Theo has been a writer and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from personal stories to social history to celebrity interviews. Starting as a music journalist, he has since written for the Evening Standard, the Big Issue, London Lite and other national and regional titles, as well as producing a radio show on alternative health.
A well-travelled, natural storyteller – his debut novel is almost finished – Theo has a great understanding of the many ways that lives can be lead, partly informed by his work as a Samaritans volunteer. In his spare time, he plays in a band, goes running and practices tai chi.
As a Story Terrace writer, Theo interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know him better: you can read an autobiographical story of his own below. Get in touch today to work with him!
How on earth did I get here?! Or rather, why was I no longer on the actual earth, and getting further away as the seconds flew by?
The instructor looked at me and smiled, as reassuringly as he could.
“OK Theo, are you ready?”
I mumbled in the affirmative, he rolled up the plastic side-door of the plane and asked me to shuffle forwards into position. It was time to jump…
It was only a few hours previously that I was sat on a bus, rolling past the undulating hills and babbling streams that framed this corner of New Zealand.
We had arrived in Wanaka, famous for its large lake, and the tour bus had pulled up outside a remote hostel, where the only signs of life were a few mountain birds circling above.
The passengers disembarked, a rag-tag collection of backpackers from all corners of the globe. Limbs were stretched, cigarettes rolled.
The bus was certainly a bit cramped, but what a time we had all been having. Travelling down the South Island’s West Coast, we had already hiked up a Glacier, walked through a forest lit up with glow-worms, and sung terrible karaoke in an outback bar.
It was the kind of adventure I had come for. Six months previously I had a choice to make. Use my redundancy for a deposit on a flat or go off and see a bit of the world. On the one hand, I was 28, and noticing how friends were already buying property, having babies, settling down. But on the other hand, I had never done much travelling, certainly not to the far-flung places that many of my peers had. After a week or two of indecision, I decided to take the leap, and bought a year-long round-the-world ticket.
Now I was about to take another leap, into nothing but thin air, with Lake Wanaka sparkling in the sun 9,000 feet below. Having been convinced to sign up for a tandem parachute jump during check-in at the hostel, I was now perched on the edge of a small plane, my legs swinging wildly in the wind.
Nothing can prepare you for that moment. The whole world is beneath you, a panoramic sight that you only ever see in pictures or on TV. It feels like an unnatural position to be in, but the instinct to retreat barely registers, because on the count of three you jump.
It was exhilarating, and I roared with delight during the freefall. After the parachute opened, we gently drifted down – how peaceful it is up there! – until a slightly bumpy landing.
Like the whole trip, it was a leap into the unknown. Sometimes, it’s amazing the heights you can reach with a little faith.