Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Living Adventurously (aka, Quitting)

Remember way back, oh two years ago, when we moved to London? How it was the most exciting thing in the whole world? Well, it hasn't really worked out for us. I feel like such a flake saying this, but we're leaving.




I had loved it, I really had. Then at the beginning of last year I hit a wall. I spiralled into a bad place and suddenly I hated everything, I mean everything. It was pretty terrible. I spent my days either crying or thinking about how I could leave my family. I swore that the city was the problem and that I'd just feel better if we lived somewhere where every noise, every shout, every mattress discarded in the street didn't cut into my soul. It was really, really no good. I did not leave my family and I did stop crying, but I never felt at home again in London. The city that I had briefly loved felt hard, abrasive, expensive, exhausting. I had neither the money to enjoy the amazing bits that called to me or the energy to find the amazing bits that I could afford. The tiny bit of community that we'd had here had left and I was lonely, tired and worn down. *sad violin* 

We daydreamed of moving, of leaving the city and our jobs and finding a way to live cheaply and happily outdoors. We talked in maybes; 'maybe we could move to France? Maybe we could move to Dorset? Maybe we could move to Alaska?' (that last one was all Nye.) But however deeply we felt the longing to move there didn't seem any way to make it happen while we were running as fast as we could to keep up with the daily get up, get everyone ready, work, get everyone back, feed everyone, work, sleep, repeat, travel at the weekends. There was no energy to talk about making a change let alone the energy to actually do it and while we had been talking about quitting wedding photography for years neither of us could come up with a viable alternative that we could step into.


Sometimes when you're desperately looking for a way out the universe throws you a bone, it's just that it's not the bone you hoped for. Instead of a nice juicy rib that you can chew at your leisure it's a great fucking ox skull hurled through your sitting room window and now you have a way out but there's glass and shit everywhere and a frankly terrifying head staring at you with its gaping, empty eye sockets and you're too shocked and traumatised to move. That's what happened. (Literally. No, not really, but it was close.) 

It was messy and horrible and I shook for days but it was finally clear that we could not keep going the way that we were, we were starting to fall apart at the seams. So we quit, kind of. It was mostly emotional and symbolic at that point; we planned to leave London and we stopped taking wedding bookings and instantly we felt better, lighter.

That was five months ago. At the moment we're starting to pack up the things we want to keep, trying really hard to get rid of as much of our crap as possible, finishing making our house nice so that we can rent it out (one day, one day we'll make a house nice so that we can live in it) and freaking out. Nye, mostly fixing the house; me, mostly freaking out.


'Where are you going?' you ask. Well, that's a good question. How very clever of you to notice that I have not in fact mentioned an actual plan, somewhere we are going to go and something we are going to do. Well, immediately we are going to France, to stay in N's parents' self-catering place. When you're having an existential crisis it helps if someone you know has a spare house in the south of France and is willing to let you ride out your meltdown in it.

We're planning to stay for about three months and for the girls to go to pre-school there while we a) recover from the last few years and b) figure out what the hell we're going to do longer term c) eat cheese, drink wine and get fat/fit (yet to be determined).

After that we are thinking about spending a couple of months in the Western Isles. We also talk about Dorset, Glasgow, Wales and moving to sea. So if anyone would like to start a sweepstake on where we'll end up. . .

I fluctuate between thinking that we're doing something great, we're living adventurously, we're identifying what doesn't make us happy and doing what we can to find what will, teaching our children that life is short and precious and that you need to live it well, that fear shouldn't stop you from trying new paths. And then feeling like a complete and utter failure who has invested eight years in a career that they don't love, who has no idea what they actually want to be (or where they want to live) and who is dragging their children around in their wake while they try to figure it out causing them irreparable therapy-inducing damage. Not to mention feeling like an entitled brat who has the luxury of throwing it all in and moving to France. I have good days and bad days.

At the moment we have no idea when we're actually going to get out of here. We were aiming for February but that's not going to happen. Life and Christmas and the flu saw to that. We run out of money at the end of March that would be a good point by which to have our arses in gear. Wish us luck. 

