22 Mar 2022 Promises to myself
The blackthorn foams with blossom again. Chiffchaffs have arrived, and creak their seesaw tune from trees that seem to tremble with rising sap. Spring is here – and I notice, with something approaching disappointment (but more likely just dull amazement), that it has been more than a year since I last blogged.
It has been an unusual year, though, and I’m in no mood to beat myself up. Since I wrote last March about confinement and illness, I’ve managed to start finding time for adventure and professional advancement. Looking at the months that have passed since my last post, I find reasons to feel happy about life (if not about my blogging).
Professional successes have arrived in the shape of commissions from adventure.com and The Great Outdoors for hiking stories. They’re both great titles, and I’m proud to have made my way into their pages – perhaps especially so in the case of TGO because it’s been my main target title for years. (Thank you to David Lintern for patience, and to Alex Roddie for encouragement.)
I know I have to work much harder, though. Two commissions is a poor crop, even allowing for the limitations on travel forced by the pandemic. I struggle with self-motivation, and know I could have achieved more if I had put in even a little more effort. I don’t want to look back on this post a year from now with the same regret.
Trees blossom. Birds sing. I write, and still I hike. 2021 saw me revisit Mosedale Cottage (a much-loved bothy in the Lake District, and the subject of my piece for TGO) and tackle the 100-mile South Downs Way footpath in Hampshire and Sussex. The South Downs Way seems to have been something of a turning point for me. I hiked the route in November, when winter’s short days saw me walk for many hours in darkness, following a path lit by the full moon. It gave me space and time to think about my life and what I want from it.
The answer is: more adventure. In the months since the hike I’ve been thinking about some promises I want to make to myself. I turn 40 in September. By then I intend to:
- Draft (and hopefully pitch) my first book;
- Devote at least part of one day a week to nature photography;
- Substantially rebalance my earnings in favour of writing and photography over video journalism; and
- Keep this blog up to date at least once a fortnight.
Assuming these promises work out (and there really isn’t any reason why they shouldn’t) I’ll set new promises to myself when I get back from Cape Wrath, setting out what I want to do over the six months to March 2023. By the time the blackthorn is in bloom again, I hope I’ll be writing about a full year of adventure.