Endings and Beginnings

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Just before I went to Indonesia almost a year ago, after having to leave my flat in Edinburgh because my landlord was selling  (and I could barely afford the rent anyway), I had this idea that I could just buy a van and live in it and travel nomadically – writing, creating art, and volunteering on the way. Infact having a campervan was a dream I have had since I was pretty young, but in Bali it felt like anything was possible and so I planned, dreamt and set intentions for the way I wanted to live. Back home in the UK in the depths of winter it seemed like an overwhelming prospect and so I put the dream on hold in the back of my mind, but the seed had been sown.

This summer many synchronicities led me to feel that it was the right time to make some changes. I had felt a stagnancy for a while, both creatively and personally, and I needed to be moving forwards again.

Although I am endlessly grateful that I have been able to turn my passion into a career, mainly because it has given me so many opportunities, there have been too many times lately where I have been working so much that I have been losing the love I once felt for it. Being busy used to be something I aspired towards when I was first starting out in photography, but I have learned that for me it mostly just means a lot of stress and less time spent doing what I love like spending time with friends and family, being out in nature and making art just for the fun of it. I’ve never felt any desire to follow a set path in life, I’d rather just see where the wind takes me, and so in August I decided to finally start taking some risks. I bought a van to live in, and soon, once I have saved up a little money, my intention is to drastically cut down on commercial work (which will be easier without rent to pay) and be more free to focus on what is really important to me. Which is raising awareness and sharing positivity & hope through photography and writing, and also learning more about nature, permaculture and ways of healing the damage we have done to our planet. There are so many things I am passionate about and I am trying to create a space for myself where I can feel inspired and be free and not be trapped by a system that I don’t want to be a part of anymore.

I just wanted to share this, even though it is a bit rambling and incoherent, because I really appreciate all the support I have had from sharing my photography online over the past few years and I know I have been pretty terrible at keeping any social media or online stuff up to date lately. This is why, and hopefully soon I will have more time to do what inspires me and therefore have more to share. I have some work to do on the van over the winter but hopefully come springtime I’ll be on the road semi-permenantly. Right now I have no set plan, basically I have no idea what I’m doing(!), but this is exactly where I am supposed to be right now, I know that for sure.

Our lives on this little planet floating around in infinite space are so short in the timescale of the cosmos… I think we sometimes have to remind ourselves that we are the narrators of our own stories, we create our own realities, and if you are unsatisfied or unhappy with your life situation then you always have the power to change it. If you can’t change your outside circumstances then sometimes you have to change what is inside, but don’t ever let anyone or anything pressurize you into living a life that doesn’t fit you.

“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” Chris McCandless, Into the Wild

See you on the road 🙂

California

“On soft Spring nights I’ll stand in the yard under the stars – Something good will come out of all things yet – And it will be golden and eternal just like that – There’s no need to say another word.” – Jack Kerouac, Big Sur.

For a long time I have dreamt of visiting Big Sur. Having first heard of it in song lyrics as a child, and then later on in literature, I have always pictured it as place of incredible natural beauty where vagabonds, poets and artists would hideaway in the wilderness, untouched by Western ideals and at one with the ultimate inspiration – nature. In June I was in California to photograph a wedding, and I knew I had to find time to see this place. One of my best friends, Kara, lives in California, so we made a road trip with her family down the coast, through Monterey and Carmel and down to Big Sur. It’s hard to find words to describe the coastline here. The colours are unreal, the mist is soft but thick and unrelenting and makes you feel as though you are floating above the clouds, and the air is warm and smells like the ocean. We didn’t have that much time, so we didn’t make it all the way South, but someday I want to spend much much longer in this part of the world, I feel so inspired here. I also got to see the Redwoods at Big Sur, which has also been a dream for a long time. I really really love trees, and so seeing these majestic old trees (some of which are hundreds – even thousands of years old) was pretty special. I imagined all the things that they have seen in their lifetime, and thought about how amazing it is that a tiny seed holds all of the information needed to make a tree the size of a Redwood.

Before we left for Big Sur we took a walk down to the American River next to Kara’s in Sacramento and took some photos.

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Kara made friends with a duck!

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We then headed out on the road for the coast…

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McWay Falls, Big Sur

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On the way back from Big Sur, Kara’s family dropped us off in San Francisco and we spend a couple of nights here before I flew home. I’ve been to SF before but we were staying in a different neighbourhood this time and it had a totally different vibe. We booked a hostel without really knowing where we were staying, but it turned out to be in North Beach where the beatnik subculture originated, and where some of my favourite authors and poets hung out. Kara and I spent an afternoon in the Beat Museum which was full of snippets of the lives of Kerouac, Ginsberg and co, and we found a place called Peña Pachamama, a sweet little Bolivian restaurant with amazing raw and vegan food. At night we wandered through the streets, mesmerised by the bright lights and neon signs. I can see why creative people are drawn to San Francisco, the inspiration is almost tangible. Everything felt so alive, and the air felt laced with potential, like anything could happen here…

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