I’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, I’ve decided to expand the scope of my writing to encompass other adventures. Here’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. I’m a goal-orientated person and I’d achieved the objective I had had in mind since I was seven years old – 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 didn’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. I’m still young but with a big birthday approaching in 2015, I’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 he’d watched, ‘The Bucket List’. I didn’t see the movie until some months later, but the concept had already struck a chord deep within me – a list of things to do before you die. It sounds pretty morbid but it’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, I’ve written a Bucket List! There’s nothing crazy on it; just stuff like buying a campervan, getting a book published, learning to kayak, ‘bagging’ a new Scottish island every year, etc. It certainly focuses the mind and hopefully I’m less likely to hit old age and realise I didn’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 ‘Scottish Hosteller’ magazine. On the train into Inverness I read an article by Renny Hutchison called ‘5-9 Fun’. 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 haven’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 it’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 ‘Julie and Julia’ 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. I’ll not spoil the story but it’s essentially about two women who took control of their lives, followed their dreams, made things happen, and wrote/blogged about it. I don’t have a specific single big idea like Julia Child or Julie Powell had, but I’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 I’ll have enough material for a book of my own.
So, with the Bucket List and mini adventures in mind, I’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 you’ll be inspired to read about my adventures (which will be accompanied by photographs!) as they unfold.