The Why Not? Blog

At the tender age of 25 Dave started skateboarding. 14 months later he became the first person to skate the length of Britain. Another 8 months on he had crossed Australia on his board, breaking a world record & raising over £20,000 for three charities. Now, at 27, he's writing his first book, is a motivational speaker and a businessman, and he's only just gotten started on a lifetime of challenges which from the outside look just darn crazy. So, why? You know the answer, don't you. Why not?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

So dreams can come true

In the past couple of years people have asked me questions that I've decided to answer with a cliche. Each time I do so I grimace inside a little. For example, 'Dave, why did you decide to skate across Australia, having only just taken up skateboarding?' I'd look a bit whistful, look them solidly in the eye and answer, 'Because I believe you can do anything if you really want to. The sky's the limit. The limits are in your mind. Never say never. Anything's possible. Nothing's impossible. Life is good. You're in control of your own destiny. Why not?'

And by the time I'd reeled off everything I read on this morning's ten sheets of motivational toilet paper the journalist had done one of two things. He'd disappeared completely, often through tired, unoriginal self combustion, or he'd turned into a zombie. Just nodding. Not needing to write anything down, because he'd heard it all before.

And then I'd realise what I'd done, apologised for using all the cliches in the world. And finished it off with a personal critique of cliches, to which this day I'm still very proud off. 'But, you see, cliches are here for a reason aren't they. It's because they're true.' And that normally finished off anyone else who was still standing around.

Dreams do come true, however. For as long as I can remember I had an intense amount of competitiveness in me, but no particularly direct ambition. I didn't want to be a doctor when I was a kid. I barely wanted to go to University because when I was asked to start thinking about it at the age of 16 I realised straight away that I was 16, 'and frankly Mr Gombault from the Careers Department, I'm not going to decide what I want to do with the rest of my life when I'm 16. I mean, I'm 16. I haven't even had sex yet.' And he looked at me sideways as if to say, 'neither have I,' and then I came out of my daydream and nodded vaguely so I could leave the Careers department and go and play football.

When I was 17 I decided the only thing I wanted to do with my life was change it. I wasn't very popular in school and I just wanted to have something to talk about so I could make some friends. I opted to give myself an extra year before going to University and take a gap year. Ironically, even though I was accepted onto a scheme which would see me go and teach in Uganda for a few months, I was still informed that I had to decide which University I wanted to go to and what I wanted to study at the same time as everyone else. Brilliant. I was going to East Africa to become a man and give myself some thinking time, and then I was lumped with the numbing realisation that all the newness of travel and life was going to abruptly come to an end in September 1999, when I was going to Swansea to study Management Science. Just brilliant.

In Africa I put the high powered maths and business course to the back of my mind, and started to write for the first time. I wrote a long daily diary, I wrote long letters home, I wrote poems to my first ever girlfriend Jessica and then cleaned up my housemate's sick when I tried them out on him first. But I'd finally found something that I really loved, writing. And ever since then I wanted to be a travel writer. And that dream hasn't changed for a moment.

And now, I'm smiling as I type this by the way, I'm about to become a travel writer. Because although I submitted tongue-in-cheek articles about my exploits in various jungles to the student newspaper when I was in my early twenties, it wasn't really travel writing. It was just pretending. The real stuff, the big cheese, was getting a book deal. And one day, having spent a few months living off an advance and writing for a living, I was going to be able to walk into Waterstones, start casually browsing the travel writing section and then exclaim loudly, 'oh bloody hell this one looks good,' and start waving it around above my head so the pretty girl down the aisle could see it. And yes, there it was, my book, with my name on, and my words inside. A whole book. Available for everyone to read.

And now it's going to happen. Because last Friday I was offered a book deal. And yesterday I accepted it. And now I'm writing a book that I'll be able to find in Waterstones a few months down the line. How bloody good is that, Mr Gombault? How bloody good is that?


  • At 10:21 pm, Blogger Laura said…

    Well done Dave, I didn't doubt you for a second. Trust me, I didn't. I would never have stood a chance :)

  • At 10:46 am, Blogger Bam Bam said…

    Good on ya dude!


    Can't wait to get my grubby little mits on ya book.

    Seriously well done brah!

    Bam Bam

  • At 3:17 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Go Dave! Go Dave!


  • At 10:14 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    Do you think any Careers Advisers ever advise anyone to become a Careers Adviser? I doubt it because from my experience and yours and many others their advice is totally useless!!

    Keep following your dreams mate!



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