Four years ago all eyes were focussed on London. Not just because of the British weather (it did rain during the height of summer) but because the largest sporting spectacle was in town. Britain came together as a nation to celebrate our sporting success. The jubilation and joy planted the seeds about the next Olympiad.
Fast forward to now and I am being asked by colleagues and friends ‘are you ready for Rio?’ Flights booked, accommodation booked, competition tickets booked, travel tour booked and chill out beach resort booked. My suitcase is packed (brimming), this is the first time I am visiting Brazil and looking forward to my extended visit there, so why am I not as excited as I was this time in 2012? I am still wondering how four years have flown by with what seems like a blink of an eye? I am a little hesitant about personal safety, London can be mean but there is something about ‘knowing your patch’ and also trusting in authorities to support you if you need it. In Brazil the crime rate increase and public unrest due to lack of promised public infrastructure from the expense of hosting the Olympic/Paralympic Games is evident. Will this affect my experience? I hope not, whilst cautious of these issues I’ve made provisions such as taking private transport (to combat the somewhat extreme journey times and personal safety issues). Keeping abreast of FCO travel advice has provided essential travel tips.
The closer my departure date, the closer the realisation that I am fulfilling a dream trip of travelling around a country that is on my bucket list. I am salivating at the thought of eating the local cuisines and exotic fruits. I am excited at spending quality time on secluded beaches and exploring the flora and fauna. I am jumping for joy at the prospect of samba dancing at the home of samba and I am proud that I will be supporting Team GB from the stands.
What does #ReadyforRio mean to me? I want to feel and embrace the culture Brazil has to offer. To hear the hustle and bustle, the sounds that make Rio vibrant and pulsating. to have first hand experience of new cultures, learn from them, entwine them in my life journey and share my experiences with my global neighbours.
This is no ordinary holiday, supporting your nation requires planning. Planning which competitions to see, planning travel and of course, planning what to wear. The power of the supporter (especially away from home) is immense and we have informal rules: Wear team colours, replica kit, wave flags, be heard (make as much noise as you can), be friendly, all supporters attend an event for the same reasons, share the joy and mingle amongst new and sometimes unexpected friends and have fun as a united collective. Don’t forget to paint your nails #GBProud