Job title: Photographer
What exactly is that?
I take photos of people, places, things and then spend an inordinate amount of time on social media trying to publicise it.
How did you get there?
I left school with 3 really bad A’Levels in French, Spanish and English Lit.
I had already been offered a place at a college of a university in the north of England. I guess I dazzled them with my wit and charm lol. I went but dropped out in Year 2. I changed universities but I just wasn’t mature enough to do independent study and quit in Yr 3.
I got a job in a call centre and did similar jobs like this until I became pregnant, four years later. After having a baby, I decided that I needed to get my life in check and I went back to university to complete a two year HND in childhood development studies.
It provided a stepping stone for completing a BSc in Social Work. I graduated with a 2:1 and secured a position as a social worker in a Local Authority in the south of England. After 3 years of post-graduate social work, my husband was offered a job in Australia and we decided to move down under. I picked up a camera to document our travels and set up my own business as a photographer.
Initially I photographed people; weddings, children and families and small businesses in the infancy of their development. I made a loss the first year but was much more successful the following years and made profit.
I developed an intense love of yoga and vegan food and that featured strongly in my work. I set up another blog documenting our family’s vegan, sugar-free life. After four years in Australia, my husband was made redundant and as we were on a temporary visa we were forced to leave Australia.
He took a job in France (a big change from Australia) but due to cultural differences I wasn’t able to pursue my portrait photography business and it has sat idle for 2 years.
After a disastrous two years in France we decided to become nomadic, I still blog about a vegan lifestyle but not for money. I want to inspire others to think about where their food comes from and how they can live healthier lives and making money from that doesn’t appeal.
Instead we are concentrating on developing a strong brand for our travel blog that we can monetise. We have been travelling on and off since July 2016 but 2017 will see us travel to a new country every month. We have three children aged between 6-13. The greatest gift I can give to them is knowledge.
Give us an example of a day in your life:
No two days are the same for us however the only thing we commit to is breakfast together. Much of our life is dictated by the weather and wifi!
If the weather is good we will explore for half a day (a full day if necessary) but my children still need to be educated so we return home for academic subjects. We live on a small budget so planning is imperative to our lifestyle.
I spend a lot of time researching free places to go, things to do with the kids, hikes to do, places to see. We make up sandwiches to take out with us; feeding five in restaurants/cafes is very expensive and difficult when you’re vegan. I also spend a lot of time taking photos, downloading/editing them and blogging! I use social media tools to help me but it still takes a big chunk of any day.
We stay in small, cheap houses wherever we stay and we have to travel fairly light (work in progress!). This means creature comforts are a no-go. A big part of our life revolves around food and shopping. We cook from scratch all the time so visiting markets and supermarkets needs to be done every two days. I try to do yoga as much as possible and we hike regularly.
What’s the best thing about what you do?
The world is a very beautiful place and seeing different people and places is amazing. Obstacles become challenges that are easily overcome. No language is too hard to learn (except Greek lol. That’s hard!). No place is too scary to visit. Travelling opens the mind and challenges subconscious judgments. Look further than a coach tour and you will be rewarded 🙂
What’s the one thing you would change if you could?
We have no home to call base camp. All our possessions are in a storage unit. That’s difficult.
What did you want to do for a living when you were at school?
At primary school I wanted to be a police lady but I was told my grades weren’t good enough. During senior school, I had very little idea other than I wanted to speak French and help others.
I completed an online test which said I should either be a teacher or a photographer. I poo-pood those.
I really wanted to visit Africa and work in the health industry but that wasn’t the sort of work a girl did in those days. My parents would never have agreed to it. Back in those days parental control and influence was much stronger.
What’s the one thing you were insecure about when you were at school?
I was fat at school and I was mercifully teased for having ‘tree-trunk legs’. I didn’t challenge those people and became a victim. At university I later developed food and drug problems to control my weight.
I have since spent much time studying the role of food on mental and physical health and have found that a vegan, sugar free lifestyle with regular exercise and plenty of time outdoors has helped my weight. I’m still chunky but I’m much happier in accepting this.
What advice would you give yourself at 18?
Be more open minded. Challenge oppressive forces in your life. Be stronger. Be more independent. You CAN do this!
What’s your favourite thing to do in your spare time?
Probably yoga but I love being outside and walking. I also like arts and crafts <- these are NOT just for children, and reading. I love to experiment in the kitchen, I have a sweet tooth which isn’t often allowed to be indulged. I like eating out but this is a rare treat.
What’s the title of the last book you read?
Share with us one beauty tip you have learned:
Don’t ever buy a beauty magazine. Their entire existence is based upon your own insecurities. I don’t wear make-up and don’t need to 🙂
Please share with us a money tip:
Watch the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves. Always delay on buying things, you can probably do without it anyway.
And share with us a life lesson you have learned:
Always question everything. It never lets me down.
Tell us about your favourite recent purchase of £25 or under
Cacao butter from eBay. I got a great bargain.
How can people get in touch with you for more information?
GDG E-book, Life after Lessons available now!