106 comments:

  1. After university I decided that I wanted to be a wedding planner, so I spent 4 years chasing the dream and ended up working, dead-in-my-soul, in events planning that I hated. So I chucked it all in and decided to persue a random fleeting interest I'd had back in university and now I'm doing a PhD in medicine-related things. In a sense I feel like a massive failure because I'd told everyone about my grand plans to be a wedding planner and then.. it turns out that I not only did I hate it but as a career it hated me right back. And it was really hard, and kind of embarrassing, to admit that my life plans were completely wrong for me. But life is not a single narrative where you pick A Thing and then Do The Thing and it all works out, because life. I guess what I'm saying is, it sounds like you guys are doing just fine.

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    1. 'as a career it hated me right back' - that's exactly what I needed to hear, that maybe my career is being hateful towards me too. Thank you. Also well done for chucking it in and following whatever fleeting interest it was that you once had, it sounds like it's working out well for you.

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  2. Good luck to you all. We don't feel "right" where we are & are constantly discussing Pembrokeshire, Orkney, Dorset, Cornwall, South Africa, New Zealand… School age kids which adds to anxiety about change. Would love to hear how you get on.

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    1. Thank you, and luck right back to you. The kids/school thing does increase the anxiety A LOT. We should have applied to primary schools last week and that we didn't and that we don't even know where we'll BE when it's time to start primary school freaks me the hell out. I'm trying to roll with it though. Someone said to me at the weekend 'if you lived in Scandinavia they wouldn't even be starting school until they were 7, and they turn out fine.' Which helped.

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  3. I think a lot of people are feeling stirrings in their soul lately. Something going on in the universe? Best of luck with your plans.

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  4. This makes me so envious. I'm having big career/lack of career stresses just now and every time I visit anywhere rural I start contemplating if we could move there. Wishing you lots of luck and adventure ahead

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    1. I'm sorry to hear that you're going through a career stress too. This has been a long time coming for us and it took a major fuck up to finally make us go for it, so don't despair, if it's right for you guys I'm sure your time will come. Hopefully without any major fuck ups though.

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  5. Good luck my darlings. I've enjoyed having you in London, even only temporarily.

    Ps. Dorset is way easier for people to get to. My sister lives in West Wales, and it really is the end of the earth to get to for a weekend... :)

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    1. you assume we want visitors ... ;)

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  6. Best of luck with everything. For what it's worth (not much, since I'm a random stranger on the internet), I know a lot of people who lived in various foreign places when they were pre-schoolers, my husband among them. They are completely normal, well-adjusted people who have some cool stories and sometimes a second language as an added bonus. You're not doing anything at all to them except giving them a great adventure. Wishing you peace, quiet and space to recover (and much cheese).

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    1. Thank you so much, especially for your reassurances about your husband's normality, that does help!

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  7. Wishing you lots of luck!

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  8. Lots of luck. I think it is a brave and wise decision to shake things up and attempt to find a better fit for you all. Fear of change is a terrible thing and being stuck in a miserable position would probably have a worse effect on the girls than making a change, even if that doesn't turn out quite right either.

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    1. Thank you. The thought that I keep coming back to is that I'd rather give them issues by taking them adventuring than give them issues by being sad. grumpy and frustrated throughout their childhood.

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  9. dear, it feels like you're writing my thoughts and ideas. living in Berlin, a city I have adored for many years, I hit some kind of wall myself. and now the love has faded. and it is not important to me, if it is the citiy or me, that has changed. we simply do not fit anymore. so we're sitting here, thinking and searching. until now, there is no bone, neither a steak. we kind of know (kind of, I see for myself is actually very precise), where we want to go, but have not the slightest clue how to manage it. therefor, I'd loved reading your words and am super excited about what is coming next for your beautiful family.

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    1. Thank you so much Annton and I'm sorry to hear that you have hit a wall too. The fact that you know and acknowledge that where you are isn't right for you is the first step, knowing where you *want* to be is one step further than we have got! Figuring out how to get there will come. The best of luck to you.

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  10. It is absolutely the worst to not be in the place you want to be. Some people just suffer through it, and some have the guts to change something about it, even if it´s scary. So kudos to you. Also, I can´t see how three months in France would cause any damage to your kids :)

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    1. It IS the worst, isn't it? And thank you. In my better moments I know that we're not doing them any harm, in my other moments I wonder if kids intrinsically need stability and community and continuity. But what can you do?

