en route to the finish line in Central Park. Our global traveller (who celebrated his 49th birthday this year) successfully ran the gruelling 26.2 mile course in four hours, 16 minutes and 29 seconds – this was undertaken to raise money for three worthy causes. If you missed it, you can read it now at: 256 New York Minutes

On his triumphant return from New York, I was keen to find out how Ray was feeling as he recovered from his inspiring marathon challenge, so I called him after he touched down at Heathrow Airport. “My legs ache like mad and walking up stairs is very difficult, but apart from that, I feel very high after the amazing experience I have had. It was the culmination of a very exciting, very full year for me” said our happy traveller. “Some of our readers may know that I sustained a fairly serious calf injury about four weeks before the marathon, which I never fully recovered from. So I am very happy that I will be in London for a few weeks and can really let it heal properly. And it’s probably just as well as it is going to be freezing here at this time of year – far too cold to get up in the mornings and go running!” he laughed.

Above: These “official” photographs were sent by the organisers to Ray a few days after his arrival in London. Meb Keflezighi (left) won the men’s 2009 New York City Marathon, setting a personal best of time of 2:09:15. Keflezighi was the first American citizen to win the marathon since 1982. Our global traveller was feeling quite exhausted as he crossed the line, in 4:16:29 (right)

I asked Ray what else was on his agenda during his visit to London. “Four things come to mind” was his reply. “The first thing I want to do is collect the last few donations that have been promised by my “Calling All Angels” campaign supporters and start to distribute the $15,275 that we have raised. The World Cancer Research Fund has an office in central London and I am planning to go there in the next couple of weeks and hand them a cheque” explained Ray. “Then I want to catch up with a number of my friends here in the UK and thank them personally for their support over the last few months. After that, I would like to enjoy being in London – it is such a beautiful city and I never get bored of visiting as there is always something new or different to see. Finally, I am going to enjoy spending Christmas and New Year with my family for the first time in five years” added our nomadic traveller.

Above: The colourful Christmas decorations are up in London’s Carnaby Street as shoppers hunt for presents!

Below: Oxford Circus – “London is so familiar, yet still a fantastic place to visit, especially at this time of year” said Ray

Above: Some of the architecture in London is quite stunning, including the new Eurostar International Rail Terminal at St. Pancras (left) and the huge atrium inside the British Museum (right)

Below: For all UK travellers who have not been in London for a while, Ray discovered there is a new dedicated Marmite store on Regent Street (left). The following day, our global fundraiser headed for Bedford Square and the UK offices of the World Cancer Research Fund (right)

Above: David Quintrell of Brewin Dolphin (left) and Ray (centre) present Natalie Tarrant (right) at World Cancer Research with a cheque for £2,200 – “It was worth all of the months of training and the hundreds of telephone calls to get to this point” said Ray. “I wish that Jelly Blount, who lost her life to cancer earlier this year, could have seen this” he added

Below: Almost a year’s work comes to an end and Ray’s excitement is tangible (left). Brewin Dolphin made a donation of £500 and David Quintrell (right) came to present it with Ray – “I was blown away by David when I called to ask him for help” said Ray. His company manage my pension fund and so my link with him was quite tenuous. When I got in touch to tell him what I was doing and ask for help, I guess I expected him to make a small personal donation to ‘get rid’ of me. But a couple of days later, he got back in touch and said that he had mustered a lot of support within his organisation and that they would be able to contribute a total of £500! I nearly fell of my chair in my tiny room in Chiang Mai where I was working and his response gave me a massive boost of confidence in the early stages of my campaign” he recalled. “People like David definitely strengthen your faith in humanity” added our fundraiser

As many of our readers will know, the success of Ray’s global “Calling All Angels” campaign is largely due to the hundreds of friends and colleagues in 18 different countries that made donations to his fund. “Being in London gives me a great opportunity to thank a few of them in person and catch up with all of their exciting news at the same time” he told me. “One person I am particularly keen to meet is Kshitij Gheewala, who I feel like I know better than a lot of my friends, although I have never met him” said Ray. This confused me slightly so I asked him to explain what he meant by his statement.

