I used to watch Say Yes More events from the sidelines, cheering people on silently while slumped over my desk at work scrolling Facebook to kill time. I was following Dave Cornthwaite’s expedition adventures, absorbing Yes Tribe blog posts like a sponge, and sitting on the edge of doing something more meaningful with my life.
Then one early spring evening I joined the Yes Tribe for a spontaneous after work woodland campout. We played frisbee together, shared food and stories around a cosy campfire, and slept in bivvy bags in the wonderful woods. It was simple, magical fun at its best - and the following morning on my way back to work, I felt a massive shift.
With this community of adventurers, I felt a warmth and sense of connection that had been missing from my life. It was incredibly inspiring to hear people’s tales of adventure and plans for their future. I knew that I wanted to embody this spirit of Say Yes More - I could feel it in my bones.
This led to my next Yes - to step off the sidelines and into the playing field. I applied to become an ambassador for Say Yes More and I’m extremely grateful to say that I am now part of the team. As part of this role I volunteered at Yestival 2017, which became a very special experience for me.
In those five days I learnt valuable lessons about life, about other people, and about myself. I want to share some of them with you because I think that there is potential to inspire others who are looking for deeper social connections, considering pursuing new experiences, and navigating a world so full of opportunities, that sometimes, the choices can be paralysing.
Begin with YES!
If you feel in your heart that you want to do something, then say yes and figure out the “how” later. I turned up at Yestival having zero festival-putting-together skills. We worked together through Storm Brian, supported each other at every twist and turn, and had so much fun every step of the way. In this friendly, can-do environment, I became a fast learner, and had a giant smile on my face throughout.
Make time for stories
The stories I listened to at Yestival – from both the fascinating speakers and casual conversations with others - had a very deep impact on me: I realised that I wasn’t making enough space for my friends and family, or for meeting new people. Yestival takes you away from the busy city life and frenetic online world of Tweeting, jammed inbox and Facebook, into a feeling of presence and gratitude. Since then I have made some adjustments in my life that have freed up my time for sharing stories and experiences. One of the most powerful changes I have made has been to switch off notifications on my phone. Instead of being triggered to check my phone I am present with the people I talk to, and I have a new appreciation for nature when I’m adventuring. These small but significant changes mean that my energy levels are much higher and I am communicating better.
We are not alone
Whatever your journey, there are people out there who can support you and who you can support too. Surrounding yourself with positive, empowering “can do” people can be so transformative! My experience with Say Yes More has shown me how much connecting with others (my tribe!) helps me to feel truly alive and happy. I believe that while there will always be peace and beauty in solitude, it is in the moments of sharing that we really open up and shine.
Sarah is an Adventure Coach, facilitating career and lifestyle changes with people who want to start again but don’t know where to begin. She loves hiking, trail running and exploring places that aren’t so well known.