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  11. hmmm. i'm happy you're getting the hell out. it's the right thing. everything is going to be ok and good. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veriqDHLXsw thought this little video might help. i had friends who decided they needed a change, twin brothers after a tragedy..they made a pact that they would close their eyes, spin a globe and wherever their finger landed, they would go there. they left UK and ended up on Pemba Island off the East African coast and built an incredible lodge called Fundu Lagoon. your children will benefit wherever you travel. that's where the most learning takes place. good luck and go for it!

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    1. Thank you so much Janelle, for your words of encouragement, the link to the youtube video (I'll watch it when I've replied to all of these wonderful comments, so maybe next week?) and for that bloody AMAZING story, what a pair. Now I want to move to an East African island.

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  12. You are a fucking hero. I'm excited and envious in equal measure.

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    1. Hmmm, I'm not sure, but thanks!

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  13. There are few things worse than knowing that you don’t belong somewhere, but not being sure where you do fit. My London story was similar to yours – a year of wonderful, a year of depression, a year of planning to move. I love the city I live in now – but I am starting to feel like I should move on from here too. Friends are settling down and I am not. They have careers, and I do not. Thing is, I also feel like I'm failing. Like this is attempt number two at setting up a life for myself that hasn't gone the way I planned. It's not really though.

    I think that there is a huge amount of pressure to make The Right Decisions when you’re in your twenties, but really that’s the wrong time. I’ve been an adult for ten years, I have a mortgage and a cat – but I don’t know half as much about life as I will in another ten years’ time. Luckily both my dad and my brother took until their mid 30s to work out who they were, and I'm trying to bear this in mind, it’s reminding me that not everyone needs to follow the same path as the one they started out on

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    1. THANK YOU Gwen, I can't tell you how much I love your comment and how grateful I am that you left it. That people are willing to share their own vulnerabilities and anxieties about Life, the Universe and Everything (aka what you do and where you live) blows my mind.

      I'm sorry that you're feeling unsettled, it's sucks. You are absolutely not failing though, just experimenting. My mum is in her 50s and has moved every few years since I left home, I don't see that as failure, it's just another way to live your life. I don't buy the narrative that we have to settle, not really. I mean obviously there's a part of me that buys it big time or I wouldn't be feeling like a failure myself, but it's just Noise.

      Anyway, courage to you. You will find your path/paths, I'm sure of it.

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  14. I think it's a bloody hard city. You had to try it and you were brave to try it. I left after 14 years of hating it and complaining about it and blaming it for everything and my husband (and me, too, a little) worried that maybe I'd feel like that, anywhere. That maybe it was a career or emotional thing or me who was just chronically unhappy. It wasn't. I've been in Edinburgh for four years now and moving here was the change I had hoped it would be, for me and for my family. You have to just keep on trying and being brave and hoping that you'll find the place that feels just right. You will.

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    1. YES, the fear that it's me and that I'll feel dissatisfied and restless and lacking wherever I live; I know that well. The phrase 'chronically unhappy' has been tossed around our house A LOT the last 6 months.

      I'm so glad that Edinburgh has worked out so well for you. Sometimes I wonder if it's the place we should come back to, it's one of two places in this world that feel like home to me, but I just don't know.

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    2. Oh I can really relate to that fear that it's you, and that you're seeking "geographical solutions." May well be true, but it's also possible that things just haven't clicked yet.

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  15. It's just so much better to get off a wrong path sooner, midway up a rocky and dusty mountain, than to climb all the way to the top when there's no way to get down other than more rock and more dust. The only reason to stay in a career that doesn't make you happy is if it comes with a helicopter at the end, some great payoff in learning, fame, or fortune, and there were very low probabilities that wedding photography was going to be that for you.

    The girls will be fine. You are their continuity. France in summer is prime little kid heaven. I'm personally looking forward to your future, even though it may not arrive, like a fairy, on gossamer wings. It's never too late to learn something - I just learned how to spell gossamer. <3

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    1. <3 Thank you Lisa. You have such a way with words, these words soothe my twitchy heart.

