Blogging. Where did it all begin? It was 2009. We had finally moved to the home we had planned to make our own for over three years. I had left a busy, fulfilling office job, got in my car, and driven over 400 miles to a cottage in the country. A cottage I had been desperate to live in full time. No more snatched weekends. Full time, a new life, without daily motorway commutes.
There was much to do. Lots to keep me busy. Painting and decorating. Extensions. A new kitchen. I wasn’t worried about finding work.
I remember sitting on the hall floor, painting the skirting board, going through the motions, trying to hold my emotions in. This wasn’t how it was meant to be. I loved this place. And hated it. All in the same breath. I needed to do something. I wasn’t ready to retire.
The next few weeks and months were game changers. I needed to kick myself up the backside fast or this was all about to come tumbling down.
So I started blogging. Nothing too deep. Just somewhere to write about this new life. The place we now called home. In the hope I would begin to love it.
I had just four followers. Not surprising really as I was too scared to make it public. Only those with the link could actually see it. And one of those followers was me.
Times have changed
Indeed. Now I don’t need an excuse to write. Three and half years ago I embarked upon a charity challenge. I had signed up to trek the Sahara for a Women’s Aid charity. Then the reality hit home. I needed to train. But am not especially active. Not sporty. Walking for walking’s sake doesn’t float my boat, so to speak. I needed a purpose. Something more than simply increasing my stamina.
Now writing – that ticks the box. But blogging about walking? How was that going to work? Easy – just set yourself a target (one million boot steps) and then blog about every, often painful, one of them.
Blogging became my “go to”. My motivation. When I really didn’t feel like crawling out of my bed at 7:00 am on a Sunday morning, I would just think “steps equals words”. The blog is still out there. I won’t ever take it down. It is just too important to me. I was not in a great place mentally at the start of the venture. I was in danger of giving up before I had even got going. This was a game changer. One Million Boot Steps is where you will find it.
Bush Hearts and Minds
Out of that journey came a new experience. I took a couple of weeks in South Africa with my Sahara tent mate, and now good friend, Rosie. Teaching youngsters and tending orphaned wildlife at a place called Daktari.
We funded the trip ourselves, but raised lots of awareness – and two holdalls full of essential items to take and donate. We made a journal of the experience through yet another blog called Bush Hearts and Minds.
And finally it came to this
I came home and was now facing a potential dip in my mental health. I had retired a wedding and event business – a business which had become my crutch, and kept my mind busy since moving up to Glenlivet.
Now I am free to do whatever I want – as the song goes.
But I will never forget just how low I was back in 2009, 2010. With so much free time, I didn’t want to go back to that place. Yet I couldn’t get my head around what I “was” now. Who I was. With no business label to associate myself with, I needed something which would keep me busy.
So many people had said “you should write”. I guess I just didn’t really believe in myself. I don’t think I have a book inside me – at least not yet. But I do have so many experiences which have yet to be shared. And blogging is a great way to release those thoughts. An insight into the person perhaps? Or simply great stories. And that’s where I am today. Just beginning to plot a route through and tell stories which folk will enjoy.