I’m currently writing this from the poolside of a fancy hotel in Qatar. I’m at the start of a fun-filled month of traveling (more on that below) starting with a 4 day layover in this fascinating – and VERY hot – country.
My friend and I have had a good time so far. Trying our hand at sand bashing (driving like a maniac over sand dunes), visiting the market and also going kayaking.
Later today we’ll be hitting the museums.
Did you know we are now at the halfway point for 2019?
I was reflecting on this yesterday as I drove through the vast desert. Looking back at the year so far. And thinking about what I want for the next 6 months. As I’ve been a bit quiet online recently, I thought it’d be a good opportunity for an update and to share what’s been going on.
The big move to Bristol
In February I made the move from nomadic to Bristolian. A base was long overdue and I was so ready to stay still for a while and to have a bed to call my own.
It’s definitely been an adjustment.
While the move to Bristol has been a smooth one – we found a wonderful house share, are enjoying exploring the city and have already made some great new friends – the change in lifestyle is going to take a bit of getting used to.
One of my reasons for wanting to settle was because I was missing having any structure in my day-to-day life and also having a social life. It’s surprisingly easy to ignore this when you are on the move distracted by ever-changing scenery and warm weather. But stuck in a new place, with few familiar faces and my first taste of winter in 3 years, there was no escaping the loneliness and burnout that had slowly been creeping into my life.
So the last few months I’ve felt tired, demotivated and down. And it feels important for me to share this as so many just see the glossy sides of my life.
With time though my energy has returned. I feel like my mood is changing and I’m settling into a new life in Bristol and starting to enjoy it.
It’s also allowed me to make the move to fully vegan which I feel really good about – it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while for environmental and ethical reasons.
(ps. people keep asking me ‘don’t you miss cheese?’ Yes, I did in the beginning. But I don’t anymore because the enjoyment I get from making a positive difference through my food choices far outweighs any enjoyment I ever got from eating cheese. Hard to believe but true!!)
I’ve got 3 really exciting (nerve-racking) projects ahead which have been keeping me busy.
In no particular order, they are….
#1 Blu-ee Fest
As you may already know, I am ridiculously passionate about ocean conservation. For some time I’ve wanted to find a positive outlet for that (rather than just dwelling on the hopelessness of it all), so when I met Jenny – an equally passionate conservationist – things moved fast.
In November we will be running an Ocean Conservation festival called Blu-ee Fest. A weekend for ocean lovers who are not scientists but who want to learn and do more for our ocean. You will learn about citizen science, how to study plankton, take part in a beach survey and hear inspiring talks on all things from setting up a conservation project to learning about whale behavior.
Plus there will be a ‘whale sound bathing room’…..need I say more?
If you have a love for the ocean then get your tickets now. You can use the code STARFISH to get £20 off (limited number only).
#2 UK Adventure Relay
Next spring I will be organising an adventure on an epic scale!! Over 2 months, hundreds of women from the Love Her Wild community will be coming together to hike the length of the UK from Lands End to John O’Groats.
That’s almost 2000km!
For me, this project is all about celebrating and inspiring women to get outdoors and to show just how accessible adventure is. I’m currently putting together the route and finalising plans with brands who are keen to support the project.
#3 Writing a book
This has been one of those ‘things I want to do’ that has been there from a child. But, finally, I decided to actually make it happen.
I’ve got a book structure (for an adventure memoir) and have put together a proposal. The next stage is to find a literary agent who is excited to represent me (I want to go the publishing route rather than self-publishing).
It’s an interesting process and unlike most of the other things I’ve done before requires a lot of patience – getting an agent and publishing is a sloooooow process. It also feels strange to be working on something that is very much out of my hands. Still, it’s fun to be doing something different and putting myself out of my comfort zone.
Good times ahead
One of the toughest things about moving to Bristol is getting used to paying UK rent. We knew that we still had lots of traveling planned this year but decided that having a base in between those travels outweighed the money we would be saving.
Although I’ve been doing lots of moving around for small trips – talks, festivals and running the writers retreat – I’m now really putting this into practice as I’m heading to Indonesia for over a month, stopping at Qatar along the way (where I’m at now)!
My main focus for this trip is getting my Divemaster qualification. With a bit of traveling, a diving Liveaboard and a surfing/yoga retreat thrown in.
It’s been a while since I’ve gone away not for the purpose of work (although technically the diving qualification is for work I’m going to enjoy it lots!) or leading an expedition. It feels great to not be responsible for a group and to go away with friends.
That’s not the only travels I’ve got to look forward to this year.
I’ll be off again in September leading an expedition in Japan. Following that, Gil and I will be heading to Tonga to swim with Humpback whales (**hyperventilating**) and then making the most of the layovers stopping at New Zealand and then Singapore (where we’ll overland into Malaysia) on the way home.
We’ll be away for 2 months in total – working remotely as we go – returning beginning of November.
Japan, Tonga, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia….I think this is the most exciting traveling I’ve ever done!
181 days left in the year
My focus for the rest of this year is simply to try and enjoy my travels (especially as the next stage of my conservation journey is reducing the number of flights I take!).
And to keep chipping away at my 3 projects to make them a success.
And to keep meditating using my Headspace app – regular meditation makes time slow down a bit and I really want to savor this!
How’s the next 181 days looking for you?