‘So this is the bit where I get to tell you more about me, right? Now I will happily share random musings which may include my inner thoughts and feelings. But ask me to talk about Marie and that is an entirely different matter. But if you arrived at “She Is” then I guess that means you want to learn a little more about her. So here goes…
I live in the beautiful Cairngorm National Park in Scotland. Where summers and winters are quite spectacular. So pretty, even the red squirrel and roe deer can’t keep away. Today, as I write about “She” I am thinking about the heron who paid a call to our wee pond this morning – and promptly devoured a frog. I feel another story coming on. The Livet flows beneath us and Ben Rinnes looks upon us. I love my home – it’s simply a great place to create.
But I didn’t always love it.
I came from the North West of England originally. Born on the outskirts of Manchester. Raised and worked, always with a foot in either Lancashire, Cheshire or Yorkshire. I started my working life in Civil Engineering. Then I moved to Scotland in 2009. I had been developing my own events and wedding styling business for around four years prior. This was it. It was time to take a big leap of faith and make it my full time career. I remember that year so vividly. We had owned our place in Scotland for three years. It was always our plan to move here. I couldn’t wait! Then we were there. And I suddenly felt overwhelmingly home sick. Well work sick really. I missed the buzz of the office – politics and all. I didn’t think I could survive in this rural setting, working from home. Alone. Isolated. I wanted to pack it all up and run back to my real home. Except it wasn’t my home any more, it was already someone else’s. But I remember something someone said to me way back.
When big changes happen, you should give them time.
Time to allow yourself time to let go of the old and start to feel the new. And they were right. To stop myself regretting, I re-branded my business and started marketing hard. Moving to a whole new client base is like starting up all over again. All I had was my portfolio – an album of events I had dressed for 3-4 years in a region which wanted and “behaved” very differently to the one I now found myself trying to succeed in. But it quickly grew. Getting bigger and bigger by the year. From weddings in hotels and marquees to corporate events in an aircraft hangar. Yes, really….an aircraft hangar. Fast and furious some weeks and never a dull moment.
Life needs more impulse
Then in 2017 I took myself off to the Sahara to trek with nine women and a doctor. We took just over four days to cover 110 km. It was a challenging yet mindful experience – one which made me realise my life needed “more of this”. Events and weddings are great. But folk get married at weekends mostly. In spring, summer and autumn. Funny that isn’t it? Taking a holiday was stressful. I was totally consumed by my work and that left little space for me.
So I retired the business and vowed to make more time for adventure. I told everyone I was on a gap year. At 52.
Now did I mention I am a self confessed Africa addict? I first visited Kenya when I was 40. I was hooked. She wrapped her big African arms around me and that was it. She was already under my skin. I have since visited Tanzania and South Africa. We have had holidays. Shooting the wildlife with a camera. In 2018 I went volunteering in South Africa. A really rewarding experience and the first adventure of many I hope. I just can’t get enough of it.
I love to write.
But you already know that or you wouldn’t be reading this. I once woke in the middle of the night with the opening line of a novel. I had never written a novel, nor did I have any desire to. So perhaps it was telling me something. It is still there, part written. Maybe now I have more time, I will dust it off, who knows. Personal journal type blogs have been more my thing of late. The Sahara, Africa, walking, volunteering…so much has been written already.
Meanwhile I am happy to write anything. From blog to business procedure. Constitutions to regular social media activity. Formal or informal.
And that is pretty much me, Marie, who wordsmiths, in a nutshell.
Marie T Smith