Thanks to everyone who shared and messaged about last week’s story, The End Of Doomspreading — it’s already my sixth most-read edition of this newsletter. My drive is to help us develop more effective ways of connecting with people who start on the other side of an apparently deep divide and turn difficult conversations into … Continue reading Doomspreading In Saunas A previous iteration of David Charles would have felt threatened by this man’s speech and seen him as an enemy to be fought and defeated
There’s nothing like a public sauna for meeting people you wouldn’t otherwise meet. The health benefits are well documented, but the real value of a sauna is in the friendships you make, however brief. Saunas are too small for private conversations. None of us can help eavesdropping and I’ve not met anyone yet who minded. … Continue reading Sauna Stories: The Millionaire
On Wednesday, for the umpteenth time in the last year, I found myself in swimming shorts, dripping in sweat, and making small talk with strangers. Even in the UK, saunas are a great place to meet people. “What even is the benefit of doing a sauna, anyway?” I’ve heard that question while sweating my guts … Continue reading Why I sauna
And a warm welcome from yet another train, this one speeding its way to the snow-capped mountains of the Lake District National Park. You might have noticed that I like to call our National Parks by their full name. Adding the words ‘National Park’ is not only helpful context for people who might not have … Continue reading 52 Things I Learned In 2023 (Part 2)
And a warm welcome from various trains running north and south along the east coast of Britain. Today’s gargantuan story is Part One of a selection of titbits from the fullness of the year just gone. For easy digestion, I’ve divided the fifty-two into sections, with half of each section coming today and the other … Continue reading 52 Things I Learned In 2023 (Part 1)
‘I’m going to treat myself to a slice of bread’ Today’s story is for anyone who has ever struggled to shower themselves with the kind of indulgences that they would so easily afford to others. You’re not alone. I have been at the receiving end of some mockery this week for saying that a slice … Continue reading The Essential Element Of Naughtiness This story is for anyone who has ever struggled to shower themselves with the kind of indulgences that they would so easily afford to others. You’re not alone.
My friends know me well. This week, three people, independently, sent me the news that a high court judge had decided that wild camping was never permitted under the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985. As of last Friday, nights like this are no longer legal without permission from the landowner: My friends indeed know me well: … Continue reading 260,000 Year Winning Record For Team Human Cooperation on a local level — human to human, here and now — makes the relentless negativity of news media (and the power it represents) not only harmlessly avoidable, but ultimately irrelevant
The big reason I keep going back to sauna is stories. Conversations with a revolving cast of regulars and passing trade always make me think or feel something. Sometimes I think those conversations are worth writing down and sharing. So here you go: four short stories from sweating it out with strangers. #1: Put Your … Continue reading Sweating It Out With Strangers Put all your money on humanity, the stewards of the land, community, the carers and growers, and society, the builders and changers. We might not have money, but we’ll certainly have each other
MIGRATION The Nationality and Borders Act of 2022 was passed in April after the Commons rejected a series of amendments proposed by the Lords that would have protected compliance with the Refugee Convention. Heavy. In January, with the help of paradox, I tried to understand our part in all this, because we all have a … Continue reading 52 Things I Learned In 2022 We shall not cease from exploration so don’t ask us to compromise our beliefs because we still have NO IDEA what wonders we’re capable of. And other lessons from 2022
Last night I went to the second ever edition of Professional Amateur Story Time, hosted by The New Forest Off Road Club. The principle of the PAST Adventure Series is simple: three women stand up and tell stories of adventure to a rapt audience at a local bike shop. We heard about the Adventure Queen … Continue reading Never Dread The Road Ahead Everything I do for this bike ride is about finding the courage to connect. And it’s not just the bike ride. Cycling around Britain is a cypher for *everything* I do
What are you most fearful of or what stops you from bringing every part of yourself to a relationship and sharing your whole heart, warts and all, with your partner? I’m a newish member of a Men’s Circle, a group of guys who meet every fortnight to listen (and talk). We also drink tea and … Continue reading Your Boat Needs A Crew
September 17, 30 degree heat, Akropolis in sight. The culmination of seven months’ hard preparation and two months’ hard riding. It was a spectacular summer, filled to the brim with vivid experiences and vital friendships. But, as I reluctantly turned my handlebars back northwest, I felt pretty empty. So, as our ferry chugged inexorably across … Continue reading Winter Wins And in one year’s time I’ll be opening the freakin Palladium! (Or maybe I’ll just have sustainable momentum in the direction I want to travel)
I’ve now been without a home internet connection for a week and I’m still appreciating my untethered peace of mind. But it’s not like I’ve gone total caveman here. I’ve got into a rhythm of working for four or five hours in the library, from whenever I finish my morning diary (see below) until my … Continue reading The Most Wonderful, Or Manifesting The Abstract One week with no home internet connection…
