Blog : Passion

Whilst Walking Alone

Whilst Walking Alone

When we are walking alone we perhaps notice more about our surroundings than when we walk with a companion. I know that when I am alone, I take greater care of where I place my feet, what the weather is doing, what smells drift past me and how I see. I mainly walk with others, I enjoy walking with friends and family and I am far more familiar with this but when I ended up alone in the Lake District for half a week I was determined to go and explore without the comfort of being accompanied. The weekend before I had been nervous and apart from researching a little I tried to push it from my mind.

I was lucky and the Lakes greeted me with fine weather, my adventure had begun. I quickly researched some simple walks and the area of Greendale caught my attention. It was described as a remote walk up to Greendale Tarn, perfect. I drove an hour and parked on some grass: packed a small rucksack and headed up the hill. The path followed the river all the way up to Greendale tarn. After an hour and a half walk up, I was hot from the steep incline and said to myself all the better for cooling off. I tried to use any excuse to push me to take the plunge.

Learning from my first dip in Spitchwick River I was going to try and find an area in the tarn that wasn’t only knee height. I skirted around the tarn until the reeds stopped and the water turned obsidian, this was the spot. Looking around, I was completely alone; this was another reason why I should go for a swim. I set a camera up, whipped my clothes off revealing my mismatched bikini and grabbed my go pro.  One step, two steps, three steps, breathe. I have watched films where people make this look easy, for me, it is far from easy, far from elegant as I slip and slide, gasp, pant, and make many hissing noises from my mouth and panicked facial expressions. What I realise in the fleeting moments is that my brain is recognising pain and has already decided that to go deeper means sudden death, I push on and when I get the courage to dunk, my brain is totally proved wrong, my upper body isn’t even that fussed by the cold and it’s suddenly quite easy. I have proved my instincts wrong and I swim forward. However, another part of my brain now decides that most definitely something is beneath me in the black. I try to touch the floor and when I can’t the panicked expression comes back. I can swim well but suddenly my imagination takes over and I decide to swim a little more and then swim to get out. I clumsily climb out, feeling a lot like the little mermaid trying to walk for the first time.  I jump up and down to keep warm and slowly pull my clothes back on, my leggings sticking to my wet legs. I feel revitalised and full of courage. I take in the views as I walk back down to my car, watching every step I place on the wet rocky path. As I get back to my car, the light starts to fade and I sit inside the car marveling at how invigorating my adventure had been.

The Space Outside // Knowledge and Wisdom is being launched on my website, www.shimnixfilms.co.uk, on the 1st January 2018. Start the year right, by listening to some incredible people share their ideas of what adventure means to them.

Taking The Plunge

Taking The Plunge

 

 

I have decided to explore some of the suggested adventures, which are featured in my second film. My main aim is to create an introduction with movement before the interviews commence. I started with a journey to Spitchwick River on Dartmoor, which was recommended to my boyfriend and I by some dear friends and was also mentioned in the Wild Guide South West book by Daniel Start, who is also featured in the second film.

“Ed, my boyfriend, drives us through the autumnal woodland till we get to a very busy car park. Kayaks and people fill every available space and there is lots of energy and adventure around us. I, however, sit in the car looking at all these people outside thinking ahhh! How do I get up the nerve to go to the river, take off my warm clothes and get into the river? I also have the added pressure I have created for myself, to film this event for the second Space Outside film. After some encouragement from Ed, I step outside and film him flicking through the pages of the Wild Guidebook. I then have a freakout and sit back in the car. This is out of my comfort zone and this is going to take a big step to push myself out into going on an adventure. We have a chat, mostly about how I feel a fraud and how high my anxiety levels are. But in this talk, Ed brings me around and I find calm, the car door opens and I step out. I have no idea how to film myself, I am used to filming other people. So I organise my kit the best I can and we set off. The walk does me good and I focus on the beautiful surroundings. Then we reach the section of the river that is well known for swimming in the warmth of the summer months. However it is mid-November and no one is around and only Kayakers can be found on the river, which is perhaps a good thing! I settle on wanting to film a section of the river that is hit with red, yellow and orange reflections of autumnal beech Trees, it is so beautiful that I do not take in to account the height of the water in this section. I look around, still no one. I have brought my wetsuit but the light is going to be behind trees soon so I discard the suit and after some explaining to Ed how to focus the camera manually, I whip my clothes off, realising how white and hairy I am, eek! Great now my body will be on camera and I forgot to shave. But I had the reassurance that it was my footage and if I didn’t like it I didn’t need to show it. Suddenly two people turn up, oh great! Now I have an audience, however, they yell out encouragement and I shout back with my thanks.

