Monday 29th May 2017

I am beyond shattered.  In fact, I can’t remember ever feeling this tired – not after the sleepless nights at Toy Fair when I had to upload via dial up, nor after Leo conferences where we’d stay up all night to make Breakfast Club.
I woke about 9am, and pottered about all morning in that half daze of being awake but being no use to anyone.
I used the time to edit and upload another vlog.  As fast as this hotel internet is, it’s still not fast enough.
This was the 4th year I’ve been storm chasing, and every year there’s the same pattern.  Just like some people use the turn of the year to refocus, start a new chapter in their lives, so it is for me after going storm chasing.  These trips are such profound experiences you can’t help but be changed by them in some way, whether it being the realisation that you are nothing in the scope of the universe, or learning you had strengths you never knew you had.
I’ve come away each year, reflecting on the year before and focused on the year in front of me.  This year is no different.
I return home to a short story that needs to be written and edits that need to be started.
Whilst I don’t feel I’ve had time to think, I know how to sort some of the issues identified at the start of Black As Knight.  I plan to write a list of things I need to do and tackle each in turn instead of working through the novel addressing all of them whenever they come up.
Any apprehension I had before leaving for Chasepalooza has left me and has been replaced by steely determination.  I want to get these edits done fast but still be thorough.
There’s a sadness I’ve felt as well today.  I think back to the amazing friends I’ve met over the years:  Jacob, Patrick, Matt, Shanda.  I’m still friends with all of them on social media and we keep in touch, but whilst some people like Frankie and Pat I get to meet up with again (even if only briefly) there’s always this worry that you might never run into these people again.
A call from Kim over something I worded badly when sleep deprived, made me realise how special these people are.  It’s rare to find good people and the company I’ve had on these chases have been full of good people.  I want to know that I’ll run into them again.  Lives are complicated, who knows what could happen in the next year, and whilst I know that social media ensures we’re never truly out of contact these days, I know I’ll miss them loads.
I went shopping today.  I wasn’t sure f that was a good idea given how much my suitcase currently bulges, so I restricted myself to a couple of T-Shirts and another baseball cap.  By the time I got back it was gone 5pm.
I’ve come to the realisation that even in summer, Canada is too cold for me.  I love the place and the attitutde of the people, but they’re far more hardy than I’ll ever be.
I repacked the suitcase, and was pleased to find that it all fit, and then went for a lunch in the posh restaurant that’s attached to the hotel.  It was a bit expensive but the food was good (goodbye gas station food) and I was celebrating.
Chasepalooza was a massive success.  I truly worried how well going chasing by ourselves would work.  My friend, Braydon, always said that chasing in Canada was very different to chasing in the US so whilst Kim and Shannon had experience, I wasn’t sure how well they’d fair in the different environment.
But they excelled.  And I was surprised at how good my forecasting was.  I still have huge amounts to learn but I feel I’ve got to the stage where I’m well beyond chaser chasing or SPC chasing.
I also managed to do my daily vlog.  The schedule got a little messed up towards the end but that was more down to WiFi than anything else, but I managed to film and edit one for each day of the chase.  I’m very proud of myself for that accomplishment.
However, going forward, I’m not sure whether I should continue it or not.  The content has been primarily storm chasing and has been quite exciting.  Going back to a life hunched over a keyboard worrying about imaginary people might seem a little tame after the last week or so.
I’m undecided.  They are a lot of work and I’m not sure I have the time given the work I need to put in before my next swordfighting competition, not forgetting all the  editing I need to do.
I was also celebrating the future.  There’s still huge amounts of work to do on the book, but part of this trip has been psyching myself up to tackle it.  10 days of pushing your mind and body to the limit give you a good idea of what you are capable of, and so I come away from it, convinced that I will achieve my lofty goals (and that anyone who scoffs at them, isn’t worthy of my time).
So there’s little left to do, except wait for the last vlog to upload.  The next issue of The Climb will be written from the comfort of my house.
I’m sad to be leaving, but as this chapter ends, so a new one begins.
I’ll see you all back in the UK
If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels.  Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.

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