How it all started
I was born in a Scottish village called Busby, just outside Glasgow. My childhood memories were of playing with Banjo, our well-trained mixed collie, and racing my bike around the countryside with friends, pretending to be in ‘Fast and the Furious’.
I couldn’t remember not being active growing up. If I wasn’t on my bike, I was playing basketball in the garden, kicking around a ball in our local park, building ramps to jump off with my rollerblades, or going on adventures up the Black Rock — a pretty typical childhood for one of the kids from our estate.
My dream career back then was to work at Frankie & Benny’s, an American-Italian diner. I used to love going there as the waiters would humour all of the nonsense I’d spout as a kid. My mum had since convinced me to look a wee bit further in my career aspirations. I managed to pursue a career in PE teaching at uni and still worked at my favourite diner on the side.
The Shanghai scene
After studying sport at Stirling University, I decided to move to Shanghai for five months to get some teaching experience before coming back home to study for my PGCE. Well, that was plan…
Five years later, I am still in Shanghai. I’ve got my PGCE and I am working as Director of Sport at a British International School. My free time is now packed with football matches, ultimate frisbee practices, and the occasional runs in one of the few Shanghai parks that will allow my wee dog, Moose, in.
when i’m not in shanghai
I have been incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to do a lot of traveling — it is the other passion of mine alongside teaching. Shanghai has been a great base to allow me to see the world. For me, the best travel experiences are the ones that allow you to get a front seat to nature.
CYcling for Charity
There were two moments that stand out as being vital in the conception of my idea to cycle from Shanghai to Glasgow to raise funds for Achieve More! Scotland.
Not long after I arrived in Shanghai, I was at the local bike shop and got talking to a French guy who told me he had just completed a trip from Shanghai to Paris on a tandem — with his Dad! That first seed was planted when I realized that such a trip was actually possible. The second vital moment came when I was listening to Andy McLaren’s interview on the BBC Scottish Football Podcast. He had been discussing how some Scottish kids are unfortunately being priced out of the game.
While I love the students that I have been teaching sports to for the past five years, it’s no question that their lives and the opportunities they have to access sport and physical activity could not be further from the situation Andy was describing back in Glasgow. It was at this point that I decided to do whatever I can to help contribute to the good work being carried out by Achieve More! Scotland.
Reach out if you have any comments or questions about the journey, want to help out, or are interested in meeting up with me somewhere along the silk road.