“After leaving California in March this year, and before starting my marathon training in Chiang Mai, I attended a two-day training course in London for people wanting to learn new coaching skills” recalled Ray. “During the course, I made friends with a few of the people there and one was a guy from New Zealand, living in London, called Darren Withey. When I arrived in Chiang Mai, I received a telephone call from Darren asking me if I might be able to coach a friend of his (Kshitij) in Uganda by telephone. He explained that his friend was running a charity out there and if I were able to help, it would have to be on a voluntary basis. As I was receiving a lot of free help myself around my marathon training and fundraising, I decided to accept and offered to help Kshitij by having a one hour coaching session every week via Skype. He was very grateful and we began a very productive working relationship which lasted for around five months, until I had to leave Chiang Mai for New York. During that period, I got to know Kshitij really well, regularly discussing his goals and what was important to him. So I was thrilled to hear that he was making a visit to London at exactly the same time as me, and that I would finally be able to meet him in person” explained our traveller.

Above: Ray finally got to meet his ‘client’, Kshitij Gheewala (seen here running a fundraising event in London), after speaking to him every week on the phone in Uganda for five months – “He is a great guy – energetic and smart – who is putting his heart and soul into raising money to build a school for a poor community in Kampala. It was an honour to help him” said Ray

Below: Ray has been able to meet many of his campaign supporters during his visit to London. He had not seen Elizabeth Lovius (left) for twelve years – “The last time I saw her was when I got married, over a decade ago” Ray told me. “I discovered that she is now married and has two wonderful boys” said Ray. “And I also renewed contact with Claire Trigger (right), or Claire Coutt-Smith as some Daily Explorer readers might remember her – “If it hadn’t have been for Facebook, I don’t think I would ever have seen her again” said Ray. “Not only did she donate to my campaign, which is brilliant, she also invited me to a house-warming party in Guildford where I met her family and more of my former colleagues which was a pleasure in itself” he told me

Above: Other people who our traveller caught up with were Steve Shellabear (left), Angie Calder (nee McPhee) (centre) who lives in Kettering and Ian Roberts (right), all former colleagues from a company called Programmes where Ray worked over 15 years ago!

Below: Susie Giles (left) also worked at Programmes and now lives in Camberwell, whilst Anna Skacel (centre) lives in Sacramento, California – “She was over in London visiting her family and friends for Christmas, which was lucky for me! The last time I saw her was at the beginning of the year (see Adios California)” said Ray. And last but not least, there was also a re-union for Ray with Darren Withey (right), who he met on the coaching course in March and who introduced Ray to Kshitij Gheewala (see above)

So what about next year? I asked Ray to tell me more about his plans. “There are a couple of things that are already on my itinerary for 2010 and a few others that I am considering” he told me. “One of the most important things is to take the money that has been raised from the “Calling All Angels” campaign to the Namaste Childrens House in Nepal and the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai (northern Thailand). Fortunately for me, Visma Raj Paudel, who runs the Namaste Childrens House, was in London to attend an event run by one of their long-term financial supporters just after I returned from New York. We met for a couple of hours so that I could confirm how much money had been allocated for his organisation and started looking at what they most need. My intention is to return to Nepal in March or April to work with Visma procuring the things we finally decide are the most worthwhile. I am waiting until then as it is very cold in Nepal at the moment and I am hoping to do the Everest Base Camp trek whilst I am there. I think it would be too cold to attempt it now” explained Ray. “If any Daily Explorer readers are interested in joining me for 2-3 weeks to do the trek, please let me know” added our traveller.

Ray will also return to the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai to donate their allocation of money from his fund in early 2010. “I am still talking to a few people in the business world and those conversations will influence the timing of my visit, but I am hoping to get to Chiang Mai in late January or early February” Ray told me. “For a while now, I have been thinking about getting involved in business again. Apart from coaching a small number of clients, I have done very little work in the last five years and a part of me is missing the excitement and the challenge of it. If I can find one or two organisations that I feel good about aligning with, and will accept me working in the way that I would like to, that would be amazing. I am exploring a couple of potential relationships, with businesses in Australia and Asia and hope to have more clarity in the New Year” he told me.

Above: Ray meets Visma Raj Paudel in London – “I took him for a coffee to the National Portrait Gallery which has a great view over Trafalgar Square and the Thames” said Ray. “He is thrilled that we have been able to raise at least $5,000 for his orphanage and I will be working with him to make sure he gets the things they really need in the new year” added  Ray

Below: Ray will also be returning to see Lek Chailert at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai in the New Year to donate the money allocated to them from the “Calling All Angels” campaign fund (Photo: Nikki Ashley, December 2009)

Does Ray have any travel plans for 2010? “Yes Mozzie. Energetically, the pull is definitely towards India and depending on how certain conversations go, I am hoping to start exploring there from May onwards, after I have finished in Nepal” he told me. “I have had some time over Christmas to start my research and give some thought to how I might tackle it – it is such a huge country and I am fascinated by it. I could end up staying a while at many of the places I want to visit, so I think I will need to choose carefully” he said.

