Travel challenge trip 5: Helsinki

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveller is unaware”  – Martin Buber

My trip to Helsinki came about in a rather random way; usually when planning future travel I have an idea of where I want to go and for May I was planning on visiting Sofia, but a few days before I was going to book it I received an out of the blue email from a Finnish guy requesting to couch surf at my house, my interest in Finland suddenly piqued and before I knew it I had booked a flight there. An impulsive move for a generally indecisive person! The sentimental reason for wanting to visit Helsinki is when growing up in Leicester our coming of age favourite cocktail bar to visit was called Helsinki. This is where I had my first cocktail (Black Russian), learned to love tequila shots, thought anyone over 24 was incredibly old and fell in love with gay bar tenders.

Leading up to this I had been running from commitment to commitment and generally over filling my time, as a result my energy levels were low and I was feeling pretty exhausted. I thought I wanted to slow down, but the sharp contrast of pace had a jarring effect on me. From my arrival Helsinki it felt like a solitary place and thinking back it was too quiet for me, the stillness fuelled my loneliness and it felt empty. I spent nearly all of my time alone, the space and vast landscape amplified this isolated feeling and I longed for some meaningful interactions. I am used to solo travel, but this was my 6th consecutive trip alone and I definitely need some balance and company, so I’m happy my future plans are with friends. Continue reading “Travel challenge trip 5: Helsinki”

Career Insight: 4 top tips for moving to fulltime freelance work

We spend so much of our time at work and to feel fulfilled, challenged and satisfied is all to often an aspiration that we don’t achieve. We all have other interests we enjoy and even the pipe dream of turning those into a full time career. But what is the reality of doing that? Is it achievable? Does the dream match the reality and how do you start to get there?

I asked my good friend and occasional collaborator Becky Dixon  who has built her business from scratch how she had gone about doing this.

“If you had told me, when I was 8 years old, that my penchant for making up radio plays on my Fisher Price tape deck, complete with dubious accents and hand made puppets could possibly lead me towards a freelance career as a storyteller and music workshop leader, I would have given you a pretty hearty dose of the withering look I was also perfecting at that age. The only jobs I really knew existed were teacher, lawyer, doctor and something mysterious ‘in an office’ (presumably shuffling bits of paper around) and everyone in my family seemed to have sensible, solid careers, so freelancing was never even on the agenda, and creative hobbies were just that, hobbies to be done on the side of work.

So, that I now spend my days lugging my cello around London and telling stories and singing songs for a living, often spending my weekends dressed as a pirate leading story trails around SE London community gardens was not a career direction I ever had mapped out… But these days I run my own small business leading story and music classes for little folk in my home area of SE London, and also freelance for various arts organisations and arts venues in London telling stories, and after gradually gently dipping my feet into the freelance world, I have been doing this for the past three years. Continue reading “Career Insight: 4 top tips for moving to fulltime freelance work”