My breathe came in ragged streams, turning to frost in front of my eyes.
I looked up, the stars bright and twinkling overhead, the pre-dawn mist rolling over the horizon. My muscles screamed in protest as I shifted the 20kg sandbag upon my shoulders and prepared for another murderous sprint towards the open doors of the Bosnian Crossfit box.
I passed the finish line, dumping the sandbag and dashing towards the waiting barbell. Sixty kilos, heavy but manageable.
I strode towards it, the crowds in my head cheering as the red mist obscured my vision. I was not in first place.
A giant of a man was ahead of me, just. He had passed me on the last lap and now was halfway through his set of clean and jerks.
This was unacceptable.
I sped through my ten clean and jerks with lightning speed, nearly catching him as he descended deep into the pain-cave and began his set of burpees.
Burpees… I’m fucking good at burpees.
I hit the ground with optimum efficiency, if I was to catch him, it was to be here.
The clock was ticking, time was trickling away from me, my sweat covered the floor as I bounced off of it again and again, I was a god-damn rubber ball. My energy limits knew no bounds; for I had a goal, to catch the Bosnian giant.
The timer went off, the 15 minute AMRAP had come to an end. I lay there, ragged breathing forcing me to stay in one place.
I sensed a shadow over me. Looking up, an outstretched hand.
I speak no Bosnian. He spoke no English. I do not in truth know who won. It didn’t matter.
We slapped each other upon the back. The sun began to rise, the hour not yet seven. Today was going to be a good day; I could sense it.
What do you think about late at night, your brain racing a million miles an hour, ideas coming and going, plans forming and disintegrating?
Six-pack abs? Global gallivanting? A sexy Colombian threesome?
I have had many passions in my life; I’m a passionate person.
I throw myself full throttle into everything that I attempt. Sometimes, I spin out of control, I crash, I burn and then, well, I evolve, I survive, I begin again.
Finding your passion is the single most rewarding thing you can do with your life.
Doing something you love, with people you love, is the whole reason we are here.
When was the last time you felt totally in the moment?
Perhaps you were having sex, maybe you were playing squash, chances are it was something physical…
Here’s the thing guys – we are descended from god-damn cavemen!
And cavemen don’t lie around watching TV… Cavemen run and fight and fuck and hunt. They move.
Movement is key if you are to find your passion….
And I’m not just talking about physical movement, I’m talking about a nomadic existence.
You must experiment, you must switch it up, you must be willing to quit things, even when everybody tells you not to, in order to try something new, something which you feel might be more rewarding.
In the past, I had other brief flings with hobbies and interests. I was briefly obsessed with windsurfing, collecting action figures, importing stuff from India to sell at festivals, LSD culture and bagging some of the world’s highest peaks.
To find my passions, I experimented, I walked hundreds of different paths – quitting when I ceased to enjoy what I was doing.
Today, I am passionate about three things; travelling is one of them.
I have gotten a lot out of it. Travelling has pushed me to the furthest reaches of my comfort zone, expanding my ability to rough it again and again.
My second passion is Crossfit. I had kind of hoped that I would not miss it as much as I do but, even whilst on the road, I have noted it’s absence in my life. I train whenever I come across a box but this is not as often as I would like. When I used to compete in the UK, I put in upwards of a dozen hours a week, not to mention the time spent purely on stretching, cardio and eating well.
There is something to be said for a community of like-minded individuals who train together, each pushing the other to the very limits of what is possible.
If I could do anything with my life, I would be a professional Crossfit athlete – hands down, that is what I would choose.
Being an adventurer isn’t a half bad life, although sometimes I wonder if I am making a mistake.
In the future, when this adventure is complete, I hope to open a chain of hostels with Crossfit gyms attached and then, then my friends, I shall come return to the Crossfit scene, guns blazing in the midday sun.
Recently, in Croatia, I met a lady with a passion. Her name was Nina and she impressed me.
Nina had traveled the world, she had adventured far and wide and then, upon her return to Croatia, she had realised that there were no backpacker-friendly tours available in the country she loved most.
She had set to work, founding a business on her own, with limited knowledge of how to do so and, through hard god-damn work and the belief that what she is doing is important, she had succeeded in building something truly great.
Nina had contacted me online, offering to take me on a whirlwind tour of Croatia, I had responded that whirlwind tours, or tours in general, aren’t really my bag. She had assured me this would be no ordinary venture. I relented and we met in Zagreb a few days later.
What followed was unexpected. Nina and I wandered happily around Zagreb with a friend of her’s on a free walking tour which was hands’ down one of the best walking tours I have been on; there was a cannon and tales of a dude doing handstand pushups (I love that shit) on top of a Cathedral.
Bear with me, because I am going somewhere with this story.
Nina introduced me to a few of her friends and we piled into a car, tunes blasting, and headed out into the Croatian wilderness. I drifted, half dozing on my neighbours shoulder, before waking to find we had arrived.
The villa loomed upwards out of the darkness, grand and imposing in the swirling moonlight. I walked inside, this was my kinda place – dangling wind-chimes and ancient bookcases, fresh lavender and monumental furniture.
We were quickly joined by the owner, Vid, and his friends who set about making us a hearty Croatian dinner of meat, meat and more meat – these were my kind of people.
Vid talked excitedly about his lavender fields, he too had a passion. I liked him instantly.
The next couple of days passed by in a blur of drinks toasts, tasty meals and village explorations. I discovered Vid’s lavender fields, checking out his lovingly presented shop selling olive oil and other local goods.
We walked through cobblestone streets, danced in the rain (literally) and feasted on traditional Istrian cuisine washed down with plenty of potent Rajika.
Nina had all bases covered; she mixed in the perfect amount of culture, partying and total randomness; we visited a hilltop observatory and met with a group of anarchist astronomers living nearby; they too were determined to change the world.
If you want to discover your passions, if you want to become a driven, ambitious individual then it is extremely important that you surround yourself with other passionate, inspiring individuals who will push you further, educate you faster and guide you as you make your choices.
For me, it is very important that I choose who I surround myself with carefully – I get dragged down the ‘crazy path’ far too easily… For me, chilled out, passionate and driven people are what I am looking for.
Nina is one of those people.
If you find yourself in Croatia, get in touch with her, support a fellow dreamer. You will not regret it.
If you find yourself near me, get in touch; let’s go throw some weights around together.
If you find yourself in Croatia and in need of an airport transfer, get in touch with these guys!