• My Snailspace Route Master adventure is at an end

    The orange fleece is probably going to become a dog walking fleece

    So, after one junior snail launch event, seven Route Master shifts, a standing waving at the Royals afternoon, two shifts at the finale weekend, and a guest pass to the auction, my #BeMoreSnail adventure is at an end.

    Auction time

    The week after my first event, the junior snail launch, I spent a little time writing a list of what I wanted to get out of my #BeMoreSnail volunteering and why I was doing it. Here’s what I wrote:

    • feel like I’m helping people (the hospice, the organisers, the public)

    • feel more comfortable talking with strangers

    • feel like I’m involved with something worthwhile

    • feel a sense of belonging to something that brings joy to the city

    • meet new people via the volunteering

    I’m glad I wrote that list because I hadn’t remembered some of those.

    What I got out of it was:

    • A feeling of pride at being involved with something that did bring joy to people, and that had such a lovely message of slowing down, taking time, appreciating things, or being more snail. And one of my highlights was hearing the gasps and the ‘Wow’s as people entered into the hall at the finale weekend and saw all the snails together for the first time. Just magical

    • An appreciation that talking to the public about something like the snail sculptures isn’t hard at all. It’s not about making small talk. It’s about engaging with them about the snails - their favourites, how many they’ve seen, where they’ve been so far, whether they plan to see them all, have the app, or the map, or if there is anything I can help them

    • A realisation that a four-hour shift walking around cleaning snails and engaging with the public can be more or less tiring depending on who you’ve been paired up with. For me, it varied based on how well we got on, how easy it was to find common conversation topics, and whether we could find a way to make each other laugh. Laughter filled shifts were always my favourite and least draining ones

    • New learnings about what I need to balance my energy. For instance, if I’ve spent time out and about on duty - either as a Route Master shift or the finale weekend - I need to have some quality quiet time booked in to regroup and settle, to make sure I have time set aside for self-care

    • A real sense of pleasure of having supported something local to my home. Most of the fundraising, or even letter writing volunteering, I’ve done has been for national charities. Martlets is Brighton (well Hove actually) based. That has been good for my sense of belonging to this beautiful city that I call home

    Being a Route Master has been the first time I’ve given my time regularly as a people facing role, and is why I chose to involve myself with a project that was a fixed length - I knew I could commit to that come what may. I have learned from doing it. I’ve enjoyed it. So all that remains is for me to work out how I follow it.

    The finale weekend - magical enough to make people gasp and Wow

    Farewell my snail chums

    To everything there is a season looking beautiful

    All about the snail bus with a penguin conductor

  • TEDxBrighton 2018

    It’s now 4 or so weeks since TEDxBrighton which has been enough time for the dust to settle and to see what is still rattling around my brain.

    The standout talk for me was Kittie Kipper talking about plastic pollution. And it was standout due to the sheer emotion that she displayed, especially towards the end of the talk. How could I leave the conference and not follow up on that thought in some way having seen how much she cared about the subject?

    I’ve made a start. It’s a small start admittedly, but I have to start somewhere. The first thing I’ve swapped is body lotion - I’ve swapped my usual one that came in a plastic bottle with a solid one. I don’t think I’ll stick with this particular one - the scent is a little overpowering for me - but I love the mindfulness of the application process. It takes maybe a minute longer but is a far nicer experience. So that’s a win. Bit by bit I intend to swap to plastic-free solutions where I can find good alternatives.

    The other things I’ve done which were triggered by talks on a similar/related theme at TEDxBrighton are:

    • adopt a penguin - I love penguins, and some of them find themselves on the endangered species list so I thought I’d help support the WWF protect them

    • donated to the council’s Make Change Count campaign to try and get money to people who can put a roof over the heads over some of the people I see on the streets every day

    It was a day well spent and definitely challenged me.

  • World Kindness Day

    Today is World Kindness Day. Given that my purpose is to ‘Be kinder and help others to be kinder too’ it feels like it’s a proper celebration day for me. In fact, even as I write this, I have a tingle of excitement as I think about the difference that could be made if anybody was just a fraction kinder to themselves and to each other.

    To start the day off I shared some quotes via twitter. And so I thought I’d share them here as well.

    Always try to be a little kinder than is necessary - J. M. Barrie

    I like this because it uses kindness as a scale rather than as a binary setting.

    Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see - Mark Twain

    I like this because, to me, it means that kindness is accessible to all, and can be felt by all.

    Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again. - Og Mandino

    Even if this could only be sustained for one day, what a wonderful day that would be.

    In a world where you can be anything, be kind

    Probably my favourite thought. For a while I had this written in the front of my notebook. I love the idea that we can choose what or how to be. And that kindness can be that choice. And is never a bad choice. (I don’t know who originally coined the phrase, so no attribution. Sorry!)

    So, today, on World Kindness Day, can you choose to be a little kinder to those around you? I’m going to give it my best shot.

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