Last week’s post was UBER chunky so I’ve pared it back this week and I’m throwing out a simple letter that formed part of my monthly dispatches for my email list and Patreon subscribers.
Content warning: I chat about grief.
I’ve found this month to be really tough. In fact, May is the worst month for me because it’s a) my dad’s birthday and b) the anniversary of his death. I mean, he was nothing if not efficient I guess so…
But more than the annual foreboding sense I always feel coming into dead dad month (DDM for short) it’s been tricky on a few, less dramatic fronts.
It’s been a weird work month, with no course launch and minimal ‘big’ projects. Just a quiet ticking over of ‘passive’ income, which is what I always wanted but in reality can feel a little unnerving. When you aren’t ‘hustling’ hard, working all the hours or chasing invoices it almost feels like you haven’t earned it. Or something equally ridiculous.
I’ve worked less hours than EVER and earned the same amount. Some of this is because my overheads (aka nursery, and Teachable fees) went down. And some is due to the fact I’ve simply worked out how what works for me.
I have an analytical brain and my background is retail. In fact, my job description was this:
“Merchandisers ensure that products appear in the right store, or on a website, at the appropriate time and in the correct quantities. This involves working closely with the buying teams to accurately forecast trends, plan stock levels and monitor performance.”
Monitoring profit and managing budgets was my job for YEARS so it’s little wonder I’m obsessed by the profit margins of my own business.
I knew, in my gut, that freelance writing gave me the worst ROI but critically examining my income over the past six months (using Free Agent, btdubs) solidified that thought. I now pitch rarely…..and spend my time doing the things that bring me joy AND profit without sacrificing family time/my sanity.
Leaning into ease and walking the path of least resistance has been incredibly freeing for me. It’s infected other aspects of my work life too, and I no longer worry about sticking to a social media schedule preferring to post when I feel like it and focus my promotional efforts on Pinterest and email marketing instead.
And in my personal life, that looks like not feeling tied to a gazillion WhatsApp’ and Instagram groups and saying a firm no to those obligatory meetups you suffer through.
Life’s too short.
I don’t really know what the point of this diatribe was except to perhaps empower you to say no to the things that no longer serve you enough.
Choosing the path of least resistance can be pretty magical.
What are you struggling with right now? Is there an ‘easy’ path you are resisting?
Urgh. Anxiety. So much has been talked about it I imagine you probably didn’t blink when you saw the title of this post. I get it, every celebrity seems to be chatting about their mental health and it’s covered in oh so many magazines too. That’s a good thing, a really good thing. But I understand why people now probably don’t totally understand how hard life can be living with a mental illness.
Shall I tell you a secret? I wrote this post about six weeks ago and I was SO proud of it. I declared it a ‘brilliant writing day’ as I wrote two posts that day and I was as smug as if I’d penned a best-selling novel.
Squarespace lost them. LOST BOTH POSTS. I cried, then promptly moved back to WordPress before breathing a sigh of relief. But I couldn’t face re-writing such a perfect post so that’s why it’s taken me over a month to put digit to keyboard and tap it out once more.
But here goes……because in all the questions I get asked, this one is VERY high on the list. Why I left London and moved to Brighton despite the fact I know approximately three people who live here.
In the two months, I’ve been living in Brighton what always surprises me is not how quickly I’ve adjusted, but how little adjustment was necessary. And I’m still waiting for the FOMO to hit every time I’m invited to something in London, something that would have taken me twenty minutes to get to once upon a time but would now (god-willing) take approx 3 million years on a stuffed train packed with cross commuters.
Obviously, that’s a huge exaggeration but Southern rail isn’t known for its efficiency and although I am really close to London and have a direct train in easy reach, it’s still quite the faff to travel up and down to the Big Smoke so I’m rarely in a rush to do so.
Even if I wanted to. Which, realistically, I very rarely do.
