The Truth About Not Good Enough

Who isn’t a high achiever these days? Who doesn’t have ambitions and goals? We all see other people doing things, we see it first-hand thanks to social media, but the how and why of it isn’t always clear. So we set out to do something similar with no road map and no real understanding of the effort or steps involved to get there. Unless we choose a well-trod path in life, chances are we spend a good long time fumbling around in the dark.

And what keeps us going is ambition, a dream we are willing to work hard for and a vision of what success looks like. And we do work hard, day in day out we work. You could call it perseverance and determination and a love for what we do, but there’s a very fine line between passion and belligerence. 

Most successes in life are a slow burn. We hope we’re on the right track but who can ever be entirely sure? As much as we seek advice, no one’s path to success is going to look the same and the truth is there’s no formula. But because we’re always looking outside ourselves for proof of success, it’s easy to miss our personal mile-markers. Who can say what interim success looks like? I mean, is that even a thing? So anything short of our ideal is, put simply, not good enough. 

Here’s how it sounds in my head sometimes: nothing is ever good enough. I’m never working hard enough, my successes aren’t big enough, my failures are because I’m not talented enough or I’m a joke. I’m not smart enough, savvy enough, or personable enough. I’m not good at communicating, I have a fundamental inability to genuinely connect with anyone. And that's on top of the usual not enoughs when it comes to my personality and body.

It’s so easy to think this is coming from a genuine place, and to believe it. Sometimes I’ll just come home and ask Adam “am I a bad person?” – and when the waters get muddy I go from being bad at something, to just being bad in general. It gets personal very quickly.

When that voice builds up enough momentum and claws its way into our hearts and minds, it’s crushing. It becomes all we can hear and we start to spiral. No one is going to convince us we’re anything but useless. 

It needs to stop



What I have discovered is that these kind of painful thoughts can’t survive if you just go back to what you love most. For me it’s my actual work, it’s getting on the road taking photos. Not being a photographer, but just coming up with fun ways of photographing for the sheer love of doing it. It’s chasing that thrill I get when I capture the kind of light that makes my heart jump. It’s finding other photographers that I admire dreaming over what they create, and the idea that everyone is in it together, just creating amazing stuff that makes them happy.

In the face of my love for the process, all that worry below the surface can just take a back seat. I’m here to create work that I love, and be determined in creating only what I love – nothing else.

Who knows what success will look like for me or anyone, maybe I’m already achieving it. All I know of success is that it’s usually made up of what I see other people doing, which nine times out of ten is a story I made up in my head of what it took for them to get there. I can’t follow that path, I don’t know the way…

And this is the truth of it all: if you want to do something brave and creative with your life, it is supposed to be challenging. It is sometimes full of self-doubt and criticism, it’s scary, it’s long hours and sometimes pretty lonely. But it doesn’t have to be so painful. Fall in love with the work you create, with the process of creating it, and the community of people creating alongside you on their own path. It takes the pressure off, I promise.



Life Lately - Melancholy and Separation Anxiety

I thought it was about time I did a life update here, it's been too long. With everything happening these days I think it’s easy to believe my life as been all travel and Instagram opportunities. Obviously it’s not all that, but life is what you make of it amongst the general every day stuff of wishing for more sleep and trying to motivate myself to get some exercise. 

And my life is always changing. Plans, thoughts and the way I’m handling it is always changing. Life lately from one day to the next is never the same. One minute everything is coming together, so much is happening and I feel like I’m moving forward. The next minute the dust has settled and I’m wondering - now what?

I’m powering this engine myself and my coal shoveling is inconsistent. It’s not like I don’t have the will or the drive, but sometimes I just don’t know what to do next – you know? We rarely take a moment to recognise that periods of melancholic indecision and even boredom happen. It's part of the process - she tells herself...

So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how sometimes you just have to let life happen to you. And I’ve also been thinking about how all the self-help and motivational hand drawn pins out there do nothing to address the fact that sometimes life is just a temporary, directionless drift. 



There’s a very prominent “take what comes” attitude prevailing here in London at the moment, it’s settling on the country like a dark cloud along with the appropriately damp and cold weather. There’s a mixed feeling of “oh what have we done”, “finally we’re free” and a resounding “what the hell next?”.

Frankly it scares me. I’m afraid of the rising tide of racism since the leave vote was announced, I’m afraid to now realise our government has zero contingency plans, I’m afraid of what a future for a Europe not united looks like – from within and without. I recognise that much of this entire campaign has been about fear, and it’s working. 

But the things that I do know are: better together has always been an unequivocal truth when it comes to a people united. Hate, racism and xenophobia has no place in a progressive country’s future – but it exists within our people and it’s important that we consider its cause before stamping it out, because I suspect its roots run deep. And moving forward I don’t think any amount of separation can stop me personally feeling like a citizen of Europe, and the world. I will always see pieces of myself in others, no matter how different our cultures, values or believes may be. 

We are all connected in our humanity, like it or not, we are all in this together. Personally I find great comfort in that.



