What is creative freedom?

What is creative freedom?
What does it feel like?
How do you achieve it?

If you had a light and airy studio, a limitless variety of materials available to you and all the time in the world, where would you begin? This is the kind of freedom many people think of as they indulge in the dream of being an artist, but in reality, such freedom can be overwhelming.

There is freedom in limitations and right here, right now, you have all that you need available to you in order to begin your artist’s journey.

On May 1, 21012, after many years of neglecting my creativity, I committed to just ten minutes of conscious creative activity each day for 30 days. I committed to my dream of being an artist. A single Mum with two young boys, doing part time work, I did not have a studio, had what felt like no free time and a collection of art materials I had built up over a period of several years when something I thought would help me be an artist caught my eye in the art shop and I couldn’t resist. At first, I set myself little challenges, then, as the days went by, I found that I was no longer making excuses and finding reasons not to start, but I was looking for a way to keep going. Ten minutes turned into thirty which often became a couple of hours without me even noticing. When the month was up and the odd day passed by when I did not make art, I found myself missing it. What I soon realised was that I did not need a studio to make art, I did not even need more time and I certainly did not need specific materials, all that I needed was commitment. A simple commitment to making art in the time and space I already had with materials readily available to me was so liberating. It took less than two weeks before I felt like an artist again. I made myself a little badge and wore it with pride. I had not yet found my voice or made money from my art, it none of this mattered. What I had gained was my sense of self… I had re-connected with my passionate creative heart again… the liberated, creative me that I lost when I stopped making art and expressing myself freely.

What can you create right now, in the time you have with the materials to hand?
I dare you to check back with me in 10 minutes.

If you had time to read this, you have time to make art… now… GO!

If you would like my support on your artistic journey, 21 Days of Creative Freedom could be just what you need! No experience necessary, just a desire to be creative.

Kickstart Your Creativity

Collaborative artwork

Fresh wonders have been unfolding over here at Be Creative Daily as I started running a new course at home last Wednesday evening, called Kickstart Your Creativity. For one month, six courageous women have committed to spending two hours here each week, to embark on a creative journey. Art is being made, connections are being forged, dreams are being shared and I am filled with an enormous feeling of excitement and possibility.

At the moment, things are still in the early stages. The course has been (loosely) written and I am playing it out for the very first time with a group of local Mums, connected by a desire to welcome more creativity into their lives, as well as a need for connection and a wish for a feeling of community. My aim is to provide a space within which everyone can safely share, create and let go…
Let go of the desire for perfection
Let go of unrealistic expecations (that we often put upon ourselves)
Let go of shoulds and coulds and just play, like our children play, just as we did before we got caught up in our assumptions and became frozen by our fears.

How often do we have the chance in our busy lives to really let go…?
When do we have the opportunity to share our desires…?
How often to we get to explore what we really want for our lives and think about how we can take positive action to effect such change…?
How often are we even really listened to…?
But isn’t that exactly what we want for our children…? That they should play and explore the world without pressure and fears and that they should have the freedom to express themselves and their wishes without judgement or concern. Why then, would we not give that gift to ourselves? How can we lead by example?

These are some of the questions I seek to address as I use art-making exercises to explore each of these things. Last week, beautiful vision boards were created and tiny steps were taken towards living that fulfilling life. This week, we took pleasure in making imperfect pictures. We shared stories, made collaborative art, talked about the beauty of sharing and the power of asking for help. And next week another layer will be peeled… more fears will be faced, more experiences shared.

Travelling home, a little late yesterday, I waited alone at the station for my train. I watched carriage after carriage pull in and pass on. What struck me was the lack of interaction. What frightened me was the solitariness of each individual; the blank expressions; the empty stares and what I thought was how, in each moment on of our day, we pass up on the possibility of connection, be it as simple as eye contact with a stranger or a smile exchanged.

These strangers will be the ones I invite next… they will be the ones I welcome, should they accept the challenge, to kickstart their creativity. There is so much possibility and potential right there on one single busy commuter train. I will be delivering those invitations by hand, with a look in the eye and a smile.

