Hello, I have written a six minute short film script called Antonio which I’d like to share. It follows the lives of a normal family who purchase an ‘Antonio’ (a version of an Amazon Alexa), thinking it will be a useful household accessory, however, it is actually an evil robot that works to destroy their lives.
If you would like to read the script you can click on this link: Antonio Emily Cox to download it. I would be grateful for any feedback you would like to give.
That’s what my newly made friend Jayne Thompson told me as we ploughed through a muddy forest on bikes, the wind in our hair and puddles beneath our feet.
As we cycled, those words stuck with me. Because for the first time on one of my adventures, I didn’t have any idea where we were going or where our bed for the night would be.
We were wild camping – the act of sleeping somewhere untouched and rural, without toilets, showers or indeed a fee, which is technically illegal. However, it is mostly tolerated as long as you leave no trace, don’t light any open fires and aren’t really seen. It was my first-time experiencing this form of exploring, and the place I had chosen was perfectly suited to the task: the New Forest National park. Remote, beautiful and positively wild.
The idea of going wild camping popped into my head after seeing numerous posts from other outdoor enthusiasts in adventure Facebook groups. It just seemed so simple. Grab a tent or bivvy bag, make your way to somewhere wild and pick your own camping spot, (normally with some pretty rewarding views) all for free.
So I decided to do it. I posted on Facebook for advice and asked if anyone wanted to come with me, which is where I met Jayne. I ordered a tent, told my mortified mother, and later that week we were off.
Seems simple, right? Well on paper it was, but in reality it didn’t quite feel like that.
A couple of days before I started to get nervous. Everyone I told about my trip was looking at me as if I was crazy. ‘Why would you want to do that?’ ‘It’s not even the right time of year for camping!’ ‘Where are you going to sleep?’
I didn’t know, and their reactions were starting to put me off. They were making me doubt myself and my reasons for doing it, which is when I realised that wild camping, although growing in popularity, is still a relatively misunderstood concept. I wanted to go so I could feel a connection with nature, for some solitude and peace. I will admit as the date drew nearer doubts did manage to burrow their way into my mind a bit, especially when I was sat on the train, biting my lip and wondering what the hell I was actually doing, but I managed to be brave and ignore them.
Sometimes, you’ve just got to put yourself first and go.
Of course, as well as being nervous another feeling that coursed through my veins was excitement. Adrenaline. I was going on an adventure! I was going to be sleeping under the stars!
I got off of the train at Beaulieu Road station and met Jayne who I soon discovered was lovely as I imagined, and we cycled off from there. We had decided to make a day of it and go on a ride before we camped, which was not only fun but a great way of exhausting ourselves so we’d sleep well later.
Once out there, we didn’t follow a map, we just went whichever way we fancied, which felt great.
I struggled a bit to keep up with Jayne as I’ve only got a road bike, and we decided to leave the boring tarmac and instead ride along mud ridden trails and grass pathways, which was a bit of a struggle for my thin tyres. But I managed it, and it was all part of the challenge.
After a couple of hours, and unfortunate thing happened. The weather forecast defied what it’d told me earlier and it started to rain, which was a bit of a problem because I didn’t have my waterproof with me as I couldn’t find it, and I suddenly, those earlier doubts returned and felt quite silly and unprepared.
Getting wet meant getting cold, and the rain soon soaked into my skin. As we headed back towards Beaulieu along the road my legs were aching and I was starting to feel more and more anxious. Getting these clothes wet meant very little attire left for the night ahead, as I didn’t have room in my bag for much. However, once again nature put a fresh smile on my face.
Perhaps the best rainbow I’d ever seen appeared behind us, so huge that I couldn’t fit it all in one photograph.
Spurred on by the rainbow and the blue skies ahead of us, we cycled the rest of the way back in no time and stopped off at a pub to dry off and get a sandwich.
By that time it was getting dark so we left to find somewhere to camp, which may have been the most exciting bit of all as we had the whole forest to choose from! After a little cycle, we stumbled across an absolutely perfect looking tree a couple of hundred yards from the trail, with thick branches for cover and a fantastic circle of green beneath it.
We set up camp quickly and Jayne got out her stove so we could cook some soup before bed. It was only 7pm but by then the stars were already out and we both stood and marvelled at them for a while. I was shivering a little and I could see my breath coming out in clouds in front of me, but when your view is an unpolluted blanket of starry night sky I can tell you, you don’t care.
