I’ve been feeling a little uninspired recently – and I was a little worried about it.
But then I realised that it’s all okay – I don’t have to be on my ‘A game’ every single day when it comes to creativity in my personal life. I don’t have to take photos every day. I don’t have to write every day. I would never post anything that I wasn’t happy with.
It’s a natural thing – life is full of ups and downs – ebbs and flows – whatever you like to call it.
Life is for living and loving and doing what feels right.
I think I just got my creative inspiration back…
Until next time Wanderlusters. Peace.
I was staying with my friend in her Clapham apartment. I’d only just arrived in London and I was spending my days and nights looking for flats and jobs and daydreaming of adventure. I spotted a Facebook post from Rebecca Litchfield. She was upset because the model that she’d booked for the job had pulled out at the last minute. I messaged her immediately and she said she’d love to have me involved. We’d both been wanting to work together for a while so it was almost like it was meant to be.
I met Rebecca at Clapham Junction and we caught the train out to a station nearby the manor house we would be shooting in the next morning. Matt and Richie met us at the train station. It was the first time Rebecca had met either of them but they all knew each other from urbex forums. We did the standard introductions and then we were off. It was only a short 15 minute drive to Bull Manor. We weren’t technically meant to be there so we parked the car around the corner and then under the cover of darkness we quietly snuck down a muddy path and… that’s where we came across out first obstacle. All the winter rain had turned what was previously a large ditch in to a rather deep creek. Luckily we came across a fallen tree and we all took turns in crossing the rotting log on to the opposite bank. Richie went first with his sleeping bag in one hand and his camera and clothes in another. He made it nearly all the way across before slipping on the rotting bark and falling in to the water. He pulled himself out pretty quickly but the main concern was the camera. We needed to get in to the manor first before checking the damage. After Richie had slipped we all knew to be extra cautious and we passed all our camping gear across the creek before crawling along to the other side.
Once we crossed we then had a whole new challenge to face. As silent as could be we had to climb a rusted old fence – the boys being such lovely gentlemen helped me across silently we crossed fields and jumped more fenced this time they were covered in barbed wire. I must admit that I was a little apprehensive when we approached the house and I saw the razor wire that surrounded the building. Luckily my new friends knew the way in. The rest of our entrance I’m going to have to leave out but it was very challenging and took us a rather long time with all of our gear.
When we entered the house the first thing that surprised me was all the stuff! No one ever moved out of there. All their things were just there. Left to rot. We couldn’t see much in the night and we didn’t want to turn our torches on just in case someone saw us – so we set ourselves up with a few candles for light and sat around chatting in to the wee hours of the morning. Everything in the house was damp so we sat on bin bags to keep the moisture out. It was a freezing night and I was very grateful to be dry and in a very toasty sleeping bag. Sadly the same couldn’t be said for Richie – all his clothes and his sleeping bag were damp from his fall in to the creek. We chatted late in to the night and they all exchanged stories of their adventures. I listened intently – they certainly fanned the flames of my wanderlust fire. Urbex is like a whole new world to me and a very interesting one at that.
By the time we went to sleep I was completely exhausted. We rolled our bin bags out on the floor – jumped in to our sleeping bags with our pillows zipped up inside with us. I slept like the dead. who would have thought? We woke at first light and I saw the true haunting beauty of this abandoned manor house. The house itself was 4 stories high and an impressive stained glass ceiling. We could only reach the first two stories as the other staircases had rotted and fallen down. The boys ventured further than we had using a ladder that was in the house. We got my hair and makeup ready while we were waiting for the sun to rise. Then we spent the next few hours shooting barefoot around the decapitated house… I have never been so cold in my life! My feet completely lost feeling but somehow were still really painful. Thank goodness it was worth it. It was so so worth it.
I had an adventure. I had a brand new experience. I made some wonderful new friends and we created some beautiful images.
Love to hear from you so leave me a comment below or tweet with me @jessicaswander.
Until next time wanderlusters.
I love photography. Phew – there I said it.
I’ve been around cameras for years and years. I guess it was bound to happen. I was a little bit embarrassed to tell people that I had been taking images because I thought that no one would take me seriously. But recently as part of my job I’ve been taking lots of photos and have even had a few of them published!
I went to Peter Andre’s album launch last Wednesday and took these…
Sadly I can’t take credit for this one… Peter Andre took this one.
AAAAAAnnnyways, I always love to hear from you so leave a comment below or tweet with me @jessicaswanderlust
Photographer: Rebecca Litchfield
Model: Jessica Nicole Griffiths
Gowns: The Couture Company
Location: Bull Manor
Let me know what you think – leave a comment below or tweet me @jessicaswander
I had an “ah-ha moment” a few years back when I was in Bali for one of Eoin Finn’s YES (Yoga Ecology Surf) retreats.
It was the final day of the retreat and I was getting dressed for our last dinner together in one of the bigger houses. I’d already packed up my backpack in preparation to move on to beautiful inland Ubud for the next week or so and I realised just how little I had with me and just how little I actually needed.
Fast forward to November 2013 when I was packing up my bags and getting rid of all my possessions. It was absolutely liberating. I don’t want to waste money on trivial things like more handbags, ornaments, clothes, shoes, jewellery, cosmetics or perfumes. When you really think about it how much do those things actually add to your life? How many hours working did you spend to be able to afford that watch your wearing to make sure you catch your train on time? Now I’m not saying I’ve gone all minimalist and have gotten rid of all my material possessions because I haven’t. I just realised that some of the best things in life are not all that expensive and I’d rather spend my money on a grand adventure than a grand gown that will sit in my closet until I find somewhere to wear it. I’d rather work hard at what I love doing then spend each day commuting in to a job that I don’t enjoy just so I can afford the Claude Maus jacket I’ve been lusting after.
Less is almost always more,
p.s. I always love to hear from you guys, so please leave a comment below, or tweet with me @jessicaswander
As of today I’ve been in England for 45 days.
I’ve been up to York and walked along the walls, seen York Minster, Walked up on the North Yorkshire Moors, been to lots of pubs, been welcomed in to people’s homes to spend Christmas and New Years. I’ve been driven through old towns, slept the night in a dilapidated manor in the name of art, wandered the streets of London, partied till dawn and practiced yoga with one of my idols and made lots of new friends…
Needless to say its been a wicked time.
But now I’m ready to get settled in to living and working in London. The whole reason I decided to move here was because I just wanted to change the focus of my life to what I wanted rather that the life I was leading previously which was wholly focused on what other people wanted. That might sound a little selfish but I know that changing my life focus to be on what makes me happy I will then be in a position to actually help others more.
So now the challenge has been finding something that I want to do and finding someone who will give me the opportunity to do it. My work experience has been mostly in Finance Administration and not much else but I’m hopeful that the right opportunity will come along.
I feel like I am exactly where I need to be right now. I love London. I love my new friends. I love my old friends who have settled here and I love getting to know my cousins. Now is the time to get settled in, put my backpack away and create the life that I think I deserve…
Now back to finding the perfect flat…