I’ve got a big decision to make. With 2019 and all things wedding and honeymoon that came with it nearly done, and the new year on the horizon, what exactly is in store for me in 2020? I’ve been busy readying my fitness and steadying my kit for the next challenge – but should I continue my dance across America or press pause on that and continuing my dance around the world with Europe first?
I’m really not sure, so it’d be great to have your help. Please read the arguments for each option and then vote in the poll at the bottom – thank you!
To Stick: the case for the USA
1. I’ve begun and it’s been a successful challenge so far! I’ve danced over 700 miles following Route 66 through California and Arizona, shimmying through the Mojave desert in the peak of summer and up to heights of over 4,000 feet – and raised over £6,600 doing so.
2. Dance America is beginning to build. For example, I’ve just begun to get some great media coverage and this will help in generating more interest and support for the challenge if I was to return in 2020. I could send out the CNN film in advance of my arrival to potential hosts and dance groups/clubs/people who might want to dance with me and that way generate way more momentum for the challenge. If I started from Europe I’d have to start from scratch a bit more.
3. A clear route. Following Route 66 means I have a recognised route to follow which has a tourist infrastructure and fanbase all of it’s own which I can continue to tap into… and as I make more progress and get closer to Chicago the prospect of me actually making it (and therefore support for the challenge) will likely only increase. Plus I’ve done a lot of the hard work researching the exact roads/tracks I’ll follow through each State.
4. Friends, contacts and help. I’ve already made some great friends on the 700 miles of the challenge so far – and they’ve helped me a massive amount over the two legs I’ve completed. Plus I have some media contacts which can help with the next legs too. On both fronts I’d be starting from scratch more in Europe. And obviously the US also has less of a language barrier and I’m much more certain about how everything works now after the two 2018 legs.
5. I’ve started so I’ll finish. If you know me well you’ll know I don’t like letting things lie unfinished. If there’s a challenge out there to complete, I’ll do all I can to get it done. So there’s something fundamentally frustrating and niggly about switching away from Dance America now.
To Twist: the case for Europe
1. Environmental impact. I’ve long tried to live in ways which reduce my negative impacts on the planet – starting long ago at primary school when I led a fundraising appeal to preserve Belizean rainforest, and through my life have never driven/owned a car, have cycled (and pranced) pretty much everywhere and have been a vegetarian since I was 18. So the fact that Dance America and me having to do it part time necessitates 2-4 flights out to the US each year really does bother me. I can offset but I’m not sure that fully compensates for the impact – plus the message isn’t a good one. Surely I can help people and planet, and be prepared to amend/change plans if those plans conflict? Beginning my dance around the world from London and heading off through Europe means I can travel back and forth using trains and boats exclusively.
2. I like Europe. Given what’s happening in the UK at the moment, it’s quite a good time to do something which will show just how great and supportive the continent and it’s people are. I’d look forward to flying the flag of Europe on my travels.
3. Dance USA would be paused, not panned. Dancing through Europe would be the next leg in my ultimate dance around the world. All being well I’d slowly prance forth from Europe through the middle east, Asia, Australasia and then, one day, to the Americas where I’d pick up the baton where I left it in New Mexico – continuing on to New York before arriving back in my final destination of London.
4. Flexibility & cost. The relative closeness of Europe means that I can travel to start/finish points to pick up my prancing challenge wherever I’d last left it quickly and relatively easily… so instead of having to do one or two big chunks of dancing in the year during my holidays from my day job, I’d be better able to hop over more regularly, for longer, and get more dancing distance done. Plus it’s obviously cheaper to travel each time I need to pick up from where I left off.
5. It’s an excuse for a party. If this would well and truly kick off a dance around the world, then London would be my starting point and what better location than to begin with a dance out of the capital with all my friends and family invited? Plus I’d be much closer by if anyone from the UK fancied joining me over the channel for a bit of prancing freedom.
So bascially… I hope from the above that it’s clear the answer isn’t clear. And because of this I’m putting it to you to help me out and vote for the option you think I should go for in 2020. Please add your thoughts to this post by commenting below, and then vote for your choice. I’ll go with the one with most votes by midnight on 31st December 2019. Thanks in advance for your advice and votes!