Iâ€™ve been writing about my photography experiences (somewhat erratically) since I built my first website back in 2009. With the launch of my new blog here on WordPress, Iâ€™ve decided to expand the scope of my writing to encompass other adventures. Hereâ€™s the background.
I re-located from Edinburgh to the Black Isle in 2013 and experienced one of the biggest changes of my life. Whilst it was exciting to buy a house and move to the Highlands, it was also really traumatic to turn my world upside down. Starting a new chapter in my life was a huge challenge.
Initially the new lifestyle fell short of my expectations. I felt like a fish out of water in my new surroundings. For months, I spent my spare time decorating, building furniture, haemorrhaging money in DIY and home furnishing stores, and working my way through the mountain of boxes in my spare room. I returned to Edinburgh with work once a fortnight and re-opened a deep wound each time. I was overcome with homesickness for the city which had been home for the whole of my adult life, until now.
I started to ask myself some pretty serious questions. I felt as though my whole life had been leading to this point. At school I gained the qualifications I needed for university. At university I gained the qualifications I needed for my career. When I started my career, I worked towards promotion with a view to one day re-locating further north. Iâ€™m a goal-orientated person and Iâ€™d achieved the objective I had had in mind since I was seven years old â€“ moving to the Highlands. What was my purpose in life now?
Christmas arrived and with it, a month away from Edinburgh. I was tired of being miserable. I didnâ€™t want to be the kind of person who was never satisfied with their lot. With 2014 fast approaching, I decided it was time for a change. I set myself some new goals. I was going to enjoy every single day. I was going to do something for myself every single day, no matter how small. I was also going to make some plans for the next decade. Iâ€™m still young but with a big birthday approaching in 2015, Iâ€™m more aware than ever before just how precious my time is. Fortunately I stumbled across some inspiration along the way…
In July 2013, my brother told me about a film heâ€™d watched, â€˜The Bucket Listâ€™. I didnâ€™t see the movie until some months later, but the concept had already struck a chord deep within me â€“ a list of things to do before you die. It sounds pretty morbid but itâ€™s actually about living life to the full. We can get so wrapped up in the demands of day-to-day life that we can lose sight of the things we really want to achieve. So, Iâ€™ve written a Bucket List! Thereâ€™s nothing crazy on it; just stuff like buying a campervan, getting a book published, learning to kayak, â€˜baggingâ€™ a new Scottish island every year, etc. It certainly focuses the mind and hopefully Iâ€™m less likely to hit old age and realise I didnâ€™t achieve my goals.
A few months ago, I joined the Scottish Youth Hostels Association (SYHA) (as a life member!) and received my first copy of the â€˜Scottish Hostellerâ€™ magazine. On the train into Inverness I read an article by Renny Hutchison called â€˜5-9 Funâ€™. It really inspired me. 5-9 is the idea of having a mid-week mini adventure; the antithesis of the 9-5 lifestyle to which most people are accustomed. In his adventure, Renny Hutchison cycled to Loch Lomond after work, climbed a Munro, stayed in a hostel, and was back at his desk for 9:00 the next morning. I havenâ€™t done anything remotely as impressive as this yet, but I do make sure that once the commute, dinner and housework are out of the way, I do something for myself, no matter how small, even if itâ€™s only processing a photograph, or going for a short walk or cycle run. Gone are the days of coming home from work and falling asleep in front of the TV.
I first watched the film â€˜Julie and Juliaâ€™ in the days leading up to moving house. I unearthed the DVD from a box a year later and it has rapidly become one of my favourite films. Iâ€™ll not spoil the story but itâ€™s essentially about two women who took control of their lives, followed their dreams, made things happen, and wrote/blogged about it. I donâ€™t have a specific single big idea like Julia Child or Julie Powell had, but Iâ€™m focused on outdoor photography, adventures, doing something for myself every day, blogging about it here, and writing about it in my diary every night. If I keep going for long enough, maybe Iâ€™ll have enough material for a book of my own.
So, with the Bucket List and mini adventures in mind, Iâ€™ve booked myself a place on a tower top trip of the Forth Road Bridge and am planning on walking the Fife Coastal Path (all 117 miles) in September. There isn’t a photograph to accompany this post, but hopefully youâ€™ll be inspired to read about my adventures (which will be accompanied by photographs!) as they unfold.