Joanne & Damian do Raleigh

Exploring life from a different perspective


Thinking of Others

I woke up aching this morning due to a ‘mini’ fitness challenge yesterday and was listening to Nick Grimshaw talk about being overseas as part of Sport Relief. This was another example of timing for me, in a good way, that has put me back on track.

If I explain a little further, yesterday I went to take part in a fitness challenge that the team of Be Fitter had organised for their classes. They are designed to push everyone further than usual, in a fabulous, community atmosphere and last anything from 1 1/2 to over 3 hours depending on what level you choose to take.

On the way to the sports hall, I broke down in tears and this sums up how I feel when I take on something new. I am in fact a great big wuss, who over thinks too much and worries beyond what I should at everything in life. The trouble was, that I was seeing this challenge as a lead up to our Burpee Mile and I let fear take over my head. I knew I wanted to do my absolute best on whatever the Be Fitter challenge was going to be, but in taking on the top level, I would be the last to finish and this is horrible for me as I don’t like the attention. I’m not a competitive person and so finishing last doesn’t worry me at all, but to have everyone waiting for me feels awful.

I chose to take on the immediate level as my head wasn’t in the right place yesterday and it was the right decision at the time. Although I am in admiration of everyone who took on the challenge at every level. Even minutes before we started the challenge, I turned to Damian and said that I needed to pull out of the Burpee Mile challenge because I was feeling so sick. Simply because being so far behind everyone else, fills me with dread. I will always finish what I take on, but I just need to take it in my own time.

I have to say, that the fear is just in my head and I couldn’t ask for a better team to train, or do challenges with than Be Fitter. It is absolute credit to them, that I felt a commitment to take on their day, because they give so much to their classes. The atmosphere in the room was amazingly encouraging and they look out for each and every person training with them. They leave nobody behind and even stuck with Damian for every last burpee he needed to do at the advanced level. I’m so proud of my husband for sticking with the top level after everyone had finished. I need to take a lesson out of his book.

I’m not a person who thrives on fitness and if it wasn’t for wanting to stay healthy, I probably wouldn’t show half as much commitment. I’m totally envious of active people who love the challenge and thrive on the buzz of exercise and feeling great afterwards. Everybody is motivated by different things and I will keep going in pursuit of that feeling that fit people achieve. This leads me back to Nick Grimshaw. He is not know for being an athlete, or for taking on crazy challenges like Davina McCall, but he is cycling for 12 hours to raise money for those that aren’t as fortunate as ourselves. Listening to the stories of children in the slums, made me realise why I am taking on a Burpee Mile. It is not about me, but about raising money for the communities that Raleigh work with to develop their futures. A day of hell for me is nothing compared to what many other people take on for charity and certainly nothing compared to what many people live with day in, day out. I can go back to a nice bath and a cosy house and I have to remember to just take it one burpee at a time.

(Yesterday’s Be Fitter challenge is in the phone pics below.

Advance level equated to 2500 reps, 500 burpees & 3 mile run.

Intermediate consisted of 1980 reps, 260 burpees & 1.5 mile run.)

Jo x

 Computer Screen Grab of BBC Radio 1 website Be Fitter fitness challenge written on a whiteboard

Time results of Be Fitter fitness challenge Time results of Be Fitter fitness challenge



Photography Inspiration from Steve McCurry

I had one of those moments recently when I felt my heart singing and I knew I’d made the right decision to apply to be a Raleigh Volunteer.

At The Photography Show, in Birmingham last week, I had the pleasure to listen to Steve McCurry talk about his work and life as a photographer, travelling around the world. This is the man who’s iconic image of an Afghan Girl, made me realise as a teenage, college student, that photography could be something special. I am still memorised by this image and the thought of creating something that reaches so many, is what drives many a photographer. (If you ever get the chance to learn about the impact Steve’s image of the girl had, it is worth a read.)

 Portrait of an Afghan Girl made famous by Steve McCurry

Listening to Steve talk about the back stories to his images, is what lights up for me, when I think about heading off to Costa Rica & Nicaragua to capture real life on expedition. If I thought for one moment, that any image I take, can have a bigger impact to help those we are going to work with, then I would be truly humbled.

The phrase on Steve’s website will be something I want to take away with me while working overseas.

“What is important to my work is the individual picture. I photograph stories on assignment, and of course they have to be put together coherently. But what matters most is that each picture stands on its own, with its own place and feeling.”

The evening of the Photography Show, myself and some friends got the incredible and unexpected opportunity to talk to Steve McCurry personally and I was a little bit star struck. A totally down to earth guy gave up ten minutes of his time to chat to us in a bar and we loved him for it. I asked him how he creates a connection with his subjects when there is no translator around and he gave the simple and obvious reply, of ‘just be yourself’. ‘Be charming, be open and they will want to help you.’ That’s the thing about photographing elsewhere in the world; people are simply open to helping and welcoming others in.

I am so looking forward to meeting all the communities and being welcomed in and in return, I will share what they would like the wider world to see.

Joanne x

Collection of thumbnail images from Steve McCurry