I got into my tent and Jayne got into her bivvy and we chatted for a few hours until we felt tired enough to sleep. It was then that I discovered my second problem of the trip.
My roll mat was broken, leaking so much air there was barely any point blowing it up. This meant that I was forced to sleep on the freezing ground (it was 2 degrees) instead of a layer of air, and I was really surprised at the huge difference that made. Every time I would feel myself start to drift off to sleep a shiver would run down my spine and I’d realise, ah, the mat’s flat again.
This did lead to a very uncomfortable and cold night’s sleep (I resulted in folding the mat in half at one point but still to little avail), which was a shame, but it by no means ruined it, and I know for next time to buy a proper durable roll mat to keep me off the ground.
That said, being awake did mean I heard a fair few animals: birds, geese, owls, and a large bark/growl that sounded as if it belonged to something big. I googled it and perhaps it was a wild boar or a just a regular pig, but whatever it was it gave me a bloody fright!
At about 7am, just when it felt like I’d finally got cosy and had stopped shivering; it was time to wake up and see the sunrise, and oh boy, I’m glad Jayne persuaded me to get out of bed so I didn’t miss it.
It was beautiful. The most stunning sight I’ve seen in a long time. Frost glistened on the ground beneath us, birds sung and chirped. It may sound cliche, but in that moment that view really did make everything worth it.
We sat for a while and had some tea and porridge for breakfast, the view just stunning. With the fresh air in our lungs and sun on our faces. One thought kept running through my mind. This is it. This is feeling alive. Isn’t that what we live for?
After breakfast, we sat and procrastinated packing up and leaving. Shortly after that a dog walker nearly caught me going to the toilet and I had to dash behind a bush! So after that we did finally pack up and get going, which I understand is common courtesy anyway with wild camping: you arrive late and leave early so you’re not seen by passers-by.
After a short ride back to the train station we parted ways and our adventure was over, but I’d definitely do it again in a heartbeat. Just those few hours of peace and that connection with nature were worth the nervousness and the cold. I think times like that are really valuable for everyone, but especially people like me who live in a built up, fast-paced areas where you can rarely switch off and find some peace. I needed that.
For next time, a few things I’d do differently is: buy a new roll mat for a start, but also find some gear that packs down small. The less weight the better, and one of the reasons I was cold was because I couldn’t fit as many clothes as I’d have liked into my bag.
So, coming back to what Jayne said: ‘You can’t get lost if you don’t have a destination.’ I would agree wholeheartedly. Being prepared, yet not knowing and not overplanning this adventure was half of the fun. We never would have found that beautiful tree and the peace that came with it if we’d booked into a campsite for the night.
If you’ve been thinking about going wild camping but haven’t quite made the leap yet, go. In my humble experience, it won’t all be perfect, but it’ll probably be pretty damn good.
Hello again, today I’d like to talk to you about a little experience I had the other morning.
I awoke early, got dressed and ready for my morning cycle, before pulling back my curtains and discovering it was tipping it down with rain. I’ll be honest with you, my first thought was:
‘Oh brilliant. That ruins that idea.’
But then, after a moment, my second thought was:
‘Or…maybe it won’t be so bad…?’
I stood there for a bit, looking out of my bedroom window, watching as the trees whooshed in the wind and the rain splattered in the puddles, and I thought to myself:
‘You know what? Nature isn’t going to stop me today. I’m doing really well with my diet and exercise so far and I won’t let this defeat me. All I need to do is get my raincoat and my earphones and be prepared to get soaking wet and cold. Who knows, it might just be…fun?’
Granted, it felt like I was pushing it a bit there, but I had to convince myself. And so, at 8.30am on a Monday morning when it was still basically dark and stormy outside. I left my apartment building and cycled down to the beach on my own.
I had a brilliant time. Whizzing along the empty beach with 80’s music blasting in my ears and the wind behind me, I felt happy and energised and just…alive, you know?
Isn’t that what we live for?
I stopped for a little break when I got to Hengistbury Head, which had always been my aim to get to since I moved to Bournemouth a while ago. I stood by the cliff for a few minutes and simply breathed in the sea air. I got cold quickly and was, as I had predicted, soaked to the skin, but that didn’t matter.
