Travel at a Natural Pace; Enjoy the Journey

Lambley, finger post road sign

Since the launch of The Winding Way several people have asked how it came about. There was no “Eureka!” moment as the idea grew over several months and even that was based on many other thoughts over many years.

As pointed out in the earlier “Call of the Camino” item notable birthdays and other events often trigger life changing ideas and actions. I had been working as a high-level freelance projects director and management consultant that involved long hours and a lot of time away from home. I was beginning to think about how I would change that and what I would do instead; simply retiring held no appeal. My family have always said “Martin won’t retire; he will just do something different”. I just needed to decide what that “something different” was going to be.

The financial crisis struck and there was a change of government in the UK. The new watchword in the public sector was “austerity” and the large projects I ran dried up. I was pushed into finding something new a little earlier than I had intended.

A couple of books gave me an insight into why I was finding the changes difficult and what I needed to do. The Time Paradox helped explain that my time orientation had always been very future focussed but, if I was going take the opportunity to change my lifestyle, I needed to live much more in the present. Tim Ferris’ 4-hour Work Week had also struck a chord with me. I had already started looking to apply his ideas to my own situation, successfully in some respects. However, I could not find a suitable way of making an income that I could automate and provide online so that I could do other things with my time.

Having grappled with the resulting issues for months a walk with Alison, which I chronicled as "Being in the Present", sparked a blossoming of awareness and changed my approach to life. This allowed me to move forward positively. I realised that I wanted time, and some little adventure, to myself. Or more properly, for ourselves, but my initially favoured direction did not really suit Alison; I have long been a sailor and the idea of living aboard a yacht for at least part of the year appealed to me but Alison has never been keen on boats and I also realised that sailing a big boat on my own was not really very practical and rather isolating.

Still, travel and exploration seemed to be a key element. Alison and I have never been one for jetting around the world collecting tourist destinations. As a consultant I have already spent more of my life in airports than I care to acknowledge so long-haul travel did not appeal. We have travelled widely, in Europe particularly, and our approach is to get to know a place or a country, and especially its regional food, more fully. With limited holidays we have tended to be drawn back to gently touring and eating our way around France. It dawned on us that with more time we could spend much more time on travelling in this way, getting to know places and exploring the food and lifestyle more widely.

But how to pay for it? I needed something that was independent  oftime or place, something I could do wherever and whenever suited me. I have always been a writer and photographer which provided a possible answer. There are many people who aspire to making a living through their “art” so the potential competition is high. Fortunately, most are in love with the idea but are not prepared for the reality. I have been a full time photographer and writer in the past and know it is a business requiring hard work and commitement. So by applying my previous writing and photography and most importantly business experience I felt I could make it work. After a few more weeks of planning and building the web site (I have a programming background) The Winding Way was born.

Now I need to get travelling and create compelling content that readers want. The Winding Way will develop its voice as it grows and feedback from readers will guide its direction. So please do comment on the articles – it will only take a moment and at least I will know someone out there is reading my work!

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