Tired of London, tired of life
Because the truth is, I don’t. I spent my entire adult life in London, not really knowing how to be an adult outside of the hustle and bustle of a capital city. I know nothing of renting somewhere where you might pay less than 1000 per calendar month to share with 17 Australians and I don’t know how I’d cope if my nearest shop was a twenty-minute drive from my house. In fact, until now, I can’t remember the last time I lived in a house. Before I lived in London I guess!
I’m used to not worrying about travel times and train timetables. I lived in zone two the majority of my time in London so it was twenty minutes from anywhere I wanted to get to anyway. I had a nice little community, cool cafes and Oli and I went to our fave pub regularly. There were nice spots for me and Anaïs to go and everything felt quite…..safe? Convenient? I dunno. Maybe boring?
Yep. Boring. I was SO BORED.
London is lively and exciting and busy and, YES, ‘the Queen lives here!’ But did I enjoy living in a city home to over 8 million people, most of whom I didn’t know, care about or want to cross paths with?
I guess I did once upon a time. But after taking a big break from London life when Oli and I travelled long-term my priorities changed. I no longer craved nights out each week or going to new pop-up restaurants that I had to queue for because booking is passé.
Left my soul there, down by the sea…..
Anyone who knows me knows I love being by the sea. Not on top of the sea so much….because I hate boats. But under the sea for sure. And definitely strolling by the sea too.
I always knew I’d move my family back to the seaside because that’s where I grew up too. But I didn’t want to go back ‘home’ to Kent and longed for more of a city vibe (sorry, ‘vibe’…. really Lucy?)
I spent many a Saturday down in Brighton in my youth, and a few with Oli too. But I wouldn’t say I knew it well at all. So I can totally understand why people thought it was a snap, rash decision to up sticks and move further away from our family to a place we’d never lived before.
But I don’t really care what people think, do I?
In lieu of a real reason, I can offer you this: It just felt right.
That’s all! I go with my gut on most decisions and this was no different. It just felt really right.
Was I scared of not having a Pret on every corner? Or of being away from a gazillion tube lines? Nope.
Scared of missing out? Yeah, a bit.
Worried I’d become irrelevant at work and never be invited to another blogging party again? I mean…..after having a baby I was pretty much kicked out of the travel blogging community I was in anyway, so…nope, not really.
If you’re thinking about leaving London and moving somewhere else know this; when the time is right you WILL know. And you’ll never regret it because guess what? Living in my dream house by the sea trumps anything else London could ever offer me.
For a while, I forgot I was a travel blogger. Because I’ve long been someone with a huge amount of self-doubt and contrariness bordering on apathy for blogging.
But after a weekend spent at Traverse Rotterdam, amongst peers and newbie bloggers something clicked. When Elle Croft reminded me how to write she lit a fire in my belly and a hankering to start blogging about travel again. She reminded me that travel writing is about storytelling as much as it is about helping others to plan their trip. It’s about creating a ‘vibe’, a wanderlust in someone as much as it the practical nitty-gritty of where to stay and what to do when you’re there.
Travel blogger or journalist?
After years of travel blogging (five, to be precise!) I hit a wall. I’ve changed my blog name, I’ve lamented why I only rank well for a few posts and why my traffic is confined to a few Google-search worthy itinerary posts. I exclaimed time and time again “I hate writing about travel” and proclaimed I don’t do press trips as a blogger.
I started to exhaust myself with my own lame excuses as to why I only write about travel in my capacity as a journalist. And, to be totally honest, I very rarely do that anymore (although watch this space for a pretty cool commission soon…..)
Yep, my life has changed massively since having Anaïs. Travel is harder and I can’t jump on press trips whenever invited. Which, as a blogger, is rarely if at all. So it follows I mustn’t be a travel blogger anymore right?
Hmmmm. Or is it that I’ve put very clear vibes out to the universe I don’t want to be offered these opportunities? And did the universe listen?
