When I picked up the newspaper today, the leading article read “School children burned out from comparing lives on social media”. Another full page article talked about a hat that Bella Hadid (a model) was wearing to a party, alongside her bandaged ankle. Are these really our heroes?
This blog is very much a brain dump. It is the result of reading too many stories about people taking up too much air and making it impossible for kids to compare themselves against. I’m sick of girls thinking they are not thin enough and men thinking they should have the perfect set of abs. The media in its many forms, has a very distorted view of what a healthy body looks like.
In this modern age whereby we are exposed to socially created personalities and ten-minute heroes, it is easy to get caught up in the buzz. By swiping left and clicking images, we are exposed to the most intimate details of the lives of people we have never met. I really couldn’t care less what haircut David Beckham has or what dress Rihanna is wearing. I feel like I get dumber these days when I read the headlines. What happened to the real heroes in all of this?
These fake role models are the catalysts to sell newspapers and take up space that credible world news should fill. I mean Kim Kardashian had a meeting with Donald Trump for f**ks sake! What is actually happening; who is this woman besides a reality television ‘star’ and why is she meeting the President of the United States of America?
So why is the world so fixated on celebrity? Are they really the calibre of hero we want young people aspiring to be like? Do they have the moral fibre to shape the future of impressionable minds? What is it that they truly do besides being famous for being skinny, a party animal, wearing nice clothes, singing or acting? No offence to people like Kate Moss, but if her major talent is walking in a straight line in heels with a nose full of cocaine (this was caught on camera), my adoration severely reduces when compared with the likes of an Olympic athlete or aid worker.
If I had kids, I would do everything in my power to fill their young and impressionable minds with appreciation of true modern day heroes.
So how do I define a true modern day hero? Well, for me it’s a status based purely on skilful achievement, meritocracy and hard work. Someone who gives back to society or their community, instead of filling young minds with self-doubt. A true hero doesn’t rate their acts by the number of likes they receive on Snapchat. Most importantly, someone who does it with integrity. People who help to positively inspire others through the work they do, challenges they attempt or positive outlook on life.
Who are my heroes you ask?
On May 16th 2018, Ben Fogle summited the highest mountain in the world, Everest. Sitting at 8,848-metres above sea level, this is no easy climb and one he did in memory of his still born baby. Some people may see this expedition as an unnecessary risk to ones life, but to me it shows determination, dedication and endurance. The message I read from this is everyone can achieve their goals, no matter how big (or high) they may seem. “Attention attention, would ALL of the crew from Love Island please sit down and stop blocking everyones light.”
I knew her long before she decided to spend 257 days, rowing 8466 miles across the Pacific Ocean, but was already inspired by her. Natalia embraces life with courage and the type of adventurous spirit that most people spend their lives dreaming of.
She and three other resilient British women set out from San Francisco and rowed across to Hawaii, then onto Samoa and finally finishing in Cairns. If this wasn’t enough and unbeknown to the team, it was an El Nino year so all the elements were working against them, at times essentially blowing them back as they rowed forwards. 8466 miles of pure endurance, pain, beauty, hardship and sleeping for 1.5 hours at a time before their next shift, a process they maintained on a continuous loop until they washed up on Australia’s shores. They spent so long at sea that their leg muscles wasted away, they had trouble walking afterwards to the point where one girl had shin splints, and another suffered some form of sea sickness every day away from dry land. They endured sea sores and rowed through heavy storms which engulfed the boat during pitch black evenings, and nothing but the horizon to stare out onto during the day.
Most people would look at this type of feat and think it was madness, but for Natalia it made sense. This was just the type of life affirming expedition of endurance that has helped shape who she is today. The team also managed to raise over £65,000 for their two charities ‘Walking With the Wounded’ and ‘Breast Cancer Care’. Step aside Naomi Campbell, there is a real idol waiting and you are taking up far too much air!
This June, a good friend of mine is setting off in her 1958 Morris Minor (Charlie), to drive from Aberdeen in Scotland, all the way to South Africa – her journey is called Morri 2 Africa. She’s giving herself six months to allow for breakdowns and to get into adventures along the way. Her goal is to raise NZ$30K for Cancer Research (already NZ$18K raised), and she is 100% self funded so every cent goes towards the charity.
Her and her Dad shared the same love for the Morri Minor he passed onto her a few years ago, named Charlie.
It was always her Dad’s dream to drive from his birth city of Aberdeen, through Europe, and Africa to Cape Town. Unfortunately, he never got to do it as he passed away from melanoma in 2016. She couldn’t think of anything more significant than completing this journey in his name, in the car they both shared a love of. I’ll also be joining her for the Egypt and Sudan section.
This is my ultimate modern day hero. Sure, it is a selfish way to spend six months, but it is also a selfless way to raise money for Cancer Research having experienced loss herself. What I respect most about Laura is that she is a warm and kind person. She lights up a room when she walks in and passes no judgement upon anyone and I can see her causing many people to bare an ear to ear grin during her six month trip. She is the benchmark of what all humans should aspire to be like which is why for me, she is the ultimate modern day hero. So finally, Beyonce and Jay-Z, sit down, shut up, and for gods sake, pass the microphone to someone who has something of value to say!
Now, would the real modern day heroes please stand up!