If you feel that you are in a creative slumber from which you wish to awaken, this is your invitation, right here

Whilst on the subject of inspiration and positive change, I have something else I wish to share. Be Creative Daily began on May 1, 2012 with a simple commitment to a 30 Day Challenge. My personal challenge was to do something creative every day for 30 days and share it. So many things have resulted from that simple commitment… everything you see here in fact! Each art class and workshop, every group and creative connection is the result of making a commitment to my art. If you have something you have always wanted to do, a business you have been thinking of, an event you would like to run, there are few things you could do that would make more of an immediate impact than joining me and 200 other people all around the world as we commit to another 30 Day Challenge. Are you in? It can be life-changing.

With love,
Julia x

My June art adventures


June 1, when I committed to:
Doing something creative every day for the next 30 days
Sharing on the blog at least once a week
Being open to any direction my creativity may take me
Being open to any outcome
Sharing my feelings, learnings and realisations as I go through the process
seems like a lifetime away.

How is it possible for time to go so fast, yet for a mere month to feel like so long ago?
At the moment, I feel this way because I did so much more than I expected in the month just gone and in the doing, the time has flown. It has truly been a joyful, art-filled month of exciting discoveries, allowing myself to be free and get in flow.

I started the month sharing videos of my progress, but as June went on and paid work rolled in, there was less time to sit in front of the webcam and the journey became more of an action-based learning than the sharing I had initially intended. In writing this now though, I feel compelled to make a video of my learnings this month, as I realise that I am sharing very few of the details. To do so in a written blog post feels impossible right now, so… watch this space!

I made art almost every day. Some days a simple doodle or sketch; others a finished, framed piece. One of my simplest pieces was an emptying of my head before bed (above). It was a lipstick print of my mouth (representing me talking about what I love) enclosed in a heart (all the things I love) and a tracing around my hand (representing me making my art). The following morning, one of the simplest and most important pieces of advice from my coach summed up my previous night’s art-making in one sentence: “You’ve got to get out there and talk to people about doing what you love”. Yes!

And this is how the month has been.

June was truly a month of getting back to the heart of why I am here; delving deeply into my art and allowing it to flow in all areas of my life. The subtle shifts that have happened; the discoveries and realisations; all of these things, are becoming regular occurrences as I allow myself to do what I love; allow myself to be the artist I want to be; create and live the artist’s life I have longed for. It may seem, to my impatient self, like slow progress in terms of making a sustainable living from this artist’s life, but I feel optimistic that I am on the right path…

This week I created my first Birthday Art Experience for a friend’s 9 year old son. He made a beautiful work of art, way beyond his expectations. His Mum, a designer, is currently working on Art Experience Gift Vouchers for me to offer out to the world – the perfect solution for anyone wishing to give their loved ones the Gift of Art. Last week, I checked out the spaces to hire at Jacksons Lane and am working towards offering a workshop in one of their studios in September (if not before). I know now, that I want to help women connect with their true selves through the creative process.

In terms of personal satisfaction; in filling my daily life with more of what I love; in feeling closer to my true self and living the life of the Play Map in my previous post, this is fast progress indeed. I have spent a day at the coast with the kids, enjoyed other people’s workshops and spent a whole weekend immersing myself in art on a last-minute adventure. I wonder how much of this has to do with the fact that much of my art this month has involved body mapping (above), putting more of myself into my work and exploring my emotions through art. Perhaps the natural outcome is that I step closer to what matters to me. More of that in my next post… I have some wonderful images to share of my indulgent, art-filled weekend away, but for now, I just wanted to let you know that I am still here, working away on my art, finding new ways of sharing.

With love,
Julia x


Working through emotions

Dissolving emotions from Be Creative Daily on Vimeo.

After making the last film which expressed all that I was going through over the weekend, I felt cleansed, I felt stronger.

It was a very vulnerable experience sharing such raw emotions, but the responses I received confirmed that I was doing the right thing in sharing… opening doors for others to express how they feel.

This morning I felt compelled to experiment further with the film, cut it, reverse it, speed it up, to express the fact that sharing the emotions had been a healing experience and had enabled me to confront them, make friends with them, conquer them and move on. (This new film can be seen above.)

It is a long and winding path we travel, but if we acknowledge our feelings and allow ourselves to feel them deeply, we can learn from them also and in doing this, we enable ourselves to feel JOY more deeply too.

This morning, I created a piece of art (see below) which, I hope, illustrates the transformation we make when we embrace our darker, more difficult emotions, work through them and come out the other side shining.

I would love to hear of your own experiences if you feel like sharing.
With love,
Julia x

No more excuses

After yesterday’s post on The joy of painting, I received a comment which prompted me to think in more depth about why I had not started painting sooner.