I’d done it, and I was having a great time in my own company, which is unusual for me.
After exploring a bit I headed back. I didn’t realise quite how much the wind had been blowing me along before so it was a bit of a struggle cycling straight into it, but it was ok. I went inland and just turned whichever way I felt like until I got back, all before 10am.
I didn’t really think of it at the time, but looking back that was my own mini adventure. No, I didn’t camp or endure any huge difficulties. I didn’t even travel that far from home for god’s sake. But I went somewhere new, pushed myself out of my comfort zone and had a great time. To me at least, that counts.
So, if you didn’t already know I am now at Bournemouth University studying Media Production. This term has gone very quickly and I’ve been fairly busy learning things so I haven’t had much time to update on here, but now I finally have something to show for myself.
As part of my Audio Production module at university, we have to create and record a five-minute audio piece, and obviously, me being the dramatic person I am, I have chosen to do a radio drama.
After posting a photo of the script on Instagram, a few of you said you would like to read it, so it here it is. We recorded in the studio today, and I’ll definitely share the final piece when it’s all edited and done.
Who knows, if enough of you like it, perhaps I’ll write a second episode and maybe even a whole series. The people in the photo are my new friends Maisy, Tom and Josh, and we had great fun today so I think I could probably persuade them to record more. We’re also planning to start our own radio show soon.
The destiny of a great adventure rested on the shoulders of three young girls, their names…
Over the summer myself and my two good friends decided to go on an adventure. The aim was to cycle nearly 300 miles in ten days across northern France, journeying to what we describe as ‘the Merlin castle’ and back, which is actually in a small town called Pierrefonds, where the BBC drama Merlin was filmed.
Now, I know this was not the bravest or most daring of adventures compared to some, but for us – our first trip together at barely 19 – it felt like a good start.
The plan was to cycle roughly 30 miles a day, camp overnight and carry all our stuff with us on the bikes in panniers which, although a squeeze at times – looking back I think we managed rather it successfully!
This is my account of our wonderful trip in photos, with occasional commentary along the way.
We woke very early, and were blessed with a kind parent who drove us all the way to New Haven, where we said our goodbyes and boarded the ferry: bikes, gear and everything in tow.
It was a clear, bright day, and although tired we were all in good spirits.
After our departure from the ferry, things seemed to get very real very fast. It’s not that we forgot that in France you had to ride on the other side of the road, of course we didn’t…
…it’s just that we went the wrong way around the first roundabout.
Ok, Ok. I own up to that one as I was leading, but at the start I think we all got a bit confused.
After that initial hiccup, we managed to make it to the first town (Dieppe) five minutes down the road before having to stop again. We were using a Garmin attached to my bike to navigate, and I must admit at the beginning I found it disorientating and confusing – until I realised how to use it.
Undeterred, we cycled on. But panic rose in my chest as I realised we were heading onto some pretty major roads, which were more like dual carriageways, in fact. As lorries screeched and sailed past – unnervingly beeping their horns? I think we all began to wonder: just what the hell have we let ourselves in for. Especially me, since I was the one who planned the route and there was no chance we could continue the whole trip on these types of roads.
Here we are just shortly after that scary experience: at our first pit stop, and all still relatively cheerful. I checked the Garmin and assured Carys and Ellie that that should’ve been the only major road for the time being. And thank god – I was right.
After a few more twists and turns we found ourselves heading along a long, flat cycle trail.
It was lovely, and exactly how I had planned it to be. Thank goodness – and the trail basically took us all the way to our first campsite.
It was beautiful. We saw in over the hill as we thundered down the cycle path and explored some roads until we found it. It was not clear if it was public, open, or you had to pay to look round it, and we didn’t have the communication skills to ask so we just walked right in and took a look around.
Satisfied with my arty photographs we carried on, and found ourselves at the first campsite Saint-Marie, in Neufchatel-en-Bray in no time.
We paid, put up our tent and set down to cook dinner – which was all fine until we realised we didn’t have anything nice to eat and I’d forgotten all the cutlery. Oh well. Weird tomato pasta with sweetcorn it was!
We woke up early in the morning and packed up – which was a surprisingly quick process and headed to the local town to buy some food before setting off on our next leg of the journey.
We hadn’t actually anticipated packing for the food we would buy, so improvisations had to be made – which definitely got us some odd looks along the way.
