Well, after a manic summer of life changing events, it’s time to get back on the blogging horse and let you know what’s been going on in the Wyn-Jones world!
If you follow me on on Twitter (@larainewynjones), you’ll be aware that on August 19th Owain and I packed our car with as much of our stuff as we could and headed north. After a very cold and uncomfortable night sleeping in the car, on August 20th we boarded the CalMac ferry to the Isle of Eigg and arrived on our new home in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland!
The following day we picked up the keys and got straight into work on our new venture; Eigg Adventures mountain biking and archery. Since then, we’ve worked pretty much every day. For the first month it was literally every day and let me tell you, it was manic! It was towards the end of the season but there were still plenty of people arriving on the island, wanting to hire bikes. Each day was spent talking to tourists, cleaning bikes, tuning gears, testing brakes, running archery sessions. There was no time to stop and breathe, and figure out what we were doing, but we made through the busy season.
Now we’re getting two days off a week and even on the days we are working, it’s much quieter. I’m spending lots of time on social media and Owain is slowly stripping bikes, rebuilding wheels and lots of other bike mechanic-y things which I don’t understand…
Only now that it’s quietened down, can I think and reflect on how life has changed since last year; we wake up to the sound of birds and the occassional sheep or cow, rather than the screeching of next door’s teenagers as they fight over the bathroom; breakfast is eaten looking out over the sea, watching the clouds drifting over the mainland, rather than clock watching, counting down to the minute I have to leave the house in order to not be late for work. My commute to work consists of this…
Granted, I didn’t exactly have a long commute to work in my previous life and I did sometimes cycle or run it, but I don’t have that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach as I head to work these days . Instead, I have a spring in my step and can’t wait to arrive. I smile all the way to work and continue smiling all day. Yes, a lot of my time is spent at a desk, managing our fleet of bikes on a spreadsheet, on Twitter and Facebook, researching possible new stock but instead of sitting in an air conditioned box with the highlight of my week being 5pm on a Friday, I look out over the harbour. Cows wander past. I can see eagles and buzzards. I can feel the wind, occassionally get rained on (it rains sideways here), watch the sunshine play on the water. It’s beautiful and it makes me happy. I LOVE Mondays.
I finally feel like I have a purpose. No matter what job I’ve been in previously, I’ve been working on what someone else thought was important. No matter what utter shite I personally thought it was, I did what the boss said. Now what I do counts. No, it may not be very important in the grand scheme of things but if the bikes are clean and in good working order, people have fun. They come back to us at the end of their holiday and tell us how much they’ve enjoyed their time here, and that the bikes have been brilliant to help them see so much of the island. They smile too. I love that my job revolves around making people happy.
At the end of the day we close up, we go and see people, have a cup of tea or a beer, chat. I don’t go home and worry or be upset that I may have pressed the wrong button at the wrong time and something at work got f*cked up. Instead, I think of the people I’ve made smile today, look around at the beautiful landscape we live in, and I relax.
Not everything is perfect. We no longer earn the salaries we used to. Pension plans are on hold. Savings are out of the window. We don’t really care about that. I live in waterproofs and hiking boots. I don’t need to spend money on high heels or keeping my hair maintained – I don’t even know the last time I brushed my hair – I don’t need to worry about replacing make up, I can’t remember the last time I wore mascara. Life is a lot simpler.
The biggest issue is missing friends and family. My nephew is 19 months old and changing every day. I’m missing that, and by the time we head back to Shropshire at Christmas he won’t even remember who I am. That makes me very sad. Luckily, my sister and brother in law are fantastic at sending me lots of pictures and videos of the little chap.
One of my best friends had a baby the other day. The other girls are going over to meet her on Saturday, I shall be meeting her via Skype.
Life is not perfect but we love Scotland and we love the life we’re building here. We can’t wait to welcome friends and family to the island and show them what we’re doing here, and why we fell in love with this little island. It took a lot of chances and risks to get here but it’s so worth it.