Over the last few months, since I got back from Nepal, I’ve been thinking a lot about journeys and destinations.
One of the things I wasn’t anticipating about NOT getting to the summit of Everest was how much it would change my life anyway… In the aftermath, many people contacted me to say truly lovely things and one of the truly lovely things that many people said was: life is about the journey not the destination. I’ve been thinking about this a lot.
What I’ve realised is that it’s true, but only in part. For me, life is about journeys AND destinations. Sometimes the destination isn’t the one you wanted (I’ve experienced several of those now); and sometimes the destination you wanted doesn’t feel that good when you get there (I’ve had that too). But destinations are important. And I’m writing to you today because, although my Everest expedition this year didn’t culminate with me standing on top of the world, it has led me to another destination.
Over the last decade all my work has been focused on ‘Reproductive Activism’ (I’ve nicked this phrase because that’s how it’s been described in a recent academic abstract and I like it). It’s included writing two books; founding an arts festival about fertility; undertaking some of the world’s most iconic physical and mental endurance challenges to raise awareness of another physical and mental endurance challenge: struggling to conceive. I’ve also done a huge amount of media and other fertility campaigning work. But the mountain led me to a decision…
Over the next four days I will be hosting The Fertility Show’s first ever Online Summit. It’s a special destination for me because, after it finishes, I’m going to start to focus on new projects beyond the fertility world.
The Fertility Show is the UK’s largest patient event helping people on their parenthood journey. For the last year I’ve been working as its Content Director. I’m immensely proud of the speaker programme I’ve put together with the Show’s wonderful Managing Director, Laura Biggs, and will be hosting 17 of over 70 events taking place during the next few days. This includes several events in association with Fertility Fest – the arts festival I co-founded with Gabby Vautier – who will also be hosting the summit this weekend. It’s the last thing we’ll be officially doing together as ‘Fertility Fest’ and if you’re on your own fertility journey or know someone who is – do check out the programme and join us. It’s going to be incredible.
I’ve no big announcement to make yet about ‘what next’ as over the last few months I’ve been working on trying to make this particular destination as pretty as possible. Eg. Fertility Fest has a new website – a legacy website – so people will always be able to see what we did and research all the amazing artists and experts we worked with. Check it out here.
And finally, before I depart you might ask: but what of mountains?
Well, that destination remains a semi-colon. It’s not a full-stop yet.
And what of books?
Well, there’s definitely another chapter I intend to write.
But my quote of the summer, since returning from the Himalayas, is by another writer who perchance you might have heard of…
“If we do meet again, we’ll smile indeed;
If not, ’tis true this parting was well made.”
William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act V, Scene 1
I love a journey; but I also love a well made destination. What about you?