There's Something I Would Love You to Read

A few weeks ago I decided that I just wanted to put it all out there - why I travel so much, why I found myself in a job that would so often keep me on the road. 

"Travel Far, Return Free"

I'm so proud to have been asked to write a guest post for Free People on their blog, and I would love for you to read it and let me know what you think. 

So rarely do I write something that feels so true to me, and what I'm all about - I often strive to put my heart out there but I don't feel like I've ever done it so well and as clearly as I have done in this post.

Please go and leave a comment over there, let me know what you think.

"Traveling to see the world has always been part of it, but more than that it feels like I am traveling for my own freedom."



Home. A Life of Intention.


Coming home feels different these days. 


Life has always been looking forward for me – looking to the next trip, the next adventure, the next project. The thrills always came from the unknown opportunities on the horizon, and what was going to come next.

Traveling through Cuba was an adventure in every sense, I can’t wait to post my photos and stories. It felt like one of those endless trips, the ones where you land and immediately forget what day it is, how many days you’ve been there and how many you have left. Nothing felt specific, we just took things as they came up and had the best time with it.

Home has never felt like a specific concept for me. I don’t have a family home really, I don’t feel like I belong to one specific culture or place – rather I feel like my heart belongs in lots of places, and lots of people. But lately the idea of a home has become more solid for me. Maybe I’m finally growing up. I’ve always been a late bloomer.

In those quiet moments in Cuba, sitting on the front porch of our Casa of that particular town, I would get belly-flips of excitement in the pit of my stomach whenever I thought of home. A friend would cross my mind, or the idea of summer in my neighbourhood, or thoughts of sofa cuddles with Molly and I would feel genuine excitement for the slower parts of my life. The parts of my life that I built and chose and grew.

So much of travel is about what happens to you. You’re always in control of how you handle a situation, or process it, but travel takes so much out of your hands and you have no choice but to live in the moment and take whatever comes your way. That’s the thrill of it, I mean, it’s why we do it – to experience the unknown. For me it’s not thinking, it’s no commitments, it’s escaping into other cultures and other ways of life. It’s getting lost.

But home for me now feels like a culmination of choices I have made in my life that I am finally proud of. I find so much peace and joy in the idea of my home, my life and my friend-family that I have built here in London. 

But having said that, I have a whole lot of Cuba stuff coming up here. Lots, lots of photos, and a Cuba road trip guide coming your way soon.

The inspiration for these photos came from the story of women in coffee. A while back Taylors of Harrogate sent me some samples of their Esperanza coffee, grown by women. I've seen first hand the empowerment for women that comes with having a livelihood, a means to improve their living situation, educate and feed their children and elevate their status within their own community.  But of course the gender gap is universal, and in developing countries it is often overwhelmingly large. Taylors of Harrogate is working to address that with some amazing projects, check out their work here



A Life of Intention

I think it’s finally ok to say that winter is officially over, right? It’s getting warmer and the tree outside my house has a few baby leaves on it, and I’ve slowly stopped having the crippling, scarf clutching fear that at any moment the temperature is going to plunge and a blanket of drizzle will settle over London for days at a time.

On Sunday afternoon there was a thunderstorm and a flash downpour that caught people off guard on their bicycles and on their way home from their afternoon at the pub. I moved my favourite chair to the window and sat down to watch the world go by, and it was one of those peaceful moments that only come when you feel secure. And I have started to feel secure that soon I won’t be cold every second of every day, and evil central heating will be a thing of the past. And fresh air! Good grief, to open the windows!

But truthfully I have loved this winter. My Quiet Winter has brought with it a new and daily yoga practice, a healthy eating routine, a new-found familiarity with myself and a better understanding of what I know and what I don’t know. I spent a lot of time this winter learning to fully understand which way my heart was trying to point me, and strangely enough what I learned scared me a little. I found it was time to let go of some dreams that no longer serve me and had become a bit stale, of relationships and ideas of how things should be. It was a season of change when I wasn’t expecting it, and it feels like it has been preparing me for more change to come. 

The biggest lesson I learned however, was how to be intentional. Instead of just blustering through life like I am on a rollercoaster, never really understanding the ups and downs or recongnising the turns until I was way past them, now I feel like I have a little bit more clarity and control. 

Having learned what I want, I now feel like I have the tools and presence of mind to bring whatever it is that I truly desire into my life. It feels like a natural progression to move into something I’ve been thinking of as A Life of Intention. Where instead of tripping up the steps towards my goals, I stand on my own two feet and take them one at a time with the presence of mind to see where I’ve come from, where I am now, and where I’m going.

So this is the start of a new blog series and a new hashtag! I’m so in love with Instagram at the moment so the idea of starting a new hashtag is so thrilling to me – yea I can see how that sounds now that I’ve typed it out but I’m just going to leave it there anyway...

Check out the photos I've put on the #ALifeofIntention hashtag already and please feel free to use it yourself on the photos that really feel like they give you focus and clarity on the things you love most, the things that make you feel like you're building up a beautiful life around you.