I don’t know if it’s the amazing sunsets, the outdoor gym in the middle of the bush, the 5 star villa, seeing giraffes walking and drinking in your ‘back garden’, as well as getting within metres of cheetah, leopards and hyenas, or just the fact that WE have pulled this all together in Namibia, thousands of miles from home, that has stunned me the most!

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I’m currently sat in the villas ‘leisure hut’ as our group has named it before the final 72 hours that will bring skydiving, quad biking in the desert under the African sun and a boat trip to see the seals.

Needless to say, our first Namibia Fitness Retreat has been off the chart!

The thing is that so many life lessons have been learned by myself, my partner in this venture Danny and most importantly our guests, to call it a ‘holiday’ is like calling Nelson Mandela a politician.

So here’s my list of lessons including some from our guests…

1) Be open to redefining your norm.

Normality is just a snapshot of where you think you are in life but as the clock never stops and there are infinite ‘other worlds’ going on around you on the planet, normality is a boring, rigid place to be.

Normality is a function of wanting control.

We want control but then hate our lives because nothing exciting ever happens!

2) If holidays are about escapism and forgetting ‘real life’, real life needs changing…and fast.

Find a passion, find what’s fun and make it your life.

Yes you can, just stop thinking with your old, conditioned brain!

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3) The same scenery and environment looks totally different when the conditions change.

Don’t assume anything will ever stay the same (good or bad).

Conditions will change, so learn to enjoy the ride.

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4) Embrace the storms and rain – sometimes they will refresh the areas where you would never have had the balls to do it your self.

The sun is always shining you just have to wait for the wind to blow the clouds away.

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5) Constant change is necessary – roll with it, rotate things in your life and don’t chase ‘stability’.

It’s the most insecure place to be in life!

6) An idea soaked in passion, ambition and excitement is much more powerful than a plan based on imaginary, hopeful numbers.

I had no idea how or where I was ever going to run fitness retreats but the belief was there and now the retreats are a reality!

You don’t need to be religious, but you need to have faith in something or you’re just on a reactive road where other people drive the car.

7) Have a vision but detach yourself from the outcome occurring in a set way at a set time.

Be right here, right now or you’re just stewing over stuff from the past or fearing stuff from the future which also hasn’t happened!

8) Sometimes relief is painful. We had some squealing at times whilst having massages overlooking the bush, but the relief afterwards is great!

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Be ready to let go of stuff which will be painful because of the attachment with your self-created ego / idea of who you are.

9) It’s not about the ingredients, it’s about the chef.

Forrest Gump said life’s like a box of chocolates.

You never know what you’re going to get but you can choose how you mix the ingredients of people, opportunities, exercise, nutrition and alone time in your life.

10) No matter how hard you try and push, sometimes it’s just not meant to be.

Either spend your life trying to force what will never happen, or start enjoying what’s already in front of you.

11) The G-Spot is not always in the same place!

Draw three circles which overlap so that there is one triangle in the middle where they all meet.

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Label one circle ‘What I’m best or very good at’

Label one circle ‘What I’m passionate about’

Label on circle ‘What will bring the biggest Return On Investment’ (This can be financial, lifestyle….whatever means a great life for you)

The point where these three intersect is your ‘G-Spot’ and will be different for everybody – another reason not to be a sheep and follow the crowd.

12) Learning, educating and progress happens much faster with stories. Tell stories and help people create and live a new story.

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13) Your fears are the puppet of your surroundings. If you don’t like the stresses and fears that cloud your life, change your environment and surroundings.

Establish your personal values and change your surroundings so you’re among people with shared values.

14) Water proof cases are made for a reason.

Check your Go-Pro camera case before diving in the pool!

15) The sharper the blade the cleaner the cut.

Don’t blunt yourself with negativity or uncertainty from lack of commitment.

16) When you’ve been shit on twice in the same place, you can either blame the bird that lives in the tree or realise IT IS your responsibility to move!

I learned not to sit under a particular tree!

Stop blaming everyone else and go get what you want.

