by Fred Hatman

I’ve written innumerable pieces during my 30 years in journalism but I cannot recall encountering as much difficulty as I’m experiencing right now in collecting my thoughts to write this one.

I am having to come to terms with the fact that I have withdrawn from participating in The Freedom Revolution Unicycle Tour. This hurts. I've let the side down.

It is hurting me and it has hurt the three amazing people who entrusted me with the responsibility of supporting them as they take on the challenge of riding unicycles 2,500km off-road from Durban to Cape Town.

I have grown to be aware of my emotions and to be sensitised to how I am feeling. And I feel terrible. How much you want to read about how I am feeling, I don’t know.

You might prefer to simply be given the reasons as to why I am stepping out of what will be a phenomenal adventure, not only through the sometimes treacherous and always heart-soaringly magnificent hinterland of South Africa but an exploration of the human spirit and an enrichment of the soul.

Not to mention the beautiful intention of helping the Bobs For Good Foundation, a cause which I personally support and one that I suggested that Team CounterBalance endorse with this ride, to put shoes on the feet of disadvantaged children who have never known the dignity and pleasure of wearing them.

I know I cannot give you the full story. And, as a journalist, the withholding of any relevant facts feels like I am cheating you, a cop-out if you will.

But, as I am not in the business here of exposing the truth behind a breaking news story but rather revealing my own personal truth, please understand that this is painful.

Life has sent me other challenges in a short space of time. It does that to me. And I know it has a habit of doing that to all of us. Always with good reason. As we tend to discover after we have overcome those challenges.

Put succinctly, it has not been easy for me to earn an income from blogging, a “career” I carved out for myself after distancing myself from the world of newspapers. I have chosen to be a “lone blogger”, working off a verandah in my adopted village of Stanford, a special place.

I am trying to make this life choice a financially viable one and, due to circumstances suddenly thrust upon me, I am now almost homeless and I am certainly broke. I am solely responsible for this. And I need to fix it. There are also health and other personal issues that I need to resolve.

So it is with, quite accurately for me, indescribable sadness that I must stand back from this beautiful adventure and allow one very fortunate other person to take my place. I will watch the progress of Johnny, Donna and Alan with humungous pride and will do whatever I can to support their brave endeavour from afar.

I am sorry, guys. I am so, so sorry. Your journey will take you to places, both physically and spiritually, that don’t currently seem feasible. I have done something similar before.  I know that The Freedom Revolution Unicycle Tour will change your lives. And those of many unknown, unseen, unfortunate children who deserve to have their lives changed radically for the better.