Motivational speaking spurs Luke to be more self-aware it’s clear his family are solidly at the heart of his life and future aspirations. Travel is one of these, and Luke’s latest project is the overhaul of a van, turning it into a campervan so he can explore the world with his wife, Lisa, and children, Alfie, Aubrey and Ada. Spending time together as a family is important to him, but the project also serves another purpose – to support Luke’s own wellbeing. “With everything I do – the mental health work, suicide prevention, mindset development – as much as it’s all good, I felt like I needed something for me. After retiring from rugby, I didn’t have that outlet anymore.” This project has been a longterm dream for Luke, but was put on hold when his third child, daughter Ada, came along. However, while taking part in a gruelling Ultra Marathon (100 miles in two days) earlier this year, he travelled and slept in a camper van, and says the experience “gave [him] that little itch again”. “We’re in a world where we’re constantly bombarded with information, and I just want to get away from it all, and back to basics,” Luke says. “It’s hard to get this across on social media, but I constantly flit between roles in my life – and so the idea of just being able to stop and say, ‘I fancy going to the Lake District tonight,’ and getting in the van with my wife and kids is really appealing. Going off grid.” It’s understandable that Luke would need to create some unscheduled time and space for himself and his family within their life. With the diverse work he does, and the array of professional responsibilities he has, managing his own mental health needs is crucial. “Self-awareness is so important,” he explains. “I went through a weird patch recently. As a motivational speaker, I found I suddenly didn’t have a lot of motivation. I felt like I’d spent my whole life trying to prove people wrong – and I’d done that. Everything I said I was going to do, I did. I was left with the thought of: ‘Well, what’s next?’ “So I’m now working on balance – being a good dad, being a good charity chairman, and everything else – and I feel like I’ve found it.” Luke’s certainly not one to rest on his laurels though. “I’m constantly testing myself and challenging myself to be better,” he adds. “I think we all need to put in effort to be the best version of ourselves, rather than trying to beat someone else, then we’d all live better lives.” And he doesn’t believe this starts with looking inwards – he insists it’s about working inwards. The Ultra Marathon earlier this year, he says, helped him to do this. “Once you test yourself mentally, you know what you’re capable of. So doing that run and knowing I can come through that, it’s become an analogy for life for me. I know I can handle that – and any other curve ball life sends me. “It doesn’t mean I’ll find it easy – I didn’t find the run easy – but I know that I can get through the tough stuff.” To read more and find a club near you, visit andysmanclub.co.uk Follow Luke on Twitter @lukeambleruk and listen to him chat more on Happiful’s ‘I am. I have’ podcast.
THE PLASTIC REVOLUTION STARTS NOW Life in plastic is not so fantastic, and our ecosystem is paying the price. But you don’t need to let eco-anxiety weigh you down. Ecobricks is the initiative taking back control of the plastic we’re consuming by turning it into usable building bricks – and you can get involved... Writing | Kathryn Wheeler We’re in the midst of a plastic crisis. It’s dominated public conversation in recent years, and for good reason. According to the journal PLOS ONE, more than five trillion pieces of plastic can be found floating in our oceans, and by 2050 it’s predicted that every seabird species on the planet will be ingesting plastic. It’s catastrophic. But we don’t have to sit back and watch it happen. Each of us has the power to make a change in the world around us, and ecobricks is one such scheme that’s empowering us all to step up. WHAT’S AN ECOBRICK? Ecobricks are made from used plastic bottles, tightly packed with unrecyclable plastic. The bottles are then used in building projects, with the majority going to small home, community, and school creations – from furniture to the structures themselves. Both a way to take a hard look at our personal plastic habits, and to prevent plastic entering the ecosystem, this innovative scheme helps reclaim control of the plastic in our lives, and lay the foundations for a greener future. THE PROBLEM WITH PLASTIC We’re living in a time where we’re creating more waste than we know what to do with. Worldwide, we only recycle 9% of plastics. The rest – incinerated, or left in the sun or sea – break down, releasing toxins into our environment, and poisoning wildlife. Ultimately, we need to use less plastic. There are many ways to do this, and with more reusable products on the market, it’s never been easier to cut back. Unfortunately, that doesn’t address the plethora of plastic that already exists. >>>