Hey everyone, and welcome to my first proper blog post in a very long time!
At one point I was posting super regularly, at least once a week. Then I pretty much stopped posting altogether. I’ve come through some difficult and challenging times as well as some really amazing and beautiful ones, and I now feel I’d like to share with you what’s been going on and why I’ve been away for so long. So here goes.
In one of the last “proper” posts I wrote, I mentioned that I’d got into a new relationship. As I’m sure many of you know, that can be distracting enough in and of itself! The honeymoon phase is a very real thing. I definitely became very caught up in wanting to spend a lot of time with my partner Johnathan doing fun things — going to festivals and events, going camping, coming up with fun new projects, and just hanging out together. But I don’t think that alone would have led me to stop blogging, and there were a bunch of other factors that contributed too.
The primary one was work. I started this blog when I was on a gap year after dropping out of uni. I didn’t have much else to occupy my time with, so keeping up with it was easy. Then I started working freelance. Initially, I had decently-paid writing work that only took a couple of hours a day, still leaving me with plenty of time to blog.
But regrettably, that work came to an end and I was left scrabbling around looking for whatever projects I could find just to pay the rent. I did manage to find work, but the pay was worse and it was much more time-consuming. I was working full days just to earn enough and had no mental energy left for my own writing. The work was very stressful, with constant rounds of unpaid edits required. I also had little interest in the work as it was essentially just marketing, something I strongly dislike. It took a huge toll on my mental health and I found myself feeling very low.
At that point, I think I was suffering somewhat from blogging burnout. I’d been really pushing myself to keep producing content, mainly because I found freelancing so exhausting and I wanted to eventually make money from blogging — which I really enjoy — instead. But I only ever succeeded in making a very small amount of money from blogging, and it required me to compromise on my principles to promote things I didn’t totally agree with. And there was a tremendous amount of work required for each post — I had to make an image for Pinterest, promote the post on several social media accounts, do SEO, carry out research, and much more. I just couldn’t fit it all in anymore. I’d already had to discontinue my digital magazine, Seedling, because it wasn’t financially or emotionally sustainable.
Additionally, I’ve struggled for many years with RSI (repetitive strain injury) in my hands, caused by constant typing. I now have to be very careful not to push it. So even if I had had the energy to blog, I’d have been hesitant to do so for fear of injuring myself, since I was already doing so much typing for work.
And on top of that, Johnathan and I decided to start a YouTube channel, Love & Lentils, which you may have seen me mention previously on the blog. I figured it was smart to direct my creative energies there since it took less of a toll on my RSI.
Ultimately, I just couldn’t sustain my freelance work. I quit and started living off my savings, with a small amount of income from less stressful projects. I was becoming very tired of having to compromise my mental health just to pay rent. I was also feeling stagnant just sitting around in the flat all day — after all, part of the reason I started freelancing was so that I could be location independent! Johnathan felt the same, so we considered our options and began to formulate a plan.
Eventually, we decided that moving into a sailboat was our best option. We’d be able to dramatically cut our expenses so we didn’t need to work as much, and we’d be free to travel wherever we wanted, taking our home with us. It also meant we’d be able to travel while burning hardly any fossil fuels — very important to both of us as environmentalists.
We began looking and soon found an affordable boat. This is Athene, the new love of our lives!
But most sailboats aren’t really set up for living on full time. And Athene is almost 40 years old, so she needs a lot of work. So even though I’m not freelancing right now, I’ve been devoting my days to scrubbing and painting everything in sight, while Johnathan builds things and wires up electronics. On top of that, it’s been a steep learning curve for both of us, as neither of us has any experience of boats. We’ve been obsessively reading books about sailing and watching YouTube tutorials in an attempt to get to grips with things.
So I’ve more than had my hands full. In fact, I’ve been so busy that all my ordinary self-care routines — yoga, meditation, gratitude journalling, long walks, cooking nutritious meals and so on — have pretty much gone out of the window. I also haven’t had much alone time, which is really important to me. And so even though this is a really exciting time, I’ve also found myself feeling extremely overwhelmed with how much there is to do and learn, not to mention the financial stress of spending almost all my savings while having no money coming in. My stress levels have led me to be much more irritable than usual, and it’s caused a lot of arguments between me and Johnathan, which was previously pretty rare. We’ve managed to work through everything and come out stronger, but it’s been hard.
Basically, life has been pretty hectic. Overall I love the direction it’s going in, but it’s left me with little time or energy for blogging.
So why am I back? It’s because I’ve realised that running a YouTube channel with a partner isn’t the same as having my own project. The channel is about what we do together — which I love — but it doesn’t allow me to go deep into my own thoughts and emotions. I’ve thought about having my own channel, but it takes so long to build up any kind of following. So I thought I’d come back to my roots and start blogging purely for pleasure again. Writing is extremely cathartic for me, and I hope it’ll help with my mental health.
This has been an extremely long rambly post — thank you so much if you stuck around! I’m hoping I might feel able to blog more often now, but I’ve learned not to make promises about how frequently I’ll post. Regardless, if you’d like to follow along with our sailing journey then check out the YouTube channel. Here’s the video where we introduce our boat.
We’ve also made a few more since then to show off the updates we’re making, so definitely take a look if you’re interested. And I’ll see you in my next blog post — whenever that may be!