Breaking the rules
The blogs I read, the rules I’ve come to believe and the numbers my ego wants all point towards a style of travel blogging I don’t like writing. And the posts I’ve found flowing from me, the ones I get the most engagement and interaction from – they aren’t my ’10 things to do in….’ or ‘a two-week itinerary for….’
They’re the personal posts that come from the heart, with no cynicism or guile. Posts like this one or this one (note, terrible SEO there….) seemed to resonate with people and get me the most ego strokes.
Which is what I’ve come to crave. I talked about my addiction to feedback in a podcast episode, and while I think it’s so human to want to hear lovely things and feel validated for our work I know it’s made my path a bit muddier.
I’m so lucky
I love travel. It’s honestly one of my favourite activities and it’ll always come above other treats. Yes, I’m ‘lucky’ enough to own a house but if you know how I could afford to buy a flat in London you might not think I’m so lucky.
However, that privilege comes with other responsibilities. I have a mortgage. I also have a family, and while there are two of us bringing in the dollar, I still have to contribute monetarily while looking after a baby. And that means tough choices.
So when I hear people complaining they can’t afford a holiday because of XYZ I empathise, of course. But that doesn’t mean I’m so rich I can afford to do whatever I want AND travel. We, as a family, prioritise travel. We don’t buy ‘stuff’…….I don’t buy clothes more than maybe once a year. I don’t get my hair cut or coloured and I don’t go out for dinner and drinks all the time.
Photo credit: Peter Parkorr
All this rambling is simply to say I love to travel. And I REALLY love to write about it. And that’s something I’d forgotten about.
Hi, I’m Lucy and I am a travel addict. I love taking holidays and playing tourist. I love travelling to the same country over and over again and I love going to new place too. I adore beach holidays where you lay in the sun with a book all day, sweat dripping on your sunglasses and neck crooked awkwardly to block the sun.
I love hiking trips and walking aimlessly in a new situation. I love bars and EATING. Oh my, I love eating.
I love the airport and the journey…..I love getting lost and found again.
And I really, really love writing about it. I just don’t think I’ll always offer a whole heap of value. Soz and chips for that ❤
PIN THIS FOR LATER
A little story about how I lost my travel blogging mojo and found it again after a solo trip to Rotterdam. Don’t let writer’s block stop you from blogging and learn from my mistakes!
Hey you! I’ve moved to Brighton and I am SORRYNOTSORRY for all the damn seaside spam. I alluded to this on Instagram a while back and I then wrote a version of this to my newsletter.
But I wanted to share it with you too, because I’m finally HERE and the long, hot summer is upon us. Which means it’s time for me to quit my job.
Some of you might know that I’ve bought a house down in Brighton. It’s all crazy exciting but super hectic and scary too. I’ve lived in London my entire adult life, I met my husband here, my dad died here and my baby was born here. So there’s a whole heap of emotion tied up with my London love affair.
And some silly feelings too: FOMO, not having my best friend round the corner, missing out on those casual meetups with friends because yes, Brighton is close to London, but I’m going to have to navigate the train as well as my baby!
BUT it’s the right decision and overall I know I won’t care about any of these things once I’m settled.
What about my job?
Hmmmmm, yes. As is my way, I announced I was gonna give up work when I moved to Brighton on Instagram Stories because that’s where my crew is, it’s where I chat away as if you are all in my living room with me and where I feel most comfortable getting vulnerable, I guess.
I got a lot of questions afterward, and I totally understand why. It feels as though I’m changing lots of stuff and I guess it’s also, in part, due to the fact it’s never really clear what ‘my job’ actually is. At least in the way we typically refer to a job, which is to say the thing you do to pay the bills.
What is my job?!?
I’m a journalist. That’s my bread and butter and makes up the biggest chunk of my income. It’s what I ‘identify as’ and, honestly, where I get the most kudos, too. Which is icky to say, but I trust you.
