make no mistake, the first outing of team humble was a life crossroads moment for everyone involved.
what started out as a bit of a challenge on blab once night quickly turned into a full on fundraising mission to get myself and this new found group of people to new york city to help out at soup kitchens and in the process tick off a few items off the life bucket list in the process.
it was as per usual for some of the things in life that i've done 'a bit nuts' that's for sure. i sold my gopro and my dslr camera to bolster the funds and i'm still trying to sell my electric bike to pay the airbnb in the process. i'm not sure what happened but to make sure this went ahead i got rid of a lot of my digital assets to help it along.
this little week long trip however had all the hallmarks of an adventure with people i did'nt know or had only just recently (in life terms) met digitally and online. everything could go wrong, flights and transport could be missed and it could have generally fell apart along the way. except, that everything went so smooth i could barely believe it.
from the travel from england, meeting up with megan and chloe, grabbing our transport to heathrow and blasting through security in super fast fashion to landing in newark eight hours later and getting through their security in less than five minutes (i was in shock - travel sundays!) before we knew it we were face to face with the stateside collective and after packing the car (just) we were away.
airbnb was ok. warmth and security. we did totally gap that we could have hired out bikes for the week (total newbie fail there) for our trips around new york from around the corner instead of walking a good twenty minutes back and forth between the house and the bart station to get in the city. that started to seem like a real trek by the end of the week. we did some serious walking.
we managed to do two days of 'helping out' in the city with the first day being about four hours of prep and serve in harlem. everyone was really up for helping and i was tasked with william with cutting onions, i even suggested that i would do it. i was in tears for what seemed like hours.
the project has been going on for thirty years and the new york foodbank were so welcoming, their volunteering website was the best one we found and helped massively in getting us booked in and is something that is sorely missing in the uk.
i'm certain that more people would help if they could easily book themselves in, be given some information when they arrive, somewhere to put their bags and coats securely. it's a damn shame that i have to travel over the atlantic to help out when i've tried for over five years in my own country over the christmas period to help out at a similar soup kitchen.
if you ever needed to see where technology was helping it was certainly the booking system. we collectively fed 89 pensioner/senior citizens that day from the prep and serve, including a few of us actually serving the portions out. everyone really enjoyed doing their bit. the place in harlem was making over 350/600 meals a day.
the scale of the operation was impressive, the equipment they had and the kitchen was stocked with great equipment and they seemed to be getting a huge regular supply of varying food stuffs from donations, suppliers and businesses locally. i've never seen so many chocolate cookies donated in one space in all my life.
we also helped out with food distribution to varying family sizes later on in the week at a centre that was originally setup by nuns, we had to help them pick from a variety of items and we were asked to do crowd control too (super easy) and they even had a christmas meal at the end of the day to feed us all which was super lucky. they gave us gifts of hats and scarfs which was a total surprise!
overall i was left feeling that i could have spent more time helping out during that week, it felt good to try and put my own needs and wants and insecurity about my life direction to one side and actually just help, spend time helping and doing that giving back thing. spending time with fellow men and women and acknowledge the same issues we all go through.
it was a huge surprise to me about our own issues that our group went through during the week as well, we seemed to have the whole back catalog of potential situations and issues on display and everyone was at some kind of junction in their own lives. if you had been a fly on the wall you would have gotten the full spectrum of emotion that week.
overall thou and for as thought provoking, mental energy taxing as it was for me at times it was a good break, i had ticked off two major life footnotes by helping out and visiting coney island to the site where some parts of mr robot had been filmed and retraced the steps of that classic film the warriors in the process that i've loved for well over two decades.
so here i am back in the uk, new year looks promising and my crb check just came back with a green go light so i'm sorted for working as a consultant for charities in 2016. i'm left a little confused of how we make teamhumble better for the new year but i'm going to leave that open to the universe to call it.
after all, it got us this far right?
our trip would not have been possible if it was not for the mental, spirtual and money support of our digital extended family from blab and twitter throwing in support when we needed it. you guys were amazing, you helped us achieve something for the group that we will all never forget. because of that you made my christmas for 2016 and i thank you all very much for the support.