Every time you meet someone new you’re discovering original.

It’s a scientific fact that no two people are exactly the same. So every time you meet and ask someone a few questions and try to get to know someone you’re opening a path to something completely new in your life. By interacting and opening up with new people you’re going to see, hear, and feel new things.

About six years ago I met a guy called Richard Reed. He suggested we go indoor climbing as it would be fun. I said yes. We did a bit of indoor climbing and he said, let’s go and climb the Matterhorn in Switzerland. I said yes. We went to climb the Matterhorn and I had a seriously scary time, but we did it. Two years later Richard told me there was an opportunity to climb it again as part of a charity gang of people, including Arnaud Haines, Fiona Waller, Justin Packshaw, Karl Lokko, Lara Millward, Marion Bartoli, Noah Devereux, Sally Hughes and Sam Branson. I said yes. 

By interacting and opening up with new people you’re going to see, hear, and feel new things.

It was a very tough year to climb the Matterhorn in 2014, but following a month of running, cycling, and hiking from London, Noah Devereux, Sam Branson, and myself managed to make it to the top of this iconic mountain and raise lots of money for Big Change charity in the process. I walked away with some wonderfully interesting and fun new friends to add to my collection.

Ocean Unite, Big CHange

Two years later, another charity challenge with Big Change took a bunch of us from the bottom of the Matterhorn to the top of Mt Etna by human power. I stood on the top of this volcano with a bunch of fantastic people, including Holly and Richard Branson. Once again, having spent hours striving with people, I felt I had a few more genuinely lovely friends to my collection. 

This year I decided to go solo on an expedition. I made a very quick decision to row a little boat 3000 miles across the Atlantic. I spent 41 days getting thrown around by the very scary, unforgiving, but beautiful ocean. I lost my rowing seat, I had very little water, and I reached an all-time low. But I had support from my family, and from all my friends – old and new. I felt utterly vulnerable, and I was scared at times. But I had encouragement and amazing messages being sent to me throughout.

My challenge was subsequently shared by so many, and even more support grew. This helped me get lots of donations for Big Change Charity and for Ocean Unite. Without the support I had, I could not have done it. I was so pleased to be greeted by friends and family when I finally reached the finishing line in Barbados too. Overall, a humbling experience. 

Ocean Unite, Big Change

Meeting new people, learning about people, and understanding them is discovering original. I personally put a huge emphasis on embracing nice, kind, friendly, and open people. These people will inspire you, make you laugh, encourage you to do the right thing, support you, and tell you if you step out of line. For me that’s the most enriching part of my life, and I cherish my friends dearly. Sometimes you may go on opposite journeys, which is life. But you’ll always have good memories.

Be kind, be open, be friendly, and nice. There are golden nuggets all around you, so look out for them. Thank you Richard Reed for being such a bromantic.

Ocean Unite, Big Change

- This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. 

This post is part of a series produced by Virgin Unite in partnership with Ocean Unite, an initiative to unite and activate powerful voices for ocean-conservation action.

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