My income has swung recently to me earning through more passive streams – through affiliate marketing and my SEO course. While I earn money from my blog, too and indirect income through my podcast — I consider them to be more ‘passion projects’ for now.
So what are you quitting you HUGE drama queen?
Well, the podcast comes to a natural hiatus in May/June which is when I’ll stop for a few months. I’ll also reduce the amount of sponsored content/brand collaborations I’ll be doing on my blog and social media.
But the biggest chunk is this: I won’t be chasing commissions AT ALL. Literally none. If an editor comes to me with something, I guess it’ll be a case by case thing. But my job will be mum, then podcaster/blogger.
And OBVIOUSLY, I will always be here for you guys.
What do you think? If you made it to the end, please do reply and say hello. I love chatting to you guys 🙂
Last time I wrote about my menstrual cup, I got a LOT of feedback. Mostly along the lines of: ‘Urgh, GROSS!’ And that came from other cis-women, like me, who have periods each month and use sanitary products but feel icky about it all.
Fair enough. But if that’s you, and you get creeped out by the menstrual chat this is your trigger warning. Please move along now. Although if you clicked on this post (and the very explicit title) I’m surprised it’s taken you this many words to realise what it’s about.
If your name is Google though, this post is all about why I use a menstrual cup, the benefits and why I think it’s the greatest sanitary product since sliced bread. Which isn’t a sanitary product and never has been. Thank goodness……..
WHAT IS A MENSTRUAL CUP
Bluntly put, it’s a soft, silicone cup that you insert into your vagina when you have your period that holds your menstrual blood.
It comes in two sizes (depending on your age and whether you’ve give birth or not) and typically, will have a ‘teat’ that you can use to remove when you need to empty it.
WHY YOU SHOULD USE ONE
In short, they will change your life.
They’re more convenient: You don’t have to change one every hour or so, and could leave it in all day if you need to. (I do this as standard, but if you have a heavier flow or on day one or two you might want to change it.)
They are eco-friendly: Whereas tampons, and other sanitary products end up on landfill rotting away, your menstrual cup stays with you for years.
They’re better for you: You know that awful dry feeling you end up with on the last day of your period? Yeah, you don’t get that with a menstrual cup. Because fibres won’t get left behind in your vagina, and there is zero risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome.
It’s cheaper: Because of the patriarchy, tampons are considered to be a ‘luxury’ so we are taxed on them. I worked out that I’ve spent approximately £784 on sanitary products so far. That’s insane!
The video explains it better than me, but if you’d rather I told you how to use it here goes…….
WHY I CHOSE THE ORGANICUP
There are lots of different brands out there nowadays, but when I bought mine seven years ago there weren’t as many. So when it came to me needing to replace mine (I bought it pre baby and technically should now be a different size) I had my eye on the Organicup.
Luckily for me, they reached out and offered to send me one of their starter kits to trial. That was two periods ago and I’m happy to say I LOVE IT.
It’s so funny because I thought my old menstrual cup was amazing, but using this new one is so much better. You know when you buy a new pair of jeans and realise your old pair were actually really uncomfortable? A bit like that.
The Organicup is super soft and mouldable, and it genuinely feels like I’m not wearing anything — unlike previous cups. I LOVE the fact it’s cruelty-free and hypoallergenic too, because gang — we have GOT to be careful with our bits!
The starter kit I was sent comes with the handy wipes that are great when you’re out and about, although I have to say — I’m not crazy about them being individually wrapped. And you also get an intimate body wash to use on the cup and yourself if you want. Again — I don’t like the fact the packaging and I have a bit of a thing about ‘intimate washes’ although this one is really aimed at the cup, as opposed to telling us we need to wash our vagina’s (which are self-cleaning, FYI, and should NOT be washed with anything bar water.)
Overall, I’d HIGHLY recommend the Organicup. They’ve offered my readers free shipping using the code ‘Wanderluce’ too, so yay!