A mix of all our India trips in 2017 as we create our first ever Expedition India adventure race. It was most probably the craziest thing to do but a great success!
Confessions from the Heart
For the Love of Adventure Racing, the outdoors and all things beautiful!
It has now been over 3 months since we finished our beloved event, Expedition Africa, which took place along the Garden Route. We spent 1 week per month, prior to our event, in and around this area in preparation.
I have been sitting with this “post-race” write up for a while and just cannot find the words to express what is happening in my heart… it is a mix of emotions.
It was truly a wonderful journey to put something of this scale together and to spend a few months in this wonderful part of South Africa. The moment that will never be forgotten was when all our teams spread out in front of us on the Knysna Lagoon, as we were standing on the pier in front of the Cruise Café. There was lots of excitement with photographers pushing each other to get the best shot and some of them were even on the boats to follow the teams. The horn blew and off they went. The wheel was rolling and you could not stop it.
While it is a non-stop race for our teams, it is a non-stop race for us, until the last team crosses that finish line. It is a year’s work culminating in the final stretch and afterwards the only memories you have left are the images and the videos. Sadly, this year I walked away empty. You know when a tap runs dry……. my tap ran out this year.
I function on love and I give love unconditionally. That is my thing. It is like adventure racing, its non-stop, and my river of love can never dry up (that is what I thought). Nevertheless, this year I walked home after prize-giving, looking at my husband and my heart was broken. We packed in silence, said our goodbye’s, farewells and thank-you’s, collected CP points. We were still sleep deprived, but tackled the 15-hour trip back to JHB, most of which was done again in silence and I can just remember the tears rolling down my cheeks. I could not stop thinking, why am I doing this? Why am I giving my soul to this? Why am I putting myself out there?
I had no words, nothing. I was just in turmoil with my thoughts and myself.
Now as I sit and open the photo galleries and the videos; my heart swells up with emotion… emotions of happiness, of sadness, of pride and utmost respect of the team of people who went out of their way and worked through-out the night with us to create and capture this “masterpiece”. The most amazing people who just gave it their all!
I mean where in the world do you find people working throughout the night? In the cold, fighting the sleep monsters, trying to keep it all together. Letting us know when the truck leaves, when it arrives, what boxes are short, which teams are close, how far the truck is along. They get worried… the gear does not arrive, the cups run out; we need more milk, then toilet paper. What next??
How can we help? the logistics car has broken down, how can we make plans? We need wood here, we need a marshal there, and we need a gate unlocked but cannot find the farmer, and then most important of all, WE ALL NEED SLEEP… How, just how, can I ever explain this world of intensity, responsibility, problem and crisis management to any person? You cannot prepare for it. You cannot just go and sleep and leave it to someone else to sort out. Once that wheel is rolling you cannot stop it!!
It is the one week in your life where you cannot think of anything else. Its 200% focused energy. Once you have all the balls in the air, you have to remember when was the last post made about this sponsor and a tweet about that sponsor? Did this happen and then that? When last did Stephan sleep? Or eat? Or does anyone know where he is? And where is Ian? And Jose? And there it goes again...
Finally, I move to the finish and our teams start pouring in… I wait for them, all of them. In the beginning, there is lots of excitement as the first teams arrive, with lots of supporters. Then the night becomes lonely and I stand mostly alone with one brave volunteer who is standing half asleep with me. Standing under the stars with a blanket wrapped around my body looking into the silence of the night. How beautiful is this?
I can hear the strokes of the blades as a team is nearing the finish line and then I can see them … Hopefully I am standing with the right country’s flag in hand, music pumping in the background and it is tears of achievement, of greatness, of proudness and just LOVE. Love for people and love for the incredible sport that pushes every person further than the body can do… it pushes your mind and shapes you as a person. It makes you think about yourself, your life, and the things that are really important in life.
I look at every person and I see their pain and smiles, I see, for that few minutes, emotions which not a lot of people have ever seen. I see and understand what they feel and I can see the “change” … it is a pure raw emotion and my privilege to share those first moments.
It is a humbling experience to know that we created an event/experience and that I know will be part of someone’s life forever. We create memories. What is life without memories?
I knew we had to get away after this magnificent event…
Time heals most things. Only time and as our event was on the one hand a massive success and we had massive reach and ratings, it was sadly overshadowed by things we had to address that were out of our control. We had to enforce penalties, upset friends and handle conflict which I Hate!! You can only learn from it. In the end, you still walk away with an empty soul. I was instead of celebrating sad. So sad, emotionally drained and tired.
Our event touched lives. We got so many emails afterwards from volunteers, participants and marshals who told us how expedition had changed their lives and enriched their soul.
I came to the conclusion after some “time out”…. I have put a year of love into this event and my heart walked out empty. Nevertheless, I have a lifetime of memories, memories that nobody can take away from me. Memories filled with time with my children on the beach, kayaking with Stephan on the rivers and hiking along the most beautiful coastline ever. Memories of challenges to get approvals and then amazing memories of discussing our Community Project where we made the Mosaic Landmark and donated the money to the Masithandane Bursary Fund. I gave an afternoon to the young girls at the Kranskop community showing them the finer things in life and helped to build their confidence. We raised money for children who do not have food or transport to go to school. Nobody can take any of those memories away from me. I gave it my all.
A mom who is a friend of mine on Facebook (our children used to be in the same school), came to me and said: “Wow I saw your event and had a look into it and now I see why you are always so busy….”
“It must be so amazing to be the creator of something so special and amazing!” she said.
I closed my eyes ... it hit me… Thank you! Thank you God! Thank you for putting me in a position where I can create something where people can go and “explore”, find themselves, push themselves and feel FREE!! Her words are humbling; sometimes a few words like this from a stranger can change your whole perspective of how you look at things.
I started reading the race reports, and it was a healing process for me. We went away, I switched my phone off, laptop off, I started dancing again, laughing, and running in the rain… I found my “Mojo” again… I looked at my husband with a heart full of admiration and love! I am so proud of him and the man he is and that we can share this love together.
I look back and only see the beautiful things… we made special friends and had the most amazing crew around us who worked their asses off to get the best images, video moments, transport boxes/boats etc. They worked through the day and night not for money but – for us Heidi and Stephan Muller. No money will ever be enough to pay them. They do it from the heart and that is what Expedition Africa is all about. It is more than only a race… its Love!
To every person who was part of the event it does not matter how big or small, you gave in time and in love, we do see it and we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts!! Thank you for giving your time and for working so hard at an event where most of you hardly know me and Stephan. Thank you for sharing our love and for the sacrifices you have made for Expedition Africa!! May this event be in your life and heart for all the years to come and hope to see you again at the Start of Expedition Africa 2017? I extend this Thank you to every sponsor, venue and institution who were involved and supported us. Thank you for believing in us and making our event just better and better!! Lastly the thank you to our family who is our greatest supporters in love and time where our whole family was there this year to come and help us. Isn't that just so amazing to have this support system!! I am truly the luckiest girl!!
Yes, soon we will announce the Host venue for 2017. If we inspired you this year, book your dates for 12 May – 21 May 2017 and we will meet again! I am excited as my heart is filled with love and energy. To go out and to put together another World Class event that will give you memories for Life!
I am in the business where I give love unconditionally, I will always believe in love and I will always organise our business with love #itsallaboutlove “loving life with abundance”
Otherwise, we waste each other’s time…
As nothing else matters to me…
(I tried to get a photo of most of the people who were involved this year but could not get from all, but just know that I love all of you. See more pictures in the "confessions from the heart" photo album)
until we meet again..