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  16. Good luck! London is wonderful but brutal and definitely not for everyone. Now - after growing up in London - we live in the countryside I can see the city for all its faults and brilliance. It is good to get perspective, how do you know you don't like something if you don't try it? Ditto your business, I cannot imagine it's healthy to stick with one thing your whole life, change it up and enjoy the ride. The girls will have so many stories and such a rich life to fall back on when they are adults themselves! Looking forward to seeing where life takes you.

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    1. Thank you! I do still love London, I just don't love *living* in London. It will always have a place in my heart, with all of it's faults and brilliance.

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  17. Yes, you ARE doing something great and adventerous and you will be happy.

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  18. Jesus fuck Cara. EVERY WORD. You inspire me. I'ma write an email.
    Love, an idiot who spent seven years busting my ass as a lawyer and it took a kid and a physical breakdown courtesy of my thyroid to make me take a step back and realise woah. Still haven't nailed the plan bit though.
    You guys have your heads so screwed on. You are smart, and adventurous (and the ONLY good reason for living in this ridiculous city is if you *do* love it) and yeah.

    <3 <3 <3

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    1. Thank you so much. And I'm so sorry to hear about your thyroid, that's a bitch. I'm glad it took you off the wrong path though. The plan will come, for now you are doing an epic job of making awesome people, which is kind of full time.

      I'ma looking forward to your email, I like to hear your words.

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  19. So happy for you, P. Life works out; it always does. And I know ALL TOO WELL about working hard and devoting yourself to a career that you eventually resent. It used to make me feel so guilty, but looking back, I don't know why. People change their minds and their paths all the time, and it's ok that I did that, too. Choosing to find happiness completely trumps choosing to stay in your situation because you "should", only to end up even more miserable.

    I haven't really talked about it much, but I started working out of my home again late last summer. It's an easy job that I knew I'd have no problem getting, and to be completely truthful, it's not something I'm very passionate about at all. But, you know what? I'm happier than I've been in at least 5 years. I'm only working part time, but I go to work, do my job, miss my family while I'm gone, and now really cherish the time we spend together. And I still have time to love and be passionate about the things I've always loved and been passionate about, but I don't have to worry about how those things are going to make me money. It's the best fucking thing EVER.

    Anyhow, I'm rambling. So much luck to you guys! I know this is the best thing you can do for yourselves AND your girls. <3

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    1. Thank you sweet C. I'm so glad to hear that things are working out for you and that you're HAPPY. Happiness is the thing.

      I love the idea of a job that I could do that I wouldn't have to worry about, that I wasn't the boss, that paid me MONEY and that I wasn't passionate about. After 8 years of busting my balls running my own business and killing the thing that I was passionate about, that sounds pretty good for a while.


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  20. introv.butterfly20/1/15 4:06 pm

    I'm so sorry you had to go through all of this, it really sounds like a horrible time and I hope you can get past it once things settle down a bit.
    Rest assured that what the girls need is a couple of happy parents, so they wouldn't benefit from staying in a place and a situation that makes you so miserable. Besides, you have one of the best understandings of children that I've ever heard, so have faith that they will turn out OK. I'd like to tell you not to worry, but I know all too well how impossible that is. All the very best wishes, fingers crossed that you find what you're looking for and please keep us updated from time to time. Hugs

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    1. Thank you. I'm not sure I understand children that well at all but it's a very kind thing to say and lovely to hear that it at least *looks* that way from the outside! And I will try and keep you updated, one of the great things about leaving the wedding industry is that suddenly P&P feels a bit more mine again and less like a marketing tool, which I hated.

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  21. You are amazing. I'm so sorry you've been going through this, but I think you're making the right decision. Changing your mind is perfectly acceptable. We're probably all going to have to work until we're a million years old, so there's plenty of time for a few career changes! I'm going through similar life angst-y stuff in the last year and I have no idea where I'm going to land and living with that sucks. But, you know, what else are you going to do?

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    1. That is a good point. I likely have another 50 working years ahead of me, when I look at it like that, eight years going in slightly the wrong direction doesn't feel like such a big deal.