The Boring Bit Earlier this year, tediously, Virgin Mobile transferred all their customers (hi) from the EE network to Vodafone. (Did you know that there are only four actual mobile phone networks in the UK? All the other providers are just piggybacking.) For 99.99 percent of Virgin customers, this move made absolutely no difference. For … Continue reading Don’t Rush To Press Writing, creating and flourishing – without a phone connection
We imagine responsibility as a weight. This imagined foe finds expression in the metaphorical language we all use. Responsibility is something we hold, bear, carry or shoulder. Responsibility is a heavy, weighty thing that can be handed over, dodged or ducked. Sometimes responsibility even falls on us. No wonder that, in our most solemn moments … Continue reading Responsibility Is Not Heavy It’s electromagnetic (metaphorically speaking)
I hold strong opinions. Dangerously strong opinions. The way that the human brain works, strong opinions like mine can lead to political breakdown, financial collapse and even death 💀 Most human beings hold at least a few strong opinions thanks to something called the confirmation bias. Duh, duh, DUH. Because of, I dunno, evolution or … Continue reading 27 Things I Used To Believe And Now Completely Don’t
I thought I knew why I sauna. There is a legend that I tell around the hot stones about how, five years ago, I got injured while training for a half marathon. So it was that, six weeks out from competition, I found myself frantically casting around the Internet for scientifically-backed endurance training techniques that … Continue reading Hot Stones, Keystone Habits
Yesterday I went for a sauna, a serendipitous, super-heated rendezvous with an Italian shamanic healer and, Paulo, a New York-born Italian-Irish dad who takes daily saunas so that he’s ‘mentally and physically ready’ to fight. Paulo grew up tough. His own grandma would slap him if he chewed his food more than three times — … Continue reading It’s been a week of water and heat Sauna Diaries, Surfing and Warmshowers
Today I’m going to build on everything that I wrote last week, encorporating as many of your wonderful contributions as I can. In fact, last Saturday, I got so excited by your responses that I had to make a load of changes to the original article, so please go and read that if you haven’t … Continue reading The Man Sloth Mode Diaries Do you enforce and enact traditional sexual scripts of male sexual control to get your rocks off? Okaaay…
Your gut behaves like a second brain of over 100 million nerve cells called the enteric nervous system, which can communicate with your head-brain through the vagus nerve, and also by releasing bacterial metabolites into the bloodstream. We are what we eat, in other words. Read a digest of the science on my blog. Fingerspitzengefühl … Continue reading 52 Things I Learned in 2019
I have a new favourite day of the week. It’s the day that I don’t use my computer. To be fair, it’s only been two weeks now, but still. On my first day of No Computers I went for a long bike ride with friends, and then spent the evening reading and listening to the … Continue reading No Computers And my new favourite day of the week
Ask me how I’ll remember 2018 and I won’t say ‘typing words into a computer’, even though that’s how I spent far too much of almost every single day. Not all of that typing was unmemorable, of course. Writing the second series of Foiled was fabulous and I’m sure I’ll be writing about how I … Continue reading The Memory of Adventure
It’s been 10 years since I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism. 10 years of taking two little white pills every single day in an effort to regulate what my body can no longer. Those 10 years have been filled with a full 10 years of life: finishing a masters degree, cycling around a country or … Continue reading Lessons from 10 Years of Hashimoto’s Hypothroidism I couldn’t find happiness by following a FODMAP diet, testing myself for diabetes, or taking Magnesium and Vitamin E for adrenal support. It was both harder and easier than that.
In the preface to my edition of Man’s Search for Meaning, Gordon W Allport tells us that Viktor Frankl used to ask his psychotherapy clients what it was that stopped them from committing suicide. It’s a question that existential philosopher and bon vivant Albert Camus considered the only serious question in philosophy.
Last Sunday, I was the beneficiary of some friend-wisdom – that variety of wisdom that you can only hear from friends because otherwise it just doesn’t sink in. What 5 things do you love doing? 5 things that invariably fill you with joy every time you do them. Feed yourself with them.
“How barbarous, to deny men the privilege of pursuing what they imagine to be their proper concerns and interests! Yet, in a sense, this is just what you are doing when you allow your indignation to rise at their wrongdoing; for after all, they are only following their own apparent concerns and interests. You say … Continue reading Meditations on Meditations: Indignation (6:27)
When I’m on my own. When I come in from work. When I’m hot. When I sleep. When I wake up and stumble to the bathroom. I take every opportunity to be as naked as possible. I’m writing this, dear reader, dressed only in a towel. But I’ve never gone naked in public before. I’ve … Continue reading No Clothes
I am now on week 10 of the 6 week program ‘One Hundred Push Ups’. I finally feel like I can say I have accomplished pretty much what I set out to achieve: I have done 100 consecutive push ups (or press ups, as I call them – like I’m a button or something) on … Continue reading 22 Tips for 100 Push Ups