Overcoming a Lifetime of Anxiety to Cycle Africa Alone

I recently spoke online with Derek Cullen (No Hanging Around), who practically introduced himself with the line, “I have a massive ginger beard myself.” After six months of growing it, my ginger beard has now gone. However, Derek very casually also slipped into the email that he is, “Cycling solo across Africa at the moment.” As you do! Naturally, I had to check this guy out and I was not disappointed. Derek is on a fantastic adventure, cycling around Africa, all by himself. After suffering with anxiety and losing his parents, his story is an inspiration to overcome all obstacles and start living life in the way we want to live it. Above, you can watch Derek’s brilliant introductory video to his journey (and it is absolutely worth a watch). I asked Derek to introduce his journey to you, so I step aside and leave you in the capable hands of Derek:

Derek Cycling Past a ChameleonI suffered from fear and anxiety for most of my life and it affected me badly when I lost both parents to cancer a few years ago. I made so many bad choices in the years that followed and became very unhappy as a result. I realised I needed to do something about it. I knew that just travelling around wasn’t the solution and I didn’t want other peoples fears to affect me from following my own dreams anymore. I decided I needed a challenge, one to test me physically and mentally, a challenge to banish my demons and let me get on with my life.

To me Africa is the most diverse and interesting place in the world, still quite untouched by our western ways. I wanted to see it all, see how it changed from one region to the next – I decided it would be a great challenge to ride a bicycle across the continent and no matter how afraid I was, I was going to do it.

After watching Derek’s video, I was inspired by the insight into the story of an individual who has overcome so very much to do something that most people would only dream of. Fear and anxiety is a big factor why many people do not follow their dreams, so I pitched a couple of questions to Derek about his anxiety and his desire to throw caution to the wind and start doing something WOW.

Cycling Africa on a bike selfie. Top that!

Q1. After a lifetime of anxiety, what finally tipped the balance to make you undertake this fantastic journey? Most people end up talking about something they’ll do in the future, but never get around to it.

A1. After losing both parents so early in life, I saw first hand the reasons behind the cliche “life’s too short,” so after years of bad choices and letting anxiety control me, I decided I would find something I really wanted to do in life and no matter how afraid I was, I would go for it.

Q2. I’m sure this was a hard decision to make, but now you’ve started, do you have any regrets about deciding to start this journey?

A2. Any regrets? Definitely no, it’s the best decision I have ever made and would trade any amount of career or money for how much enlightenment it has brought into my life.

Derek Cycling By

Q3. I’m sure that there are many people facing huge obstacles in terms of fear and anxiety right now (I know what it’s like). As someone in a valid position to comment, what words of advice would you offer to these people?

A3. Don’t put up with fear or anxiety, there are ways and techniques you can control or even use it to your advantage. See a doctor, read a self help book, but whatever you do, just do something and take full control of your life, you deserve it.

Derek, a big thank-you for taking the time to speak to me during your journey. I look forward to following updates. What you are doing is truly fantastic and I hope others find as much inspiration in your story as I have done.

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Follow Derek’s Journey

If you are interested in following Derek, please visit his blog, No Hanging Around, follow him on Twitter, and / or follow him on Facebook.


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