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  22. Ohhhhh do I feel you. My husband and I lived in Toronto for three years because we moved there for me to go to school - and within the first week I knew it was a bad fit. (Part of it was school-related; it was an okay but not great school, and what I do is competitive enough that school reputation is important, so to be somewhere not great for me and that might be sabotaging my long-term prospects was a recipe for three years of ANGST.)

    We just this fall moved away, and it has been such a weight off. Literally the day I told my supervisor in Toronto that I wasn't staying I felt such a huge relief. The new place has been mostly better, but it did catch me a bit off guard (because I am naive) that even a deeply right move would still have all the sucky qualities of moving - no friends, boxes, apartment-hunting. I think I've been surprised both at how much of a difference it made but also at how much continuity I have felt about my internal self.

    Anyway, sorry for a monologue about ME on your lovely post. All this to say: YES. DUDE. EXACTLY. And also to say that you are being so brave and I think it will be worth it.

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    1. It's funny how you can know so quickly that somewhere just isn't right for you. I can imagine that facing three years of school somewhere that you instantly felt was wrong was really crappy. Well done for making the move and I really hope that all the sucky parts of moving are over and done with soon. Down with boxes.

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  23. Good luck! I spent close to ten years pursuing a career zoo keeping, something that had been my dream since childhood only to find it was making me miserable. I quit and it's scary. I get down on myself for spending so much time pursuing something that wasn't "it" but then I think about how much I would have regretted not doing so. I guess it's about the journey, not the destination.

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    1. Well, at least now you can add 'was a zoo keeper' to your resume. Along with 'joined a circus' that's pretty much up there at the top for kudos. I'm sorry you spent all that time miserable but well done for quitting and you're absolutely right about the journey.

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  24. All my love to you, ladypants. You're doing the RIGHT THING

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  25. My husband and I just spent two and a half years killing ourselves over what we thought was our dream: building a tiny house on wheels so we could live in the middle of nowhere and have a big garden. I was nearing total and utter breakdown when the week before Christmas, I shit you not: someone stole it. They stole our house. Comical, absurd, devastating.

    Yet suddenly it was like the whole world opened up to us as it simultaneously came crashing down. We found the house two weeks later, but we'd already moved on mentally. We're selling the fucking thing unfinished, along with our land, and it's like we have our lives back. We want to live in a real city, with real public transit for awhile. I hate driving.

    We were feeling flaky too, telling everyone what we'd poured our heart and soul into and focused so intensely on was not, in the end, what we actually wanted, and not nearly as idyllic as everyone made it seem. But then I thought about it and I think the real failure would be to hold onto sunk costs and cling onto something that isn't working.

    We're currently holed up in a lovely apartment and taking the next ten months for our finances, emotions, and relationship to recover from the turmoil of the last few years before we make our next move. I feel less anxious than I have in *years.*

    Best of luck to you both. You'll figure it out.

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    1. Oh. My. God. Someone stole your house?? That's awful and kind of funny (sorry)and also sounds like the universe was throwing you a big scary bone too. I'm really glad that you felt able to cut your losses but also that you guys were ballsy enough to try building a tiny house on wheels in the first place. How many people do that? Hardly any. Go you. x

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    2. It really is funny! It's just so absurd. I can't wait to see what you all do.

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  26. Feeling stuck is the worst kind of a feeling. For me freedom is the possibility to walk away from something, even if I have to walk away with nothing. I admire your courage and wish you the best of luck.

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    1. I think that is a really good definition of freedom and throughout this I've tried to remember how unbelievably lucky we are that we have paths open to us, that so many people feel stuck in their lives and do not have the option of walking away.

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  27. Good luck with the move. I am equal parts homesick for London and so glad I left. The last year since I moved has been difficult, scary and rewarding in equal measure. I tried to spectacularly self destruct and somehow managed to avoid it. Basically you are ace for seeing you need to move on and change and I really hope it works for you (and that it works for me eventually too)

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    1. Thank you. And hang in there, the night is darkest just before the dawn and all that.

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  28. This is real shit right here! Honest and awesome and scary.

