It Creeps Forward

Hello again!

Well plans are continuing to develop and grow. We are exploring the site options now as well as discussing funding to get things off the ground - which includes selling our home and relocating. Time frames are now firming up too so things are getting real!

So… where are we at?

We are looking at an initial phase of offering glamping accommodation with the intention of providing a range of options from an off-grid yurt for the back to basics romantics out there right up to solid structures featuring insulation, heating, kitchenettes and ensuites with showers! Depending on our site we will also look to install a permanent gallery and workshop space which can be used for both our own scheduled sessions but also be let out to others (along with accommodation) to open up the experiences to as wide an audience as possible.

What makes us thing that we can do this?

We have been glamping a number of times and experienced both the best… and worst… of what that can mean. We can borrow some ideas from those places that we have been which work, whilst avoiding the pitfalls that we saw where things were less good. We have many of our own ideas, our own styles and personalities to feed into this - and we hope to incorporate both of our artistic visions as well as my background in environmental architecture to make something which is both unique and green.

There are other services that we are planning to offer - the photography workshops will develop further (and in a number of new ways) with single days, weekends and longer experiences all featuring. There may even be some shorter half day/evening/night courses to come along too. Tours are possible to add on as time moves on too where I will be able to offer my insights as a former archaeologist to the monuments and landscapes that we visit. I also intend to grow my commercial photography portfolio offering services to businesses and individuals covering the wide range of specialisms which I already provide and also developing further into some exciting new fields.

Time scales to full launch are still fluid, but we are hoping for a Spring or Summer 2020 launch as things stand at present. We have eyes on a couple of exciting sites (one in particular which if we can move on it soon we will!), but if those don’t come to fruition then there are others available which tick many of the boxes - if perhaps not all. The location is important though as this will have the potential to narrow or expand our client demographic from an accommodation perspective.

The next week is going to be a period of really getting to grips with the business concept further with the aim of locking in funding for our current favoured location, then week or so beyond that trying to get our home ready to market.

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Slowly slowly...

Things haven’t been moving quite as fast as I would have liked, but at least it is going in the right direction. We have been and looked at a place which ticks a lot of boxes in terms of business use and family life - it is just a case of finding a way to fund it all now! We need to sell up here in the Lakes, obviously, but whether that would give us enough for this project is another matter.

There are other places though and other areas… so we haven’t put all our eggs into this place (it is kinda special though).

In the mean time we are getting this spot ready to go on the market. I have a lot to do this week with plumbing, plastering and painting all on the cards. Boxes should arrive tomorrow or the day after to declutter and store and then we will hit the garden prior to photos. Nothing is scheduled in as yet, but I am still shooting for early September if we can (so I need to make the calls pretty soon!)

I am still getting pretty excited about it all though - things are coming together, the plan is crystallising into something which looks really good and, more importantly, viable. Location wise things may come together soon if one opportunity plays out - otherwise we are waiting on selling and then seeing where is going to work.

More later.

Again!

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Game On

Today went well… better than anticipated - which has been a great boost!

So, we know where we stand and things may move quickly. Of course they may also not move quickly, but we shall see. The agent was pretty upbeat though and wasn’t trying to talk down our expectations. There is a lot of work to do in a short space of time now, and there are a few options that look viable around a number of locations for Wayward Spirit to call home.

Now it is time to start putting the work in though, get prepared and see how this all plays out.

We are very excited!

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Tomorrow

This Tuesday everything is, hopefully, going to kick up a gear. We have an estate agent coming over to have a look at the place, tell us what he can do - and what we need to do to help him along the way - and give us some idea of what we are talking about budget wise.

The house is, as ever, an absolute bomb site! 3 children, 1 baby, 2 cats and a dog… it is pretty much par for the course at the moment. After tomorrow I think we are going to be on a big push to de-clutter, sort the garden out, do some plumbing work, plastering and painting. I want to get it all ready as soon as possible and on the market so that we can start seriously considering our options.

