It seems I’ve finally found some time to do some blogging on my trip to London… and that’s during my flight back from London. Funny how that works out. Actually, I probably did have time a few others points in the trip, but the jetlag decided to open up a full case (and not just a six-pack) of whup-ass on me by the time evening rolled around each day. I was able to stumble through some Twitter and Facebook posting and that was the extent of my… *ahem*… intelligent discussion and contribution to the social dialogue of the planet. Go me.
So here at 36,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean, I find a few moments of respite to think back on my trip while my Boeing 777 chariot whisks me along back to the U.S of A. What keen, penetrating insights have the gods unveiled to me during this sojourn to the land of tea, crumpets, cricket and tiny cars? Sit back, relax with a nice cup of Earl Grey and let the magic unfold, my friends.
YOU are the one with the funny accent. As an American, it’s always great to get out of the country and spend a bit of time letting your ear adjust to the accents of people from other countries. The work conference I was at had people from England, France, South Africa, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Spain, Russia, Poland, Sweden, Slovenia and I’m sure other countries that are now completing slipping my mind. Usually if you go to a foreign land, you can adjust generally to the accents of the people within a day or so because it will be a (generally) uniform set of accents. This conference was different in that I was with accents, sentence pacing and colloquialisms from a wide range of places. I never got the chance to let my ear settle in with a single accent… and, quite frankly, I enjoyed that. It also makes you realize that most of the people at the conference likely looked at me and my other American colleagues as the ones with the funny accents.
I love the fact that international travel (or even domestic travel to different areas of the country) forces a little extra open-mindedness on me. Perspective, people… its good for the soul.
England is a place of dramatic, yet understated, surprises. If that’s even possible. Due to its rather cozy size, but incredibly rich history, I’ve always found England to be the kind of place where you can suddenly happen upon really cool stuff. OK, I was hoping to come up with a more creative, inspired and dramatic word than “stuff”, but honestly, isn’t stuff a perfectly good word too?
Anyway, I digress, yet again. So last night I went out to dinner in… umm… truth be told, I have no idea what town it was. I think it was actually technically parts of London. I sometimes think of London like Boston – lots of different areas that are considered part of the greater city, but you’ve never quite sure when you are in the city proper. As we head out to dinner and get out of cab, BOOM! Right there looming behind the restaurant was Windsor Castle. Like THE Windsor Castle. Home of the Queen and such. It just struck me a bit how we just happened upon it in almost the same manner you would seemingly run across a Starbucks in the States… just with more royalty, less condescending baristas and less completely useless drink size names (Venti? Really? I mean… that’s what we’re going with? I think I’m asking for a Venti Gulp the next time I hit up 7-11). Unless they put a Starbucks in Windsor Castle… which would blow my mind.
That being said, it’s that kind of unexpected moments of “Wow” that I love about England. You get it in New York City as well, actually. You are just randomly walking down a street, look up and BOOM! World famous landmark right there in front of you. It’s a little humbling and can make you feel a little bit small, but I never find it to happen to me in a bad way – it tends to be more of a way to appreciate what you encounter a little more deeply. For instance, it’s a bit hard to be too self-involved when you have moments like this happen and Lord knows I really need moments like that. Hell, I think we all do.
When I’m on the shelf, I am TOTALLY on the shelf. Before I left on this trip, I had decided I was putting myself on the shelf to stop all lifting and exercising while allowing the anti-inflammatory steroids I’ve been taking to do their job and to let my neck heal. I wrote about all of that right here. The only exercises I’ve really been doing are neck retractions and a lot of focus on having dramatically better posture. The combination of the steroids, rest and the exercises are really doing an excellent job of making my neck feel just so much better. Happy Kev. But there is a dramatically ugly side of this break period and it’s not the first time I’ve noticed it when I’ve been on an off-week or break. See, when I put myself on the shelf, I go at it full tilt. How so? Well, let’s just say that when I’m not lifting, pushing my Prowler, swinging the sledgehammer and all of the other magical tomfoolery that is part of my training arsenal, I’m also eating a ton crappier than I normally would. A logical person might think, “Well geez, Kev… just because you’re not training doesn’t mean you should let ALL good health habits go to waste.” To that logical person I say, “Technically true… but here’s the thing… bite me, hoser.” And yes, I just channeled my inner Mackenzie Brothers there, so take off, eh.
I have a good enough sense of self-awareness to know the truth said that said logical (and totally wet blanket) person speaks, but it doesn’t change the fact that I seem to go full on or full off. It’s what one of my favorite authors on training and powerlifting, Dave Tate from EliteFTS, describes as “Blast” and “Dust”. He approaches a lot of things in his life with the notion that he is either going to do it with complete gusto and passion or not at all. I can well appreciate that fact since I tend to be the same way. I am shooting for a better middle ground with some balance, but I am mostly wired in an all-or-nothing mindset for many things.
Thankfully, I am going to be going back at it on the bright tomorrow morning as I get back to eating right and totally rocking the Prowler for some fun. Parking lots of Connecticut, beware… I got some steel with your name all over it. And anyone who wants to join me is totally welcome… just remember… this is not a spectator sport. You show up, you push.
So those are some of the thoughts I noticed in one of my favorite countries besides my own – jolly old England. Thank you, Britannia, for the time to grow a bit, stretch my mind a little bit more and gain a little better insight into myself and the world through which I travel. May I put it to good use every day.