Day 1,364: The Measure of a Man

Tue 25.09.12:

I can’t enthuse about these last six weeks enough. I’d be a fool to pretend that everything was rosy in my personal life: most of my family aren’t talking to each other, my dad is going in for some risky heart surgery next month (and – my usual bad timing – I’m not going to be here) and did I mention Mand and I split up? I probably should have. But on the other hand – The Olympics, The Roundhouse, Blur in Hyde Park, Dino’s Wedding, Hugh’s Wedding, The Paralympics, Noel Gallagher, Festival No. 6, Danny’s Wedding, coming third in the film quiz… INCREDIBLE!! And all of it, everything I saw, everything I did, everyone I met, I did so because I have the most amazing friends in the world. Friends who have been there for me through thick and thin, though this whole mad quest, supporting me every step of the way, friends without whom I would have never been able to afford to come back.


A HUGE THANK YOU to Alex Wisby for meeting me at the airport, Stan Standryt for almost meeting me at the airport, Oscar Sharp for having a picnic, Daniel Martin for getting me into the Roundhouse and Festival No. 6, Matthew Eland for accompanying me around London when cider and sunshine was needed, Lindsey Bennett for Blur in Hyde Park, a place to crash and a shoulder to cry on, Mandy for making our last two weeks together as sweet as they could be, Anna Rosser for BEING THERE, Gemma Humm for making me dinner (and not giving me her lung Aids), Simon Barber for walking us to the chippy, Stephen Clarke for the Hollyoaks barbecue and drinkies, Lorna Brookes for coming to the rescue AGAIN (Costa WOO!!!) and Matt and Tiff Collins for just being ace. Congrats to Dino and Ruth Deasha for getting hitched and thanks inviting me along, ditto to Hugh and Gemma Sheridan and Danny and Penny Alexander. Thanks to Scott Jones for EVERYTHING, thanks to Laura Worthington for the cupcakes and Brian O’Connor for the correct answers. Thanks to Russ Pritchard for inviting me to see him jam with Noel Gallagher. Thanks to Michelle Samson for driving me up from London and thanks to Daniel Samson for driving me back down again. Thanks to Alan Roberts, Alex and Jim, Stuart Lanceley, Helen Power, Lucy and Tim Irvine, Grethe Borsum, Kaya Herstad-Carney, Soraya Lem, Liz Sillery, Sam Morton, Mary Dowrick, Paul Gibbs, Louise Jones, Helen Toft and Zoe Darnell for taking the time – and travelling up – to see us (you all did your level best to convince Mand that LIVERPOOL IS THE GREATEST CITY EVER – thanks x). Major thanks to EVERYBODY who chipped in to get me home, with a special shout-out to Sarah Newton and Martin Davies (above and beyond the call of duty guys). Thank you Mum and Dad for having me and supporting me, trusting in me and giving me the confidence to see this adventure through to the bitter end. And finally thanks to Casey for being the cherry on top of a rather exceptional cake!

I know I write some pretty irate blog entries now and again, but in real life I’m actually very slow to anger, and very hard to infuriate. But one thing is guaranteed to make the red mist descend. And it’s this: when people say that when (if!) I get rich and famous ‘I’m going to forget about my mates.’ Now, seriously, who does that? TWATS. That’s who. And while I do, on occasion, indulge in some behaviour that some might consider twattish, I’m not one of *them*. I don’t aspire to get somewhere in life and then sack all my mates off, nobody in their right mind would. Your mates are what make you. If you can’t stand your mates, it says more about you than it does them. If you haven’t already noticed, I’m 33 years old, newly single AND DON’T OWN ANYTHING THAT I CAN’T FIT IN MY BACKPACK. To think I was doing this for “money and loneliness” would be missing the point like a nerf gun fired at the night sky misses Alpha Centauri. I’m doing this because it’s fun. I’m doing this to make more mates, not lose the ones I’ve got. And yes, there are going to be sacrifices, there’s going to be heartache and crushing disappointments along the way, but I don’t leave my men behind. So long as people want to be my mate, I’ll be there for them. Yes I lean on them when necessary, but they all damn well know they can lean on me when the time comes. If you can’t say the same about your circle of friends here I have a sage bit of advice: GET. BETTER. MATES.

So today I left Blighty behind after what I can only describe as the best and the worst six weeks of my life. The worst because I split with Mand, who by rights I should have married 2 years ago and now have a kid on the way. But life don’t always work out like you want to. And the world is a tough nut to crack, I made my choices and now all I can do is live by them. But simultaneously, as though the world has just as sick sense of humour as I, going home and seeing the old crowd – I couldn’t have wished for a more spectacularly awesome time. The gigs, the festivals, the weddings… it was like a compilation album of all the best bits of your life crammed into six short weeks. All I can do at this point is say THANK YOU again and again and again. I often get told that what I’m doing is amazing. But if I’ve seen further, it’s only by standing on the shoulders of giants. Thank you x

Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes is a British adventurer, presenter, filmmaker and author. He is the only person to have travelled to every country in the world without flying. From 2014 to 2017 he lived off-grid on a private island that he won in a game show, before returning to the UK to campaign for a better future for the generations to come.

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