“I guess it’s the outcome and what others think that might be a big part of the Fear that keeps people from painting.”

This Fear is something I have been talking about, thinking about, reading and writing about a lot lately. Fear plays the biggest part in what keeps us from being true to ourselves Fear stops us from doing things we would love to do; prevents us from moving forward. What if we could live life without this Fear?

Fear, of course, has its place. Fear stops us from doing stupid things; keeps us from harm.
But without Fear…? I think about all of the things I would have done long ago. I think of the all the things I have wanted to do and the excuses I have made for not doing them. We all do it. I know I am not alone. Maybe thinking about what I might have missed; considering some of the opportunities I let pass me by; wondering about some of the things I might have experienced or achieved had I been brave enough to take the leap will spur me on to push past the Fear next time I start making excuses. This may sound as though I have many regrets. I do not. I wonder, yes, but I do not regret… I have always made choices based on my circumstances, experiences and abilities at the time. Now, I choose to put the Fear away.

Painting is a big breakthrough for me. I had put it off for so long, confining my painted creations to postcard size, with a tiny palette of watercolours as my tools. I made excuses: I can’t paint because I don’t have the space; I can’t paint because I don’t have time; I can’t paint because… well I never actually said “I can’t paint because I’m afraid”, but I was. I was afraid that I would not like what I created; afraid that others would not like what I painted; afraid that I would feel like a failure if I tried and… well, failed. My mind was always filled with ideas when I was super-busy, but when I had a moment to myself, the ideas evaporated, or seemed ridiculous, too ambitious, or too boring.

The truth was that I was afraid to paint big. I was afraid to acknowledge how important art is to me and it was the very fact that it is so important was exactly what had kept me from doing it for so long. The excuses of no time, no space, no inspiration seem silly now that I am acknowledging the importance of art in my life. I can spend 20 mins painting instead of aimlessly trawling the internet before I go to bed… and that 20 mins often becomes half an hour. I can do a very large painting with very little space, just by taping a big sheet of paper to a flat wooden board or a wall. It does not matter if I do not have a fully formed idea of what I am doing before I start. In fact, it is better just to start without an idea.

 And it does not matter what emerges, what matters is that you are doing it!

If something is important to you, you can make time and space for it, however small that time or space may be… there is always a place for it.

So, I leave you today with my artist’s manifesto and I hope that you will create your own manifesto… a contract with yourself… a promise to do the things that are important to you and not let fear hold you back any longer.

Artist’s manifesto
Art is of great importance to me
I will make space in my life for art
I will live a multidimensional, colourful, creative life
I will explore every form of expression that interests me
I will no longer let Fear hold me back

Right, what else have I been putting off because I am afraid… and when can I start?

The joy of painting


Brushes, paint, big paper, a pot of water, masking tape, a large piece of wood… these have been my necessary items this past week or so as I have been painting again. Painting big, painting happily, painting often, painting indoors, outdoors, in the morning, evening, late at night.

As the 30 Day Challenge drew to a close at the end of May, the need to create and post here on a daily basis became less urgent. The word “challenge” became less relevant. Finding little pockets of time to create became more natural. Art was becoming a habit again.

With the target of making and posting every day, there was a certain pressure to create. There was a pressure to think of something, pressure to do something, pressure to share it. Whilst that pressure meant that I was fulfilling my target, it also meant late nights, little sleep and what was produced was sometimes forced, not always natural, created from a “must do” rather than “want to”. But the great thing about that pressure was that it made me consider art on a daily basis. It forced me to make time to create. If pushed me into making space for art in my life. And that pressure worked. Now, free from the constraints of daily posting, I find that I want to create. I want to make time. I want to draw, paint, cut and collage. And so I do. The little opportunities to create are now more obvious to me. I seize these little moments to do what I can when I can. If I am out, I carry small paper and pen. If I am home, all that I need is close at hand. Waiting for my coffee to arrive at the café, I have a few moments to sketch a little scene. In that quiet hour after boys’ bedtime and before mine, I turn away from the computer, tape my new big paper to my wooden board and I paint. Art has become a habit. A good habit.

The thing that is missing now is my own voice. I am aware, looking back at the work created over the past couple of month, that there is no clear style to my work. I admire those artists who have a clear voice… a definite stamp of originality… a certain something that marks them out. I like to be able to look at a piece and say, “ah yes, that’s by…” and I am struggling to find my own voice.

