How one person opened up my future (dedicated to my first love)

I’ve never really spoken about today’s topic or mentioned the person involved.

When I met my first love at at the age of 21 (yes, I was a latecomer when it came to finding love), my volunteering was in full flow. I was volunteering for several organisations, I was loving life, and yet something was missing.


Something was missing, and I didn’t know what it was. My first love listened to me talk about my love for helping others a lot, and with her family coming from an education background, there was an instant spark. The spark saw us volunteer together, her family support a community event I helped organise, and one day…

“John, have you ever thought about writing a blog?”

My first love is the reason why John’s Road to Volunteering started and I have so much to thank her for. Without her mentioning blogging, John’s Road to Volunteering might not be here. I might not be living the life I now do, if she didn’t tell me about the opportunity I had to share my story.

When I started blogging, I had never used Twitter, I had no real experience in writing, and photography wasn’t a passion of mine. I was clueless how to blog! I didn’t even know what a blog was!

It didn’t stop me though. Step by step, as my awful first few pieces of content was produced, I realised I had a story to tell. A story, I never considered would be shared online, as I was happy doing what I was doing.


My first love and I no longer talk, and I’m not sure whether she still reads the blog, but if you’re ever thinking saying goodbye to someone you love is hard, imagine how I feel knowing that the one mention about blogging has not only helped me to open up about my life, but has also inspired 1000s around the world to take action. My story has just been shared to 200,000 people! Bonkers, I know!

I might be writing the content, and everything of course has improved since I first started, but I owe her so much. We might not be talking, but if I ever saw her, despite how bad the break-up was, I’d give her a hug.

I’d let her know how thankful I am to her and why our relationship might be one of the greatest memories I’ll ever have, knowing being with her was how/where John’s Road to Volunteering was created.

I was a confident guy in those days, but my confidence has excelled since John’s Road to Volunteering was created. She was with me when the first county sports group headhunted me to help them, and now I’m headhunted by charities all of the time, all over the world. The blog has given me a platform to deliver.

Just by opening my eyes to the story I had to tell, I’m now living a life I once thought was unattainable. I thought where I would be now would be a miracle, and yet here I am proving how one person can influence your life.


My passion for volunteering has increased since John’s Road to Volunteering started. I went from a local ambassador to a global ambassador for volunteering and John’s Road to Volunteering is the reason why. My first love is the reason why I’m living the dream. (OK, I know I’ve done the work since, but you get my point)

I really can’t put into words…(This is where I started to get emotional)

I got stuck for words at this point, as writing this post is bringing back memories to when we volunteered together. To when I was with somPleone who respected what I done for others, and helped me to find my path.

I’m not sure what would have happened if I never met her, but I’m so glad I did. I’m becoming a believer in things happen for a reason. Meeting her happened for a reason. Meeting her gave me a platform to share my story and to find out more about myself.


You have to remember that since blogging, I’ve shared stories about my life, I might not have ever told without the blog. It took me 12 years to share my childhood mental health story, and blogging was the reason I felt I was ready.


John’s Road to Volunteering might be run/produced by me, but she started it all off because of her. Just remember next time, someone suggests something, that maybe it’s the opportunity you’ve always waited for, but you’ll never truly know until you look back a few years later to see how grateful you are that the opportunity was there in the first place.


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