    I have been reading your blog for years, quiet as a mouse. Creeper status: Pro. But I wanted to tell you how inspiring this is, which, I know in this moment, means nothing because you are terrified. I know what it's like to have no money and no idea what you're doing in life. I'm still doing that. Adult status: TBD. It takes seriously huge balls to do what you are doing and I am both intimidated and in awe of them. I'm excited to see what wonderful new things you all end up doing. Hearts.

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  29. Sounds like you are making the best choice for yourself and your family, no matter how scary or up in the air it all is. Good luck with everything! Wishing you all the best.

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  30. Ugh London. I want to leave too. I am planning my escape back to Glasgow where random nice things can happen and people talk to you on the bus. Please can we have coffee before you leave? Natalie x

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    1. Oh bummer, I'm so sorry that it's not working out for you guys either. I never thought I'd miss Glasgow but I really do. I'd love to have coffee sometime, email me! x

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  31. Good luck, dear. The best of it. And the best of wishes from across the seas xx

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  32. I could totally chime in hear about my giving up theatre directing and turning 30 this year with no proper career but instead, I just wanted to say that this (and all your comments) make for great inspiring reading. Moving is excellent. I have never lived anywhere longer than 3 years. I went to 14 schools. I consider myself richer for it and am thankful that my parents could not make up their mind. I am in the middle of my biggest move yet (left London for Toronto) and so far its panning out but who knows! Enjoy your break and remember its just one piece of the puzzle at a time. I too am guilty of expecting it all to all into place at once.

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    1. Thank you so much, that is exactly what I needed to hear. And the best of luck with your move, I hope that it all continues panning out and that any bumps in the road are short-lived.

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  33. Wow well done all of you. Seriously. I have no doubt there have been some tough conversations to get to this point but this is big and brave and I have no doubt you will feel stronger for taking the first step on your new path. France sounds healing and wonderful, I hope it is both of those things.

    I felt SO ready to leave London by the time we left but it took time to persuade my husband that the place was part of the problem. We also took an adventurous option and moved to SE Asia which has worked brilliantly, sort of, but we now have to move again. This year for us is totally blank past about March so you are very much not alone in just jumping but not being sure where you'll end up. Good luck, I hope 2015 is brilliant for all of you.

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    1. Thank you so much. And yes, many tearful, stressed and at times despairing conversations were had! London to SE Asia is a HUGE move, well done to you guys for being so brave and good luck with the year ahead. Sometimes having a big blank on the calendar is the most liberating thing.

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  34. We lived in London for a couple of years and loved it but just couldn't keep doing it (trying to do it through redundancy followed by 9 months of unemployment for my husband - the most miserable either of us have ever been - really didn't help), we still go and sometimes it feels like home but Edinburgh just feels so much more manageable. Anyway, I'm in a similar place just now after 4 years in a job that I don't really care about that seems to be putting me on a career path that I never intended and I'm torn between being sensible and sticking it out for the next few years through trying to get a mortgage and making use of the decent maternity pay and just chucking it all in and figuring it out from there. It's scary but congratulations for taking the leap and good luck for whatever the future holds, I'm excited for you.

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    1. Thank you Gemma. That sounds like it was a really tough time for you and your husband, well done for surviving it. And good luck with figuring out your next step. We were stuck for a long time before something came loose, sometimes you just need to let yourself be stuck for a bit as struggling to figure it out just makes it all that much more painful.

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  35. Such an engaging, moving post (you write brilliantly so maybe that's something to think about). Anyway, I have been a big fan of your photography for a long while now and if you hated what you were doing - boy - imagine how it would all look if you did enjoy it!! Be brave and bold. It's tough working life's shit out but you have great courage and that's a wonderful thing. I am sure you'll keep making beautiful pictures - with or without any cameras. Respect and luck to you x

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    1. Thank you Katherine, I really appreciate it. Writing is something that I would love to find the mental space to do more of.

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  36. Wow, so nice to read such lovely comments. You can do it! Love Una (and Eilidh too) xxx

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  37. London is a hole. Get out and live the life you've imagined for yourselves. This opportunity is one that cannot be underestimated or wasted. Run, don't walk. Good luck and thank you for writing things so beautiful they break my heart even when they're joyful. Go and do what I wish I was brave enough to.