We had focused down to one area in particular, and whilst that is still probably the main contender a couple of options have sprung up in one of our earlier priority areas which have somewhat opened the field up once more. The original locations are still really, really appealing in my mind whilst the latter location is more in keeping with the head over heart scenario. It would give us access to a great sector of the population as a primary market which, in turn, would allow much more latitude to experiment with other ideas and offerings. The other areas that are still in contention are more the reverse - they are about following our hearts above anything else, throwing caution to the wind and hoping that there is enough demand for the services that we are going to offer to make the venture a success.

Tomorrow the waters will clear a little and we will have some idea of what we are realistically looking at. It then depends on how we are going to finance the venture through and how much we are going to need… then it is a case of wait for an offer whilst keeping an eye on the market across the places that interest us. This next phase could last a few weeks or, more likely, several months - but we don’t need to rush at present.

I am that mix of excited and terrified. This idea we have been throwing around for a good few years is suddenly moving from pipe dream to possibility to reality, the shift from dream to possibility has taken a few years… the next stage may be completed in a few weeks (although I actually hope it takes somewhat longer than that - my ideal would be Easter 2020!)

Watch this space though… once we have come to a decision we can start fleshing out the plans (they are very much location dependent which is why I haven’t gone into anything much as yet) and start building up to a proper launch of the Wayward Spirit venture!

I hope my Mum and big brother are watching over us over the coming weeks and months. We could use all the help we can get now, but I think they would both have been hugely enthusiastic and supportive of what it is that we are trying to do… and I think Neil would have been pleased with how his business name was taken up and used - albeit in a very different way to he had envisaged for himself.

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More Plotting

Things have been getting a bit more interesting the last couple of weeks. Our ideas are starting to condense into something more meaningful regarding location and wheels have been put in motion. We are starting to get very excited… and very nervous. We are talking about adding on loads of “extras” to our basic idea which would make the whole experience that we are going to offer a wee bit more unique and special - but EVERYTHING depends on where we go and what we have to play with once we get there so, for the moment, they remain just ideas.

Tomorrow I am having a meeting though with a man who knows all about the kind of things we are looking at. We have also been pulling in inspiration from places we have been and loved ourselves… as well as taking heed of the warnings from places we have been that have been less than good. However this all falls though it is going to be a massive lifestyle change to something hopefully more sustainable both for myself and for our planet (yes, I am just an old hippy!).

So the first big moment in our plans is going to take place in a couple of weeks time (ish) when we start really getting to grips with setting everything in motion. The “where” question obviously remains but that is entirely dependent on a few factors:

1) Where we can find somewhere suitable as a base that is within budget and meets our (pretty fluid) criteria.

2) Where we love to be

3) Somewhat closer to those we love.

The reasons to stay in South Cumbria have slowly eroded away to the point that there is absolutely no reason left to stay, the scales have firmly fallen to the “move on” side and those who need to know have been told the outline of the plan. I love new adventures, I love exploring new places… and I can’t wait to get stuck into all this!

One final point - I have always had this philosophy of “never go back” - this relates to many things in life, but I think is particularly poignant in situations such as the one we find ourselves in now. When I left Doune, a small village just outside Stirling, I was leaving somewhere I had never really gelled with. For some reason I decided that Ulverston in the South Lakes was the place to head - I had lived their briefly in the late 70’s/early 80’s and had fond memories of the town. It could never live up to those memories though and I slowly became disillusioned with the place - and it is somewhere that by rights I should have loved with a quirky feel about the place and some genuinely wonderful and talented people.

I just never fitted in, never became part of the fabric of the place… and then gradually large parts of my life fell to bits. It has been a painful few years - with some exceptionally good moments cutting into the overall drama, disappointment and regret. It is a place where all the bad things in life have occurred and a place which, through memories of a bygone time, is filled with the ghosts of those whom I have lost.

So… how does this inform the future? Well it rules out a few places perhaps - if I am to never go back. Mainly cities and their satellites to be honest as there are still locations close by places I have lived which I would give consideration to, one area in particular does appeal for a return. But perhaps it is time to put my philosophy at the heart of our decision and make a complete fresh start - do something new, explore new possibilities and see where the winds of life cast us.

Hopefully we will have more news and some actual progress reports coming soon! I have so many ideas, as does Jen, that we can’t wait to get started on everything!

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