No… struggling is not true. It does not feel like a struggle. At the moment, it feels like a journey. I am on a journey to find my own voice. Step by step. Some days, I have a clear idea of what to create… but these days are rare. Very rare. I have realised that this is a good thing. Letting go of expectations has freed me from disappointment at my inability to create on paper what I see clearly in my mind. When I come to a fresh piece of paper and just paint, there are no expectations, no pressure, just the pleasure of painting. And this is something I am loving more and more. I trust that I will one day find my painter’s voice. All in good time.

Feeling the need for a focus and the feeling (after 30 days being part of a 200-strong group of challengers), that I do not want to do this alone, I decided to embark on Connie Hozvicka’s online workshop Total Alignment. With Connie’s virtual hand-holding, video by video guiding you through the process of FEARLESS® painting, paiting without expectations, it’s like hearing my own voice. I am back to the teen-me, the fearless me, the one who just painted… the one who carried a notebook everywhere, who drew, wrote, created on a daily basis and yes, the one who got angry and frustrated, frightened and almost gave up… but then picked up that pen again, went back to the drawing board and drew… drew on the tube, in the street or the café, at home in the early hours… the one for whom art was a part of daily life.

The art I have created this past week or so is not what I would ever have had in mind. In years gone by, I may have hidden it away, thrown it even, but now I feel happy to share. I have posted it here because it is part of the process… another milestone along the path… another step in the right direction.

In painting without expectation, I am free to immerse myself in the process. In painting free from expecation, I am free to explore whatever I wish in any way I wish. In painting free from expectation, it does not matter what comes out. What matters for me now is the process… the feeling… that fabulous freedom of paper, paint, hand, brush… anything is possible.

And this is what I want to share.

This is what I LOVE:
I love taping a new piece of paper to my big piece of wood.
I love the sound of water gushing out of the tap and into the glass jar as I turn the tap on too fast.
I love holding the brush in my hand.
I love the look of those freshly squeezed colours on my palette.
I love the first brushstrokes, putting something, anything on the page.
I love going with the flow.
I love seeing what emerges.
I love the dance of my hand and my brush.
I love walking away.
I love coming back.
I love the fact that I am painting.
I love that I am loving painting.

I want you to feel this too… the joy of painting.
So try it.
Just try… and let me know how it goes.

Bank Holiday Art Days

I have taken a few days off posting here, as a little break from the old computer screen was required following the last big push for the end of the 30DC. I needed to unplug, unwind, recharge. This does not mean that art has taken a back seat… oh no! When I feel the need to unwind and recharge, it is often a gallery that best enables me to do this.

On Saturday, I revisited Yayoi Kusama at Tate Modern. Only recently have I been taking the time to visit exhibitions again on a regular basis. I cannot remember the last time I had the luxury of re-visiting a show, but doing so with Kusama was worthwhile indeed. A month or two after my first visit, having now spent four weeks focusing on my own art, I was viewing with fresh eyes. Artist’s eyes. By the second room, I wanted to go home immediately and start making drawing, painting, layering. I was looking differently, seeing new things. Ideas and techniques popped out at me and I also noticed on second viewing how some of the pieces I have created over the last few weeks may have been (subconsciously) influenced by my first viewing of the show, or at least I was able to see connections… the manipulated self-portraits, collaged and layered works. I felt slightly odd about this, but the exhibition I saw on Monday removed any such feelings of embarrassment at having been inadvertently influenced by another artist.

Bank Holiday Monday began slowly at Dishoom near Leicester Square. Here, I started the day with the most delicious breakfast of granola and chai and drew (without looking at the paper) the table settings in front of me, pencil in hand, finished with pen.

I had half an hour to spare before meeting a friend to view the Turner exhibition at National Gallery and the friendly staff, speedy service and wonderful environment was the perfect start the morning with a sketch and a smile.

Turner Inspired: In the Light of Claude set the paintings of Turner (1775 – 1851) alongside those of Claude Lorrain (1604/5? – 1682), by whom he was greatly influenced (some say obsessed). Turner borrowed, or perhaps we should say copied (both the sketchbook and painted evidence forms the basis of the show) elements of composition as well as his treatment of light as subject from Claude. The Turners on show were not the works that immediately spring to mind when one thinks of the artist, but for a viewer, like myself, not at all familiar with Claude (and I was not the only one… indeed one lady on booking a ticket asked if the Claude referred to Monet!), this was an opportunity to experience the work of an artist previously unknown to me and discover how he had inspired one of Britain’s best-loved English Romantic painters.

