Over 400 people joined us on Brinsbury Campus for the third addition of Yestival, and each one came along for their own reasons. Glen Pilkington tells us about his...
2017 has not been a good year for a whole host of reasons – I don’t need to go into the detail. The detail isn’t what this piece was written about!
I am not a writer and have never written this type of thing before but this time, I felt that I needed to jot down my experience.
I had followed the YesTribe and SayYesMore on Facebook for a little while and had met with and spoken with Dave Cornthwaite at Adventure shows in London.
I needed something to get life back on track – so being bold (and newly single for the first time in almost 20 years – oops sorry for the detail!), I booked an early bird ticket and convinced myself that I was going to do something on my own that was new and where I would meet a whole host of genuinely interesting and good people.
Driving down to the Brinsbury Campus, there were many times when I thought ‘what am I doing?’ and ‘I don’t know anyone!’ and at several junctions on the M25, I seriously considered turning the car around and heading home.
I kept going. Deep down, there was something in my head telling me that I had to do this and ‘Say Yes More’.
I pulled the car into the car park and sat quietly – there was still time to go home. Who would know? It wasn’t like anyone was going to miss me.
What was the worst that could happen? If I hated it, I could always just have a nice quiet weekend camping out in a field during Storm Brian and talk to no one.
I gathered up my backpack from the boot of my car and followed the signs to walk into the Yestival field – my head was awash with all sorts of differing feelings. I was paralysed by procrastination!
I saw the small tent at the entrance to Yestival and stopped dead on the track to take in my surroundings. Here I was outside in the countryside – where I usually felt happiest.
I started to walk again – slowly. Someone approached me and asked my name. I held out my hand to go through the formalities of a handshake. Oops, I got that wrong, they hug at Yestival!!!
‘Hi my name is Tam – you’re on the Facebook group aren’t you’ and this was followed by a huge smile. Immediately, the nerves started to subside – how nice!! This was certainly different to travelling on a Tube train, avoiding everyone and anyone.
I saw Dave approach me. His first words were ‘Hi buddy – we don’t shake hands we hug’ and we proceeded to hug each other. Okay, this isn’t my normal style especially when I am normally based in the City but it felt good and instantly, the negativity disappeared from my mind. Dave was just one huge smile.
I was directed where to go to pitch my tent and smiled when I saw the Yes Bus. This was becoming a real event for me.
Dave told me to get myself sorted and then ‘make some new adventures’.
I wandered across the field – I was early so it was easy to deal with a smaller number of people. Everyone who walked passed, said hello and had the biggest smiles – this all just began to feel right. My head was now telling me that this was exactly where I wanted and needed to be.
Over the course of the weekend, I hugged, laughed, smiled and talked all things adventure.
I listened to great and inspirational speakers, I danced, sang and at one point cried. Yes, I did cry but it was a good cry – I needed to do it but everyone around was so positive, it really helped and quite frankly this moment did not last long. There was just too much positivity to feel down.
2017 continues to be a difficult year but Yestival provided inspiration and positivity. I now had the get up and go again to do things for me.
Adventures come in many shapes and sizes – I have done the big things like Kilimanjaro and Everest Base Camp before but now I realized that there were many types of different experiences that can enrich life.
Since Yestival, I have revisited and climbed Snowdon with some work colleagues, taken my children to wander in the local hills, spoken to people I haven’t seen for over 10 years and signed up to become a Duke of Edinburgh Award verifier.
Despite personal setbacks, life goes on and knowing there are people out there who are genuinely interested in you and who can pass on so much positivity and support means a lot.
Yestival 2017 completely changed my outlook from having a difficult year to focusing on the positives in life.
Will I go to Yestival 2018 – absolutely yes and without any doubts. My children will be with me too!
My friend list on Facebook has grown, and I look forward to following all the adventures for the remainder of 2017 and beyond.
Good luck and BIG hugs to everyone.