I also discovered that in the New Year, Ray will be taking part in an unusual workshop in East Sussex, known as “The Hoffman Process” and was curious to know a bit more about it. “It is something I have wanted to do for over 10 years but have never got around to” he told me. “I first heard about it in 1999-2000 from a retired chap called Derek Edwards, who was a mentor for me when I started my consulting business. He had done the course himself and said it had really changed his outlook, particularly his personal relationships. I then came across it again in 2004 as I was getting divorced but back then I did not feel the timing was right to take part. More recently, I attended a two-day workshop in California in March and the course facilitator there recommended it to me. Realising that I would be in London after the marathon and with no urgent need to depart, I discovered there was a programme running in early January 2010 and decided to register. I turn 50 next year and thought this would be a great way to start the new year and fully complete the first half of my life, with a thorough and deep understanding of who I have become and how I got to this point” said our inner explorer.

For readers who have not heard of it, the Hoffman Process is an eight-day intensive residential course of personal discovery and development. Held in a secluded country retreat in the UK , the process allows you to examine and better understand your life and reveals why you behave the way you do. To date, more than 70,000 people around the world have used the tried and tested Hoffman techniques to improve their quality of life and restore their relationships with friends and family. “People who know me well also know that I am fairly committed to my own personal development and to me, doing something like this is a fantastic opportunity to gain valuable self-knowledge and hopefully get a better idea of the best way I could be using my life in the next decade” explained Ray. “If someone had said to me back in 1999 that within ten years, I would have ended my marriage, sold my business, lost my father, become an actor, given up my permanent base in London, ran the New York marathon and have over 1,500 people around the world every month reading about my nomadic journey, I would definitely have told them they were crazy! But that is exactly what happened, and it has been an unbelievable gift, helping me to learn and grow as a person in so many different ways. It makes me believe there is no reason the next 10 years will be anything other than an exciting, life changing set of unexpected experiences. I just want to be as ready as I can be on the inside for the inevitable ups and downs and emotional twists and turns that accompany that kind of living”.

Above: Florence House in East Sussex. Ray will be staying here for eight days in January 2010 so that he can take part in the Hoffman Process

Below: Our global traveller has been enjoying his first Christmas with relatives in England for five years. From left to right, Ray’s niece Rebecca, nephew Daniel, sister-in-law Kitty, brother Paul and his mum, Hetty – “I am very lucky to have such great people in my family. It is an absolute pleasure to stay with them, especially at this time of year. They are all very kind to me” added Ray

Editors Note: What a year it has been, and what a decade too! Our thanks to Ray for being willing to constantly supply us with all of his pictures and stories so we can bring them to you. We will be taking a break for a little while and will be back online sometime in the New Year. So until then, many thanks indeed for reading The Daily Explorer. We always aim to maintain our high standards of journalism and presentation, so please keep sending us your comments and suggestions as to how we can improve what we are doing. You can use the comments box on this site, or email Ray (ray@thedailyexplorer.com) or ‘Mozzie’ or any of our correspondents at mozzie@thedailyexplorer.com. Wherever you are in the world, we hope you have had a great Christmas and wish you a very happy new year, full of peace, love, happiness and contentment.

MOZZIE BYTE

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3 Comments »

  1. Dear Ray
    Congratulation and all the best every day you are stepping successful step. I wish you personally you will be more success even more in 2010 than 2009

    Raj (Nepal)

    Comment by Raj Kumar — December 27, 2009 @ 5:13 am

  2. Nice to read about your adventures again! I hope to be able to see you when you get to Chiang Mai; I’ll be in Thailand until March or April – I think.

    Happy New Year friend!

    Comment by Janis — December 27, 2009 @ 7:26 am

  3. Great to hear about your adventures and accomplishments as usual Ray. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – you’re an inspiration to us all! It so great to hear about someone who is living outside the box and following their dreams, even if those are miles away from where you thought you’d be. Nice to know that we’re not the only ones wanting to live around the world and experience everything that this amazing planet has to offer. Well maybe not EVERYTHING, but we’re sure gonna try! 😀 Happy holidays Ray and lots of love and luck for the new year.
    xK

    Comment by Karla — December 28, 2009 @ 5:08 am


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