I don't know how this blog will work. I have a lot on my mind and I also have a bit of time to write, so here I am.
I was recently away on a research trip to Sweden. It was an intense time, but also one that was in a very beautiful part of the world and experiencing a wonderful world of folk music, so I thought I'd share some photos of the experience.
This is Lake Silja, a massive lake in the middle of Sweden where we stayed.
I managed to go jogging by the lake twice, and I'm so glad I had the chance to do that. I think it was around 10pm in this photo. The sun seemed to settle at this angle for most of the night, and then around 4am it began to get light again. It took a few days to get used to the early sunrise and not waking up! Whilst I did not jog my usual three times a week, I did a huge amount of walking, over 10 000 steps everyday. I've noticed the benefit of this, now that I am home. My running pace has increased, and I think it is thanks to the last two or three weeks of long, fast walking.
I had the opportunity to attend (and sing as part of a big group) the Bingsjöstämman folk festival. This was quite incredible. Thousands of folk musicians congregated on this huge hill, and, wherever I walked people were standing in circles playing folk music. It was quite amazing. This was the view from the main stage.
And, finally, home. It was a long time away from my family - the longest I have ever been away, and although we all made it through with no big issues, my little one did not let me out of his sight for the first three days as he was extremely concerned that I would go away without him. It did not help that I did have to go away for another work trip three days later! But, fortunately, my work travel is now over, and we can build back some type of routine while also prepare for our move to York.
I lost weight while travelling. It came with being very busy and walking a lot, and highlighted the bad habits that I have acquired at home, namely eating due to stress or boredom, and, apart from my jogging, not really walking a lot. This will change when we move, as we are planning on walking to work and nursery schools, but is eye opening for me after two weeks away. At the same time, I need to be careful with my foot. I fell down our stairs last Friday, which has aggravated the running injury, and reminded me to be very aware of my stress levels and general tiredness. I am feeling much better, now that I have had some more time at home, and also knowing that I will not be hopping on an airplane again for the next few weeks.
I have been a member of spark people for eight years, now. The time has honestly flown by, and there have been periods where I have been more active, and then others where it has been occasional posting. But, there are some people on the site who have become familiar "faces" as they've commented on my blogs, been part of similar challenges, and as I have commented on their blogs and had a small window into their lives. The internet world is a strange one, because people do truly drift in and out, and so some people who 7 years ago were regular bloggers, are not as present, now, but then, newer faces have appeared and, so there is a real ebb and flow of stories and support. Spark people is a place for people who need help and support losing and managing their weight, and so I think people dip in and out as they need, or are able to. But, one gets used to the familiarity of the spark names and the challenges, and, as some people share their worlds with us, I think we do come to care about their lives and well-being, even if it is remarkably indirect and abstract. So, I just wanted to say thank you to those people who have become a familiar part of my spark-journey, especially those who keep checking in and updating us with their lives, even when the going gets tough. It has helped me so much in my personal healthy lifestyle journey, which is so full of ups and downs.