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    1. Thank you. We're going as fast as we can. Courage to you to live the life that you imagine for yourself, but don't beat yourself up if it takes a while to get there.

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  38. Would it be inappropriate to confess to a life crush? Bravo on walking away and believing in something better.

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  39. I hope you're able to find the peace and contentment you seek.

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  40. P.S. You are allowed to change your mind! That's what life is about, I think -- thinking and doing x, but then after a while, not.

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  41. You're my hero! Good luck xx

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  42. Holy shit. It's like you just wrote the internal monologue that has been playing in my head over and over for the last year. Completely different city and country but everything else is the same. Running as fast as we can to keep up with the daily slog only to find ourselves too tired to do anything towards making a change. My husband and I dream of dropping everything and moving somewhere else – but we have no idea where we want to go or what we'd do. GOOD FOR YOU for getting out!

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    1. Nole! It's lovely to hear from you! I'm sorry that you guys are struggling with this too but hang in there, it will come to you in time. And thank you x

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  43. I feel for you so much that I'm compelled to throw in my own "good luck" (or "bonne chance" as the case may be). May you find your way to happiness.

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  44. Hello. This makes me want to say I love you although I realise it would be quite strange. Needless to say I appreciate your honesty. In a similar way I have had a shit scary year of moving house twice, being homeless, an amazing life changing 5 week camping trip around Europe, followed by the mother of all come downs, which (combined with a few other stresses) I am only just about now feeling like I'm out of. I have talked about it a bit on my blog- but no one fucking talks about this! I've been finding blogging world quite pure and wholesome and....fake recently. Reading this thread is like therapy. So LOADS of people don't really know what they're doing and think they found it, only to realise they were wrong! Tooons of poeple are still figuring out what they want to be when they're grown up! ooooooooh. not just me then. Anyway. Good luck. And even though it might not feel like it, how exciting too! 3 months in France! hope you either figure out a plan or come to peace with planlessness (made it up) x

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    1. Thank you so much Hannah. And yes to the wholesomeness of the blogosphere. That may be why I just stopped interacting with blogs at all over the last year. The comments here have reminded me that there are good people writing good things out there and inspired me to maybe climb out of my hole a bit.

      I'm sorry that you guys have had such a tough and scary year and I really hope that things start to even out for you soon. Thank you so much for your encouragement and yes, on my good days it's really exciting! x

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  45. I'm a regular reader and a sometime commenter. I love your writing and I appreciate that you share parts of your life with us.

    I think you are doing a brave thing, and I wish you and your family all the best.

    We are on what is turning out to be a prolonged expat adventure and every day I ask myself when and how we should leave. Your post quietly hit me like a ton of bricks. I know we need to leave.

    I hope you'll keep posting here and writing, I can't say enough about your writing. I feel peaceful when I read you and I find that I can concentrate on your words better than most.

    I hope I'm not overwhelming you with flattery, these are all things I've been thinking and meaning to tell you and now feels like the right time.

    Bon courage!

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    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment Olivia, I really appreciate it. The best of luck to you too with whatever your next step needs to be.

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  46. I'm sending you applause for a great decision. Someone I love taught me the phrase "Chasing an error" -when you keep ploughing time, energy and money into the wrong goal. Being brave allows you to change your mind. That phrase has helped me make decisions with bringing up babies, moving continents and careers. Good luck on your journey.

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    1. Thank you. I like that phrase. I've also been repeating 'there's no use throwing good money after bad' to myself quite a lot.

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  47. I have been struggling with the balance of life trying to figure out if we stay in a place that isn't really making me happy anymore, a place that is hard to live and make a life. I hit a major wall in my professional life last week that really makes me feel like giving up and starting over some place new. I hate to leave something I've invested so much time and energy in, and I've been feeling like I've failed. Reading your post and the comments is so comforting. It gives me resolve to chose happiness now even if it means making choices that don't seem smart to outsiders. I guess what I'm trying to say is thank you for sharing and thank you to your readers for all of these comments. Wishing you the best in your journey.

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    1. You had not failed. And you're welcome, and thank you.

