As I sit here pondering over events from the last month, I realise just how much my life has changed in the past 5 years. In 2009 Ian and I took a month out to reconnect and basically just be. We hadn’t planned it in that sense, it just kind of…..happened. We’d been saving up for ages without any real thought as to what we were saving up for, then one day as I was checking my emails I noticed a recent offer from Netflights. Instead of deleting it like I normally would I opened it; two for one on business class flights with Emirates to Australia. Holy shit batman; it was a sign. I went to find Ian and asked him what we were saving up for; he didn’t know and neither did I. He picked up the phone and called Netflights to enquire; dates, prices, everything. As I sat on the floor looking up at him with my best Puss in Boots eyes, he scribbled down some figures; inside my head I was pleading with him to book the tickets. He got off the phone and we spent about an hour talking it through with me telling him to get back on the phone and book the tickets. Time was running out – the offer was limited and due to end. Eventually he got back on the phone and booked the tickets. Crikey. We were going to Australia. The flights were booked in June and by November we were making our way to the other side of the world. I’d never been giddier; we had over a month of adventure planned in Australia and New Zealand.
This trip was significant for multiple reasons. Firstly, it gave us the opportunity to slow down; it provided us with the space we needed to refocus and re-evaluate many aspects of our life. For me personally, it gave me the chance to visit friends that I hadn’t seen for a really long time. My friend Kaz had moved out to Australia with her family when she was 16; although we’d kept in touch over the years we hadn’t seen other since our school days. When we headed to New Zealand it gave me the opportunity to see my other friend, Andy; he’d moved out there 7 years earlier after marrying a Kiwi. Funnily enough, he now lives in Australia too. Having friends over there gave us the chance to see more than we would have done just travelling; it gave us an insight into what life was actually like in both countries. It was so different from over here – everything was much more relaxed and moved at a slower pace.
Our trip also gave me my current career. Although I’d dipped in and out of photography many times over the years, I’d never really seen it as anything other than a hobby – it was just something I kept on going back to and experimenting with a little more each time. But once we’d booked the tickets I decided to treat myself to a decent camera, a lens and a lightweight travel tripod. Determined to know how everything on the camera worked, I read the manual from cover to cover on the flights over. When we arrived it was a matter of practise, practise, practise, and I did; my camera never left my side. It still doesn’t. Australia was where I first started to get to grips with photography and when I returned to the UK I jumped in with both feet and decided to make photography my full time profession. I went on a course that provided me with tools on how to run a business and gave me access to a group of people I could turn to in times of desperation. I was also lucky that my best friend knew a wedding photographer so this gave me the opportunity to get some hands on experience. Don’t get me wrong – things aren’t perfect, by any means; being self-employed can be a long lonely slog and every month I still contemplate going out and getting a real job. But if it wasn’t for Australia and New Zealand I would never have decided to take the chance and do what I do. Taking that time out gave me some much needed space to clear my head and look at the bigger picture.
Whilst visiting Kaz, Ian and I announced that we were going to return home and sell up. It was all so easy while we were out there – we didn’t have a care in the world. We were going to sell up, re-train and then travel, but after both of us going self-employed in the space of a year things didn’t work out that way – which brings me back to my pondering. The last few years have been tough and we’ve ridden a pretty big rollercoaster, but luckily we’re slowly climbing out of the dark and heading towards the light. So even though the last 5 years hasn’t been the right time to sell up and move on, we’ve decided that perhaps now is the time to push forward and start making some changes.
In the past month things have been moving pretty fast and the things that we’ve been procrastinating on for so long are now starting to get done. We don’t have any definite plans right at this moment in time, apart from the fact that the house will be ready to sell by April next year. We have a few ideas, but I’m not quite ready to share them yet – dreams are scary, no? The big thing is we’re moving forward and for the first time in a long time I’m so freakin’ excited about the future.