Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway!
Words Molly Brealey
‘Those that don’t jump will never fly’ ……. It was in that moment as I sat on the edge of a plane door 15,000 feet up looking over Melbourne and it’s coastline that I realised I wanted my Sport Lived experience to be about taking every risk and dropping every fear. My gap year consisted of travelling solo through 10 different countries, a highlight being playing hockey, the sport I love, with Sport Lived in Melbourne.
In reality my fears started way before I sky dived out of a plane in Melbourne; planning my travels and the safety aspects, raising enough money, would I meet friends, finalising my route, packing, accommodation, finding the right hockey club and being a year behind at Uni ... Sport Lived supported me through all those fears, their support allowed me to jump that day knowing any fears had all been addressed well before I arrived – months of meticulous planning suddenly became very real!
I instantly fell in love with Melbourne, it has a real buzz about it, edgy and a real coolness which I didn’t find in many other cities on my travels.
Melbourne is an exciting mix of people, architecture, style, culture and sport. I was warmly welcomed into the Sport Lived family and Melbourne is the place that made me feel at home, away from home. I explored extensively whilst I was with Sport Lived, outside Melbourne you have some of the best coastlines Australia has to offer. If you go west you hit the stunning Great Ocean Road and head east you find the Mornington Peninsula and some of the best beaches in Australia.
I’d initially planned 6 weeks with Sport Lived with 2 of those weeks at the Hockey Academy. I loved it that much I extended to 10 weeks as I secured a spot playing for my club’s 1st team in the Hockey Victoria Women’s Premier League. My love of hockey started in childhood and I have enjoyed great success in recent years including winning 6 national indoor and outdoor titles with my school, playing club hockey in the Women’s National Premier League and representing England at the UK Schools Games. Playing hockey in Australia improved my game enormously; I learnt new skills, experienced a very different style of play and became much more confident. Since returning to the UK and starting university, I have applied many of the things I learnt in Australia in my matches this year.
Anyone thinking of taking a Gap Year or embarking on a Sport Lived experience – Just do it! It was truly the best decision I ever made.
The best advice I can give you is to chat to lots of people before you go (Sport Lived arranged for me to speak to previous participants) and give yourself plenty of time to plan as the fun and adventure starts in the planning stage. My hockey gap year truly helped me to find time for reflection and the mental space to decide which educational and career path I wanted to further invest my time and energy in going forward. It was a wonderful stepping stone to University and building my independence. My Sport Lived experience gave me the chance to invest in myself whilst developing my skills in a sport I love. Thank you to everyone at Sport Lived for the amazing time and the support.
I will continue my love of travel and be doing another adventure this year travelling across USA, Hawaii and Cuba – Can’t wait!