17) The drier your life, the more it takes to get the river flowing again.

Don’t expect lifelong transformations from days or weeks of a new lifestyle.

Keep soaking up knowledge, experience and mistakes and soon you’ll have a new direction!

18) There is no bigger stimulus than a new environment, but also nothing as scary.

Like knowing animals that could take your head off are just metres away.

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19) Practice engagement over excitement. Be here.

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20) “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” African proverb.

Do things with others. Collaborate. Don’t try to do everything alone – it’s just not as fun!

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21) The sun will keep coming up and going down.

Don’t overplay your problems.

22) Deal with micro-nutrient hunger (vitamins and minerals) and hydration and you will look and feel dramatically different in no time at all.

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23) What you’re scared of is often just perception.

We’ve been watching beasts that can weigh up to 1000kg that will run away when they see us approaching. Go figure.

24) Your intuition is like a football in a swimming pool. You can push it down over and over again, but it will keep popping back up!

Let it loose, play with it, do it with other people.

25) The magic happens in the silence. Stop making noise to avoid the uncomfortable first moments of silence.

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26) Understand the difference between health and fitness goals.

They don’t have to be and won’t always be the same.

But you need to know the difference.

Getting ‘fit’ for something won’t always be the healthiest way to use your body. Manage this carefully.

27) Be assessed by other people you trust.

Mentally, physically and spiritually. You get use to your stresses and tensions – let someone you trust look at them from the outside

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28) Happiness is a combination of:

– Engaging with nature

– Health

– Shared experiences

– Removal of toxic people

– Being okay with uncertainty

– Laughter

– Having the freedom and willingness to try

– Detachment from failure and labels

– Nourishing food

– Teaching others

– Movement

– The right environment

– New experiences on a regular basis

A city dweller was trekking through the African bush and came across an old lady tending to her vegetable patch.

The city dweller stopped and said “My, my. It’s very remote here” to which the old lady replied…

“Remote from what?”

Don’t over state your own bubble – there is a BIG world out there where your problems don’t matter!

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29) We’ve sat and watched the weaver birds building nests.

They tirelessly build multiple nests to attract a mate.

The females come along and tear down any they don’t like.

Sometimes hard work comes to nothing 99/100 times. Keep going – one day, the 1/100 will change your life and it will all be worth it.

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30) Bad stuff is framed by the rest of your day.

In 24 hours I stood on two very painful thorns, sliced my finger open and got shit on twice by birds.

These were quickly forgotten on seeing giraffe by our pool, soaking up the African sun and finding leopards under a tree.

Don’t over play stuff and make it more than it really is.

Shrug your shoulders and move on.

31) The impact of any event is amplified by the number of people you share it with. Build connections, big and small. Lots of them.

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32) It’s easy to just take photos and let life pass you by without actually appreciating it for what it is.

Bank statements, houses and cars are our favourite photos but mean very little if you’re not enjoying what’s going past.

33) The more you chase something, the faster it runs away.

34) Communicate by sharing experiences and you’ll have much more impact and much more fun.

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35) We all live in little bubbles whilst there is a huge world out there.

Adventure isn’t a definition or a label but a concept that comes in all shapes and sizes underlined by the principle of getting outside of ourselves.

It doesn’t have to be huge gestures or mega changes all the time.

Ad – Related to / toward / direction

Venture – A risky or daring journey.

Risk is relative to you and your experiences.

Just keep pushing on the ocean and see what waves you create!

The last few lessons are from our group of fitness adventurers!

JON G:

36) Have something to train for and you’ll make much better progress

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37) I’ve never known what relaxed feels like!

38) Don’t put restrictions on your expectations – things can be much more awesome than you ever imagined!

CLAIRE:

39) You only realise the power stress has on eating habits and snacking when you get away from the stress!

JOSIE:

40) Life doesn’t revolve around my own little bubble at home – there’s so much more out there!

And I give the last word to my partner in the Namibia Fitness Holidays venture Dan Groves…

41) “Don’t worry about the past because it’s gone, but do take time to appreciate the trail you’ve already left…”

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