At home, in response, I manipulated a self-portrait taken the previous night. The flash in the mirror suggested the sun of Turner’s paintings, so with a little adjustment in iPhoto, I attempted to highlight something of the glow reflected. Perhaps I will work further on this at a later date and add paint to the picture with Turner in mind.

Whilst I enjoyed the Turner exhibition, perhaps more engaging for me as the subject is one very close to my heart, was Jo Rhymer’s lunchtime talk Transforming the Thames. With the Jubilee River Pageant in mind, she took Canaletto’s painted celebration of The Thames on Lord Mayor’s Day as a starting point, Rhymer went on to explore how artists such as Turner, Monet, Sisley and Whistler took inspiration from river to create paintings that portrayed life beyond ordinary observations of the Thames. I was captivated by stories of Frost Fairs on the Thames which were illustrated by Luke Clenell’s images; moved by Rhymer’s reading from Whistler’s Ten o’clock lecture and delighted to be reminded of Alvin Langdon Coburn’s atmospheric photographs of London from c.1900-1909.

At home, I looked back on some of my own photographs of the river of which I am so fond and resolved to return soon at dawn or dusk and try to further capture something of whatever it is that draws me back again and again.

A conclusion, but not an end… let’s play

The 30 Day Challenge concludes today.
The journey of those 30 days is documented here.
When I look at what I have created over this period of 30 days, I see me. I see an artist. I see colour, life and joy. And that is only half of it. What I see here does not include the hearts in the woods that will, by now, have shifted shape, maybe vanished entirely, but hopefully brought a smile to the faces of passers-by. It does not include the photographs of flowers and trees, my word pictures, my first video interview, my unfinished experiments or the painting I left out in the rain to see what happened. I notice, from what I do have here, that I spent roughly half my time making tangible works of art… and the rest was play, but in a different way.

As those of you who have been following or making this journey along with me will know, this past month has been one of transformation. I have broken down some of the barriers I had put up for myself over many years… fears of making bad art, fears of not living up to my own (often unreasonable) expectations, the pressure (put on by none other than me) to produce something good, something original, something worthwhile. I have been reminded of the great joy and sense of inner peace I used to experience from simply putting pen to paper, from letting words and images flow, from looking at the little details in life and in sharing.

I feel liberated and refreshed, invigorated and inspired.

And I feel lucky.
Lucky to have had this amazing experience… to have grasped an opportunity that was offered to me and to have been part of a safe and incredibly supportive community of people, each taking small steps to make big changes in their lives, spurring each other on, offering encouragement on difficult days and celebrating successes together.

And I am grateful.
Grateful to everyone who has taken the time to read these words, look at these pictures, share their thoughts here. I am grateful to all those who have offered advice and ideas. To Selina and John for creating the space to make such change to happen. Thank you. You have all made this experience such a pleasure.

This evening, I will earn my first playcheque, for inviting people into my home to make art with me. How amazing is that? To get paid to do what I love and share that joy with others. My desire is to inspire and I hope that those who attend the workshop this evening will take pleasure in expressing themselves visually and sharing that experience with others.

Creativity has, once again, become an intuitive and joyful expression of who I am.

Creative play is, after all, only natural. It is the one of the first activities we engage in as children and at that stage, it comes without thinking, it is all in the moment, all about exploring, learning, enjoying life. Surely this is something we all need to re-capture and re-live. Today, without thinking, I found myself singing, improvising with my small son… he led, I followed. I made little films of his innocent and amusing games, photographed his funny little experiments with food on his face, then handed him the camera to document the day in his own way.

What if each one of us took every available opportunity to play…?
What if, whenever we were sad or stuck, we tried to play our way out of the situation…? What if, when faced with a difficult decision or awkward situation, we played it out… thought to ourselves, “what would be the most fun way of dealing with this?” and tried that option out…?
My guess is that it may not work in every situation, but I do believe that in many, it would.

So, as the 30 Day Challenge draws to a close, rather than being an end, this was just the beginning… a little introduction, a prelude to what’s to come… the start of a new, playful chapter in what I hope will become a long and adventurous story in which I hope you will also play a part.