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  48. I'm late on the uptake here, but I am commenting as someone who always reads but never comments. I have followed your lovely work since seeing it featured on APW (2008ish) and continued following here because I appreciate honesty and candidness on the internet, and I always found that here.

    While you & Nye will always be among my top 5 photographic influences (top 3 even?), I *totally understand* the need to just walk away. I considered leaving wedding photography many times last year, but I think I can hang on another year or two, since it's at least better than my day job. It may get better, or it might just get worse and I'll have to figure things out from there. Anyway. Your post resonated so strongly with me, and I just wanted to add another voice to the chorus of "you're awesome, keep posting here if that's what you want to do because I'll keep reading!". <3

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    1. That's really lovely to hear, thank you. And hang in there, I'm sure that you will find the right path for you in time.

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  49. I really don't mean to sound like I haven't understood what you've said above, pouring out your heart with an honest rawness so many of us (yes, I am talking about myself) like to shove under the bed, but I don't see this new chapter as failure or quitting or anything that has a remotely negative connotation.

    I think London was an experience you wanted to have & you had it. Now you want a different experience. Isn't that what life is all about?

    Not knowing what you want to do is not a bad thing at all. It can be disorienting but it can also be liberating (that lightness you spoke of at winding down your weddings). You have the chance & the freedom to do something new with your husband & your children & a little place in France to eat cheese. You are making the change because you do know what you want, just to be happy, so you're making the change to get there.

    From my outside & uninsightful perspective, you are walking away from a not-good place, slowly heading toward a better place which is going to lead you soaring to your great place.

    The reason I fell in love with your work so deeply all those years ago was partly because of your story - the hard road you travelled with getting your girls & how you were still able to create something so beautiful with your art, despite some real sadness.

    I don't think you are the first to have felt as you do, nor will you be the last (please forgive me, I know how condescending that sounds), but I think you should stand up tall for making a change, for setting an example for the young women you are raising, that if you are not happy, you should and can change things, that it's ok to be afraid and that being afraid of change can also be exciting and bewildering, but that neither of those feelings are enough to stop you from making a change.

    I, am proud of you. Along with the other 100 people who have commented above. x

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    1. Thank you Chloe, I really appreciate that. x

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  50. He. I am your girls' future 😊 i was that child, we were that family - off on adventures every few years. I lived in 4 different towns before I was 7 (from country village to big smoke). Then we packed off to India for a few years. I remember people telling Mum and Dad that our schooling would suffer, that our socialising would suffer, blah blah blah. Garbage. It made me who I am, it made my brother who he is, and we're both incredibly grateful for the things we saw, the places we've been and the things we learnt. And neither of us had schooling or social issues of any kind! Your kids do not need sad, grumpy and frustrated. Your kids do need stability, community and continuity - that's you and Nye. The rest is just geography. Plenty of Aussies take their kids out of school for long periods - months, terms, years - to travel the country (which really can take years) or even the world. I bet none of them have regretted it. As long as they have you they'll be fine ❤️ ️Xx

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    1. That's so lovely to hear, thank you Zoe!

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  51. It's actually pretty comforting, not only that you've posted this, but that so many people commenting seem to have similar feelings. I'm glad it's a universal issue to sometimes feel like you're not where you should be, and not just you or me! I think the main thing to remember where kids are involved, especially little ones, is that when you're happy, they're happy. Good luck with the move and I look forward to seeing how you get on! xx

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  52. I've just happened across your blog and I can't believe the timing of it! I too am having an existential crisis having invested ten years, two degrees and 8 thousand pounds of my parents money into a career that I hated. I quit and am cobbling together money working two different jobs. I have absolutely no idea what to do in the future and I'm starting to feel panicked.

    I too fluctuate between being really proud of myself for not settling for something that I don't love and feeling ridiculous that I can't just pick something and get on with it. Reading your posts has reminded me that I'm not the only one to have this happen to them and I feel better for that so thank you. I wish I could write a more eloquent comment to express what reading these posts has made me feel but this will have to do.

    Good luck finding what you want to do and in the meantime enjoy the house in France!! It's not all bad eh!?

    Kylie

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play nice.