Remembering some advice from Myrtle Simpson, who’s advice features in the second The Space Outside film, I walk into the river very slowly and go up to my knees. I then start to walk in the middle of the river to get deeper but the levels stay at my knees, so I slowly with lots of panting and deep breathing sit down. I then declare that this is enough and stand up, take one step and slip, plunging myself up to the neck, I yelp and Ed shouts out, after laughing at my clumsiness “well you’re in now, so you may as well swim!” I turn around and start to breaststroke the width of the river, the current is quite strong and I am very aware of this so make sure I swim against the current.  I think I lasted maybe 2 minutes before striding out of the water to my towel. But I did it and my body feels tingly and revitalised. I slowly and very shakily put my clothes back on and Ed commands me to run to a distant tree and back due to my dramatic shaking. I run and run and feel even more exhilarated. *

We walk back and I sit back in the car, where I had sat only an hour before, crying from the fear of stepping outside my comfort zone. But I did it and now I know that it is not that bad, in fact, it was great and in that step into the water and that accidental slip I stretched my comfort zone. “

*I have recently been told, by Freyja Hedinsson, who features in the second The Space Outside film, that during and after being in the cold water some people can experience a drop in core body temperature; due to the blood rushing to the bodies extremities. So make sure after your wild swim, you have a warm beverage and if this is not to hand wrap up warm and have a run.

If anyone has any more tips please do share!

What is an Adventure?

What is an Adventure?

Since April I have been interviewing people for the second installment of The Space Outside. I have traveled across the country and met remarkable people; I set out to understand how to go on adventures but soon started to look at what we perceive an adventure to be. Every person I talked to, in my eyes, was being adventurous but in fact, some of them disagreed with me, stating that, what they are doing is choosing a lifestyle that gets them outside.  This led me to see adventure as a frame of mind; maybe we say it to make something more exciting and therefore the word adventure actually has a huge amount of sway over how we perceive what we are doing. Something that seems normal to you may seem adventurous to others. Getting outside of the comfort zone is for me at the heart of whether something feels adventurous and because everyone’s comfort zone is different that means everyone’s adventures should be different too. Deciding that the only way of going on an adventure is by climbing massive mountains or sailing around the world is somewhat of a limiting belief.  Throughout the year the film has evolved to include the many stages of Womanhood and the title has changed from The Space Outside // Practicalities to The Space Outside // Knowledge and Wisdom. This second film shows adventure in all shapes and sizes and aims to connect more people with a notion that they have the power to decide how they want to take a step outside their comfort zone and that they do not need to measure the step against someone else’s.

 The Space Outside // Knowledge and Wisdom will be launched on my website on the 1st January 2018

Over Mountains and Under Water

Over Mountains and Under Water

We drove over 1300 miles, our car with teeth that bit into the ice sheeted roads.

Iceland is every bit as magical as you can imagine. You look up to the sky of dancing lights, you look out to the mountainous horizon and you look down to the snow and lava fields that crunch beneath your feet.

On the road in Iceland
                                                                                  

   The city of Reykjavik has a strong arts culture/community and we happened across the Winter Lights Festival, where all the art museums and swimming pools were open for the weekend and creative happenings were located throughout the city. We managed to be at the opening of the festival, where Icelandic Artist Ingvar Björn, projected volcanic eruptions on to the Hallgrímskirkja church whilst orchestral music played in the background.

Hallgrímskirkja church

After a long day out exploring the golden circle we were driving back to our accommodation when we saw the green shimmer of light in the sky. It felt so sudden and easy, to stumble across this phenomenon. We chased it to a well known spot and sat in awe for over an hour watching the lights play in the sky.

Northern Lights

The little island, Videy, near Reykjavik, gave us stunning views of the nearby landscape. The grass shone golden and the sky sat moodily with heavy rain clouds.

Mountains from Videy

We walked for an hour over snow to the D3-Plane Wreck, which sat alien in its environment. Tourists clambered over, under and in the plane to get the best photo.

D3-Plane Wreck

A storm hit on our last day and we spent three hours in the Blue Lagoon being blown around the warm pool. The sheltered spots were a welcome rest from the prevailing wind.

Iceland has a rugged beauty with a stark, harsh environment.

Tourism is starting to take hold of Reykjavik. Whilst the locals try to preserve the culture, there is a tension between the rise of tourism-based buildings and the fall of community-led space. We spoke to one of the owners of a co-operative art gallery, who told us that their gallery was soon to be torn down for new tourist accommodation. We wished her luck and walked out into the high street of Reykjavik.