Our route that day sadly took us off the cycle path and back onto the roads, but thankfully they were nothing like the motorways we had experienced the day before. More like country lanes, we drifted along happy for many hours, stopping for lunch just outside a church in a quaint little village.
For a while, all was going well, until…
Disaster! Well, that’s an exaggeration but it was a problem. Not a puncture, but an issue with Ellie’s pannier delayed us for over an hour. We – well mostly Ellie actually – fixed it in the end, but by the time we got going again I think it’s fair to say we’d lost our adventure mojo a bit, it was getting late, and the campsite was still very far away. Plus I’d pulled some muscle in my ankle and it really started to hurt.
When we did finally get there (it was getting dark at this point), we rewarded ourselves for the hard day’s work with a rather awful meal at a frankly awful campsite just the other side of Beauvais – but it was ok. Exhausted, but still happy, we set up the tent and went straight to bed.
Day 3: Pierrefonds
This was one of the biggest and most exciting days. From supermarket shopping to relieving ourselves in a cornfield, to finally catching a glimpse of the famous castle, we cycled nearly 50 miles.
We got going pretty early, went shopping for food, and then set off. There weren’t any major dramas, apart from Ellie nearly falling off and skidding rather skillfully to a stop because her pannier got caught in her wheel, and my ankle really hurting. We cycled the 30 or so miles to where the first campsite was, but actually managed to make it there by midday, and it wasn’t very pretty, so we decided to be ambitious and carry on the extra 20 miles to Pierrefonds, and oh, what a good idea that was.
The route took us up and down many hills and deeper into a rather eerie forest as we approached the place we’d seen so many times on screen. As we whizzed down the final hill – the wind rushing past our ears – we finally got a glimpse of it.
It was magnificent, and every bit as beautiful and grand as it looked on the screen.
We couldn’t help but take a sneaky look around the grounds when we got there – fangirling shamelessly and taking photos. Even with the overcast skies, it looked gorgeous. But the real fun was to be had the next day when we would spend the entire day looking around the castle…
Day 4: The Castle
We got up early, still buzzing with excitement as although we’d already seen a bit of the grounds, now we got to go inside. The town was quaint, the weather was better, and we somehow managed to wrangle ourselves a student discount – all things that make for a good day. On the whole, it was pretty perfect.
Day 5: Pedalos and Crepes
Day five was spent, well, not doing a lot. As we had gained a day by going straight to Pierrefonds on day three, we decided to make the most of our time and rest. We slept in the morning, made a mess of cooking some chocolate for breakfast and then cycled into town with some boys we met at the campsite who were from Finland. After spending some time pedaloing around a lake (which was pretty fun), it started tipping it down with rain. So we retreated inside to eat crepes and get some well-needed cream for my ankle. All in all, another pretty nice day.
Day 6: Paris
Yup, on this day we did exactly what it looks like. We got the train and went to Paris and then walked around in the rain taking photos. The weather didn’t matter though, it still looked pretty cool. Once again we got crepes, and some souvenir postcards to take home.
Day 7/8/9: Travelling Home
The following days after Paris were pretty mellow. We cycled and cycled, our route taking us across wide flat plains and over a few hills, but we loved it. The weather was fairly good and we didn’t have any problems. We arrived in Dieppe, had a nice celebratory meal and then got back on the ferry.
I think the main thing I learned from this trip is how lucky I am to have such beautiful friends. There is no one else I’d rather share adventures and create memories with. They’re so good to me, and I really couldn’t be more grateful.
If drama was what you were looking for, this trip wasn’t the place to find it, we overcame every small problem we faced, achieved our goal, and overall had a really, really good time.
I did vlog this trip as well as take a million photos, so I will be editing that together and posting it on youtube sometime soon.
We’re thinking our next trip might be wild camping in Scotland or cycling in Holland so… no, this adventure has not come to an end. In fact, it’s only just beginning.
I’ve seen quite a few bloggers do this, specifically my friend Meg, (I’ve stolen your questions I hope that’s okay!) and I decided it might be a good idea for me too, since I’m relatively new to this and I think it’s only fair you know who you’re talking to. So, here we go. I hope you find this somewhat interesting…
1. Are you a morning or night person?
Well…I might actually have to say neither. I’m sort of in the middle. Is that normal? I like staying up late but only when I’m alone on my laptop, otherwise I just get really tired and irritable! Likewise, I like having a lie in some mornings but not too late otherwise I feel unproductive and like I’ve wasted the day. Do you see what I mean? I’m very versatile to be honest. I can do both.
