If you have arrived at this page via a link or search engine, you may want to read the About page first.
Why this project?
And so the big question, why start ‘Stories from the Wild?
Our good friend Ben Curtis summed it up better than I ever could on his website – BeingHappiness.com in the post “The Purpose Of Life”.
“Watch, or better, really see life unfold, pay attention to what’s going on around me (live in the present!), and enjoy it. Then help others enjoy it all too. Does it need to be any more complicated than that?”
I took from this ‘discover what you’re passionate about, do a lot of it, connect with others who share the same ideas’.
We were already some way there. We had relocated and lived in a great place. A fantastic location in Asturias – ‘Green Spain’ with the Picos de Europa mountains on our doorstep ready and waiting to pursue all our activities. It sounds ideal, and it undoubtedly has been.
On the flip side, even though we were situated with everything at our fingertips, in reality it was all but living for the weekends. Although regularly interrupted with long river walks in search of otters, we had somehow settled into a normal working routine.
There are 52 weekends in the year. When you factor in bad weather, social commitments, illness, busy peak holiday times – you can easily cut that in half. When discovering and making pictures of wild places is your passion, 20 or so weekends each year starts to get a little depressing.
The path to deciding
Circumstances. With the world economy struggling our online businesses took a hit. There has been a gradual downwards trend for the past 3 years. Other issues made it hard to imagine a significant improvement. More importantly we had lost enthusiasm to try and turn it around. It felt like we were treading water, waiting for something to happen, but more worryingly a growing feeling that we were ‘wasting our time’.
So, it seemed perversely that the ‘economic crisis’ had been a kind of gift, a time to reflect and look at alternatives. There was now less to lose.
There was also family and personal life to consider. We could clearly see change coming, more potential barriers ahead – it may be weeks, months or even take a few years, but it would happen. We had two choices; prepare and shape it to our advantage or let it run its course and except the outcome further down the line.
Could we afford to wait? Would we then be trapped? Is this the opportunity we shouldn’t miss.
The idea for ‘Stories from the Wild’ came easily to us. We already had been publishing our work at Wild Asturias.com, exploring the Picos de Europa and when we could further into Asturias.
What we needed was more time. Time to travel to all the places we wanted to see, time to take our skills to the next level and to learn new ones. And being mobile, living in a van, would give us the freedom we needed.
However, we felt a deep reluctance to leave Asturias – everything we wanted to achieve could be done right here. Now was the opportunity to banish any previous regrets or missed opportunities. So, Asturias and the north Spanish coast has become the first journey for Stories from the Wild. There will be places to re-visit to explore in more detail and other new places to be discovered.
Trying to start
We can remember discussing our ideas with a friend who visited in the summer 2 years ago. He was the first person we told about our plans. We knew his positivity and enthusiasm made him a safe pair of hands to share our ideas with. Plus, he is one of the few liked minded people we know. We would get a honest reaction.
As we explained further, the excitement grew. Then he urged us to a date, we were reluctant, so he did it for us – 18th May 2013 (Belinda’s birthday). The pressure on! So, 18th May 2013 passed us by. We were still living in the flat. Our plans were no further to becoming a reality.
And now there were others excuses – it would be high summer soon, we couldn’t possibly start the project then. Autumn and winter would be too cold. Okay, we would wait until next spring.
We were still waiting for the right moment and perfect conditions, a scenario that would never come. It had become a heavy burden, knowing it’s the right decision but you’re not following through. We were ready, but only on paper. We had failed.
So what really happened? Of course there were plenty of excuses, some real issues and some that still continue to be. But in hindsight, other ‘reasons’ ranged from the trivial to outright imagined. Some were revealing and others even depressing. We made a list. I even wrote about the major ones here, until it turned into a rant, so deleted them.
I’d like to say we analysed each point and worked to eliminate each obstacle or doubt, one by one. But we didn’t.
Despite all this we are now on the road and working hard on the project. We had somehow managed to begin. If we are truly honest this project has started by the skin of its teeth. Other factors that felt like a huge obstacles suddenly become workable. But in the end, the fear of passing another year without action would have been unthinkable.