Even though there was an apparent creeping in of American influence, there was still a real beating heart in Iceland’s capital city. The art within the Winter Lights Festival was full of young and old blood and had an amazing energy that we had happened to walk into.

The Icelandic humour was very apparent and dry; little signs would catch you by surprise and make you smile.

Bus stop

I look back on this adventure with a real mix of feelings, a little sad but most of all with a sense of respect for the people of Iceland who brave the cold, harsh climate and dark hours with a persistence and humour that can teach us all about not taking life too seriously.

Till next time, Iceland.

jess in iceland

Boot Camp for the Soul

Boot Camp for the Soul

North Devon is perceived by many as a hard place to make a career and life you love. This is why a lot of young people move out – to go live in a city or a place that is better established for connections, creativity, events and jobs.

I love living in North Devon and I want to tell you why.

North Devon produces ‘Makers’, people who see potential and make stuff happen, whether it be events, musical gigs, community groups or creative projects.

A lot of people have the perception that North Devon is sleepy compared to South Devon or Cornwall. I combat this perception through searching, asking and creating.

  • If there isn’t a group for something that you love, Search for other people who also enjoy your passion.
  • Ask people what they want from a group.
  • Create the group.

Not every group flourishes, but you’ll never know till you try! North Devon has great spaces to hold groups, including village halls, art centres, theatres. Remember, people often have to travel a long way to be a part of something so, like most things, promoting your group/event and creating a buzz of excitement, is really important!

North Devon is stunning, raw, gritty and a blank canvas. Some people see the blank canvas as a negative, but a blank canvas is a source for potential, with endless possibilities.

North Devon hones people’s passion-  a Boot Camp for the soul. People who love to live in North Devon are people who have determination, drive, stamina and a passion that is shaped by the surrounding beauty, rugged charm and silent remoteness.

Many people live a happy, fulfilled, passion-driven life in North Devon, if you are not one of them, take off your shoes and go for a long walk on one of North Devon’s beaches. Put on walking boots and hike in one of it’s many woods. Or stretch on your wetsuit and go for a refreshing swim in a North Devon harbour. You may just realise that North Devon has the space to allow your mind to wander, wonder and to figure out what it is you want and need from life.

Feature Photo credit: Wend Baker “Wuzzy Point, Westward Ho! North Devon”

Title Credit: Pete Yeo

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The Why, The How, The What

The Why, The How, The What

I recently watched a great ted talk from Simon Sinek, “How great leaders inspire action.”

He states that when engaging people, it is so much more important that we look and discuss the Why, then the How and lastly the What.

Why we do what we do, How we do it and then lastly What we do.

I am interested in how this relates to film and how I am developing my films to explore my own way of engaging with audience’s.

I strive to make films of people who have passion. This is simply because passionate people engage me. The spark in their eye, their love for life and drive to work hard at what they cherish, is captivating.

Passion is an authentic ‘Why’.

My favourite films to watch, and films that are generally really well received, including promotional films, are creating or portraying this authentic Why.

“Find Your Love” promotional film, doesn’t even seem like a promotional film. It is way more than just promoting a yoga retreat; it promotes a passion for life, a way of life and also talks about not regretting life.

Films are using this passion to invite people to be inspired by the notion of a more fulfilling life. This becomes way more than just a promotional for a yoga retreat, it is a mantra!

Life has become pretty disconnected and these films are tapping into this lack of connection to engage.

I recently saw a viral promotional film for an up market spa.  It featured elderly ladies talking to camera about what they would have done differently in their lives.  This included emotive things such as, worrying less, kissing for longer, staying up later with a loved one and eventually led to the fact they wished they should have relaxed more. The promotion ends with the solution, The Spa.

Why- To help people relax and enjoy their lives. To not regret their lives.

How – By giving them a place to relax.

What – An upmarket spa.

The emotion and the message is relatable to a wide range of women and men watching the film. It is inspiring whilst also offering up a life lesson. People feel engaged when they can relate.

I think people who really love what they do in life, often emphasise the Why within conversation.   The Why is the most important part for them, the How and the What could be manifested in a 100 different ways, but the Why foundation stays the same.

We have all been asked in a social situation, “so what do you do?”. This question conditions us to answer with What we do. This so easily stops the conversation, what if we answered with Why?

So try this out in your next conversation and see how you feel about it and what comes from it.

Also check out the Ted talk and see what you think.

Feature Photo Credit: Ruth Farrar from Shextreme http://www.shextreme.tv

Jess Pearson, Shimnix Films and Jody Hartley, Jody Hartley Photography, Bulgaria December 2015

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