2. Describe yourself in 5 words.
Creative. Driven. Interested. Honest. Resilient.
Sounds a bit arrogant, doesn’t it? Maybe if there was a sixth one I’d add emotional or something. Or bad at spelling… but shh! I’m trying to sell myself here. No one ever writes the bad things online, do they?
3. Any guilty pleasures?
If enjoying Will Young’s music counts as a guilty pleasure then…yes.
Joking aside, other than that, no not really. I’m not guilty about the things I do and like because I don’t really care what anyone else thinks of them, you know? If I enjoy it (and it’s not ridiculously weird) then I’m not ashamed of it. Unless you count spending my entire yesterday binge watching Peep Show. I suppose I am slightly ashamed of that.
4. Any tattoos or piercings?
No. I don’t know, they’re not really for me. I might get a tattoo someday, but I’m not too fussed. I struggle with the decision of what sandwich to buy for lunch let alone choosing a pattern that would permanently mark my body.
5. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Everywhere really, apart from all the generic boring tourist places like Ibiza (ooh I know – so unorthodox!). I’d like to see everything, from the busiest cities to the most remote jungles. I find countries that are the most different to my own (England) the most fascinating.
6. Summer or Winter?
This is a funny one because I can’t decide. This winter I was moaning about how fed up I was of the rain (I know, typical Brit) but then now it’s really hot I’m craving the days of scarves and hot chocolate. So I suppose neither. Autumn or spring are probably the nicest.
7. What is your favourite drink?
Gotta say chocolate milkshake, or maybe a Coke if it’s from a restaurant with ice (it just tastes so much nicer with ice, doesn’t it?)
8. What’s your go-to outfit?
Loose fitting jeans and a baggy jumper, there is no comfier, more content way to be.
9. Favourite blogs?
This is tricky because I don’t actually read that many. I suppose:
Meg (As I mentioned earlier) Has a blog similar to mine but a bit more personal with interesting bits and bobs from her life. Lifestyle, beauty and travel.
Tiffani A bit like Meg, Tiffani is quite personal on her blog and it’s lovely. There are lots of pieces really, book reviews, articles, opinion columns, poetry…oh and Lush products. If you like them then that’s the place to go.
Carys Is one of my closest friends who has her travel/adventure blog. The place to go for amazing photographs and inspiring stories.
Olivia Another brilliant travel blog, all about adventure and saying yes. Again another friend – I was there when she started it!
Jasper Is an incredible filmmaker and blogger and photographer and writer and just ugh, everything. Jasper is really cool and it makes me jealous, jokes. But also not please share some of your skills with me. (I know Jasper in real life too, it’s fine, he will get this.)
10. Can you cook?
Ahahaha, no. University is going to be a laugh. I can do toast, pasta and soup and anything else that is basically really easy. But that’s about it. I could do it if I made an effort and followed the instructions – but who has time for that? I tend to just chuck it all in the pan.
13. Are you a tidy or messy person?
Definitely a messy person. I wish I wasn’t, really. But I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s just part of who I am. My bedroom is a mess. I always get crumbs on the table, occasionally spill soup in my car… that sort of thing. (The soup incident did actually happen.) It’s not attractive really, is it?
I don’t think I’m annoyingly messy, though. I’ll always clear up after myself and I do tidy my room at least once a week. And I never let anything get messy or lost if it’s important, like work or study.
13. What are the small things that make your day better?
Texts from people I love. Photos of cute animals. A nice news story. Writing on my phone. Messages from friends on Instagram. Comedy on the radio. The feel of a warm cup of tea in my hands. Gripping the steering wheel as I turn a corner. Taking photos. Fresh air. My cat rubbing against my legs. Chewing gum. Books on the train. Music. Laughter.
All that lovely stuff.
14. Are you always early or late?
Traditionally I’ve always been a late person because my family are very disorganised. But in the last year I’ve had a lot more control over my life and how I travel (I got a car) and I’m not late anymore. Definitely not for anything important at least. 15. What was the last film you saw?