 

The joy of the unexpected

Early hours and I after a while of distracting and avoiding I finally embarked on some creative activity, believing I had little time, not sure where to start, I rushed and produced something I am not particularly pleased with, but feel content in the knowledge that I spent creative time, enjoyed the dipping of the brush, the watery paint running down brown paper taped to the wall, finding its path around the line of the oil pastel earlier applied, the time to myself, music setting the tone, birdsong rising, sky lightening, silhouettes coming into focus. This is the best time of the day… the time I usually miss… the stillness and the quiet arrival of morning.

I have been reflecting on my journey over the past four weeks. Of how this little blog has developed and grown. Of how from nothing, I have created something, taught myself things I had been frightened of, and how in such a brief period, that seemed so long, I have gone from a sense of urgent activity to a calmer, more natural productivity, which is what I was originally aiming for, but lost for a while along the way. I realise too, that art was my aim, that I wanted to draw, paint, make, create, but that in becoming an artist I am finding my voice again and what has surprised me is that I often prefer to paint my pictures with words, rather than a brush. This is something I did as a teenager, freely, regularly, always carrying a notebook, doing the odd sketch here, a little drawing there, but writing, always writing. I had forgotten the importance words held for me, but am reminded now, as I find myself returning to my old ways… my patterns of napping early then waking and working into the early hours… patterns that worked well for me as a student, but may need some adjustment now, as a parent. But what is different is sharing… the words are out there, though rarely read at present, they are not tucked away in a little book in a pocket, a bag or a drawer, they are there for the world, if it wishes. There are some strange, vain and slightly uncomfortable feelings attached to this… to this sharing… and I am still not entirely comfortable with it, not yet at ease with opening my heart, making myself vulnerable, but there seems to be some need to do so… some desire to be understood. I know I am not the the only one who often feels alone, wishes to connect, to be heard, appreciated, validated.

I think also there is a desire to create as a way to understand myself, to problem solve from within, to open up a new conversation and find a fresh way forward. It is something I was resistant to at first. An open-ended beginning did not seem to be a clever way of achieving things, surely we need goals, aims, deadlines to do this. But to be open to play, to do things purely for pleasure, to give yourself permission to take off in whichever direction you choose, to explore, experiment, step off the path and down a dusty dirt track to who knows where is deeply liberating. And surprisingly, it has also been the way to finding a clearer path. Not judging, just going with the flow, playing every day, was key to this 30 Day Challenge, a programme devised by John Williams and Selina Barker to inspire creative individuals to put their passions at the forefront of their lives for one month and see where it leads. And the outcome is often not what one expects. Many of the 200 people embarking on this challenge found that around half way through the month, they wanted answers, wanted progress, a clear way forward, but then discovered that it is only when you let go of these expectations and just let things flow that the answers present themselves and something slowly becomes clear. In giving myself the freedom to express thoughts and ideas in this playful way, taking the pressure off and injecting the fun back in, I found my own way forward. My breakthrough came whilst enjoying a play day at home. Immersed in art, music on, I realised that I was so happy, doing what felt natural to me, painting, printing, making art, and that only one thing was missing… having someone there to share it with. So I decided to offer art workshops here at home. Within a three days of posting details of my first workshop on the web, it was full. That workshop will be held here tomorrow evening. I am both excited and nervous in equal measure. This, I believe is the perfect combination… the excitement being surely what one would wish to feel about any fun thing that they have chosen to do… and the nerves reminding me that this is something very important to me, something I care about, something I want it to go well.

As this 30 Day Challenge draws to a close and I near the end of this particular journey, another is beginning. I find it hard to explain the joy of watching people make things happen, change their lives, live their dreams, see them come alive, shine. It may sound pie in the sky, but for many of those who took this challenge, change is the reality, however big or small, it is always significant.

I had the pleasure of meeting some of the other challengers last Wednesday when we gathered together at the Royal Festival Hall to exchange stories face to face. One man had ridden the underground for the first time since the London bombings to be there. This stuff is changing lives. One challenger is sharing his music with the world… a small step for some, but a big leap for one who has previously thrown everything he has created away. Some are telling their stories in blogs or books and others are finding new ways of keeping old traditions alive or distributing the knowledge of their elders. New websites, businesses, destinies and passions are emerging.

I do not know my next destination… and this time, I do not wish to know. I want to enjoy the journey one step at a time, take in all the details, meet new friends along the way… revel in the joy of the unexpected.

30 Day Challenge Meet-up at the Royal Festival Hall, May 23, 2012. Photograph: Barry Pitman