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.
Not like that was predictable or anything.
16. Biggest fear?
I guess dying or becoming seriously ill because then I’d lose everything I have, and never be able to do all the things I’ve always wanted to do. Being denied the chance to have a good career or have a family would be pretty devastating.
17. What did you do for your last birthday?
Travelled to France with my family. Pretty dull to be honest.
18. Do you believe in love at first sight?
Definitely not. I believe in finding someone attractive and having an emotional connection, but love? No. That comes afterwards.
19. Favourite film?
It has to be Skyfall, from the James Bond movies. I won’t say too much about why because I’m already writing a post on all my favourite films and we wouldn’t want to spoil that, would we?
Finally, thank you.
Thank you so much for reading this. I’m both surprised and grateful. It’s not the kind of post I would normally write but for once I felt like it, and it was a lot of fun.
On that note, I just want to say a proper thank you to anyone who has read my writing because I’ve really enjoyed blogging properly these last few months. It’s been fun, and my words have been far better received than I ever expected them to be. It feels very nice, thank you, and it inspires me to keep going every time I read an encouraging comment or see a hit on my page.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me on social media (Twitter, Instagram), if you ever want to chat about any of the posts I’ve written or topics I’ve talked about. I’d love to hear from you and I’m always open to making new friends.
Have you ever been stood at a party or someone’s house, staring into the eyes of a ‘friend’ who just insulted you or made a rude joke at your expense, and thought to yourself: why am I here?
Throughout secondary school I made some new friends. Funnily enough, people actually warned me not to be friends with them before I even was, but I still got close anyway. You know, being all lonely and insecure like I think most teenagers are when they’re twelve.
Time moved on, and I’m not going lie, we had a great few years – and I’m not salty about that. I will always treasure those memories. But a couple weeks ago the relationship finally turned sour, which I think a part of me had always expected really, considering the type of people they were.
It doesn’t mean there wasn’t some degree of hurt, though.
I’m not going to delve into the details, obviously. But it didn’t end well. When I saw they’d been deliberately malicious (again), I took a deep breath and did what I’d been meaning to do for months: wipe them from my life. This meant unfriending them on social media and leaving some Facebook group chats. It meant taking down the old photos on my wall and resisting the urge to tear them up. It meant moving on, for good.
And there’s no going back.
Now, this may sound like an immature move from me, but actually I don’t think it was. It wasn’t a rash decision, I took weeks and weeks to think about it, and I decided I wasn’t gaining anything from their presence in my life anyway.
It had become a toxic friendship that mainly left me feeling sad and unhappy; and that is not one I wish to partake in any longer.
So on that day, after a few surprisingly easy clicks, they were gone. Poof. And I definitely feel better for it.
The reason I think it’s important to talk about this is because I’ve just experienced a fairly normal situation in life, and some of you may encounter it too. A particular Tumblr post I spotted the other day (created by the online counselling college) is worth mentioning here. My old friends literally ticked every box. Every. Single. One. So here are a few questions that you could apply to your own situation – if you ever find yourself struggling with this problem.
When feeling unhappy in a friendship/relationship, ask yourself:
1. What am I getting from this relationship? Is this person there for me when I need them most? Do they build me up and bring out the best in me?
2. Is this friendship draining, or is it mainly negative? Do I feel like I’m being used? Are things always about them?
3. Can I be genuine and real – and just myself – with this person? How are they likely to react if I share my honest thoughts?
4. Do they care about my feelings, my views and opinions? Or do they treat my like an object whose feelings don’t count?
5. Am I putting up with things because it’s started to feel normal? Am I scared that no one else would want to be my friend?
In my view, having no friends is better than clinging onto people who don’t treat you right. You’ve got to let go sometimes. People change and go in different directions. That’s fine. It’s okay to drift apart. It’s also okay to realise you’re not happy anymore and do something about it. That’s life. People move on. They will say horrible things sometimes. They will turn into people you thought they weren’t. They’ll surprise you. But their words don’t define you and your actions.
It’s fine to say you’ve had enough.
I hope, in my own humble experience, that I’ve been able to relate to some of you. I think this happens to everyone at some point, and it really can be a big deal, so let’s not be afraid to talk about it.
For me this is certainly a change, and hopefully a step in a new direction. I will never forget those friends, but I will never regret my decision either.