If you didn’t catch my news, I’m pregnant and baby is due anytime now! It’s strange knowing that life is going to change, a lot, but I have no idea when that moment may begin.
I have always run Wild Folk as a side project, and it has become more that way as I have gone from part-time employed work to full-time since September 2021. I am well aware that my priorities may change a lot as I become a mother, and my capacity will too. I didn’t end up running any events this year as my full-time job was enough to manage alongside being pregnant and by Spring I was already 6 months’ pregnant. I have missed being out in the woods as much this year, but have also embraced what has been needed of me for this season.
But, I still wanted to share some of the things that I have been pondering on for Wild Folk over the last year or so. I’d like to think my values won’t change drastically, maybe they’ll tighten, but these ideas are all based around my values and what I know – so far – are my gifts to bring. I’m holding things lightly and with curiosity, so these aren’t promises of things I will definitely bring, but putting them out there and seeing what the future brings… Of course, I’ll never be able to do all of these, or at least not all at the same time!
- Retreats and team days
I am really keen to grow Wild Folk in a way that’s sustainable and brings in regular income. So far, the profit has mostly gone back into the business and I haven’t seen much of it. But I would love to be able to spend more time out in nature, facilitating spaces for people hungry for nature time, respite, rest, community, inspiration, space. Offering one-day retreats and longer weekend events could be a way for me to build some regular income. This feels like a big leap and one I’ve been sitting on for almost a year now (mostly because working full-time I just haven’t found the headspace to work it all out). Two of the things I really want to focus on with these events are community and solitude, together. That’s what I keep coming back to. Offering people real spaciousness and rest, alongside really enriching and nourishing community and inspiration. Team days for companies is also something I’d be interested in offering too. I hope to work some of this out while on maternity leave and see how I could give it a go.
- Wellbeing days for charities
I’ve worked for lots of charities over the years and I would love to offer a Wild Folk event to charities for their team or the people they work with. To do this, I think I would need funding to offer it subsidised or for free, or find charities who have funding for such things.
- More magic-filled events – music, collaboration, food
I really loved the Winter Solstice event I hosted in December 2022. We had delicious food, a great turnout, magical storytelling from Pridie and then unexpectedly, many of us sharing stories and songs and poems round the fire. It really filled me up for the weeks that followed, and I think it did for many of the attendees too. It was very… soul warming? I’d like to hold more of these kind of spaces – ones that have room for people to participate and co-create something together, and support us to welcome in the different seasons. There’s also LOADS more people and businesses I would like to collaborate with and celebrate – including poetry sessions, forest bathing, feasts, and more. As an event host and planner, one of my favourite parts of putting on an event is the planning stage and working with different people, planning something usually completely bespoke.
- Creating content for brands
I am hesitant in including this one in some ways. It’s something I’ve dabbled with in the last two years with gifted products. On the one hand, I’ve really enjoyed being given the opportunity to play, come up with my own concepts and to just create something. It reminded me of being back doing A Level Art Graphics. It felt really freeing. On the other hand, it also brought up big imposter syndrome feelings – I am not a photographer, I am completely learning as I go, there’s a lot of trial and error and so I’m quite slow with it. The content also tends to need me to feature in the content too (unless I make it more complicated and invite others to pose for me), and that can be a bit scary in itself too and I need to be comfortable with what I produce. Still, I think it’s good to get outside of my comfort zone and I hope to build up my confidence with this. I really enjoy celebrating brands and businesses with good purposes so this is also a really nice part of it. If I find my groove with it, it’s another potential income stream, so I’m just playing with it for now.
- Making videos on YouTube
The thing I mainly go to on a Sunday night when I tend to have more time is making videos (and watching YouTube vlogs while I do!) I still have quite a few ‘stories’ I want to capture and bring some kind of closure to by making a video. I have sporadically shared these over on YouTube, and taken the opportunity to learn more as I play and experiment. At the moment, this is just for fun and is a way to document and share trips we’ve been on, but I’ve had lots of ideas over the past few years of things I could create videos about. Maybe one day I’ll have the head space to work on some of these ideas.
Singing is something that has been coming up for me over and over again as something I could potentially offer. It can be so nourishing and connecting when done with a group of people. Some of my favourite moments on camps are the times singing around the fire. I try and bring singing into my events – so far just at the Winter Solstice events. I am not a professional singer or interested in training to be a singing teacher, but I have always sung lots – in youth choir, making up songs with my sister, and always tending to sing harmonies. In various things I’ve read, I have also heard about how we use our voice can impact the rest of our body and our wellbeing which I’d love to hear more about. I love the idea of singing being a form of release and expression. I heard about Singing Mamas on a podcast who are building a great movement of women setting up singing groups for mums across the country. I really love their ethos and the accessible format of it – they don’t use complicated songs and welcome anyone to train. They’re also starting to work with the NHS to offer singing groups to people as a social prescribing option. I’m interested in doing their training to give me a jumpstart, even if I decide I don’t want to run a group for mums specifically. Of course, if I was to start a singing group I would want it to be in the middle of a lovely green calming space 🙂
I love this quote about singing from Katherine May:
But I was glad to sing again, too. … It wasn’t about the vanity of being able to trill out a fine song; it was about the joy of singing for its own sake. In twenty-first century Britain, we’ve linked singing with talent, and we’ve got that fundamentally wrong. The right to sing is an absolute, regardless of how it sounds to the outside world. We sing because we must. We sing because it fills our lungs with nourishing air, and lets our heart soar with the notes we let out. We sing because it allows us to speak of love and loss, delight and desire, all encoded in lyrics that let us pretend that those feelings are not quite ours. In song, we have permission to rehearse all our heartbreaks, all our lusts. In song, we can console our children while they are still too young to judge our rusty voices, and we can find shortcuts to ecstasy while performing the mundane duty of a daily shower, or scrubbing down the kitchen after yet another meal. […] Like the robin, we sometimes sing to show how strong we are, and sometimes sing in hope of better times. We sing either way.’Page 259 of Wintering by Katherine May
- Passive income project with Tom
We have an idea for something that’s design and print based that if we could get set up should in theory create some passive income which we’re both really interested in. It’s on the back burner for now, but I plan to do some things for it in maternity leave and see where it goes. It felt like a good use of our different skills – Tom, my husband, is a brilliant graphic designer, website builder and coder and I would do the project management, marketing and orders and so on.
The last two aren’t Wild Folk related, more general aspirations I wanted to document.
- Therapeutic life story work
I did a one-day online training course with Richard Rose in my previous job in 2022. It was all about therapeutic life story work and I was completely drawn in – which is rare for me with online training! I was so inspired by what Richard was sharing – both in the theory and concepts of the narrative model and in the stories of children and families he has worked with. I’m really keen to do the diploma and offer this work as a freelancer. So far, the timing and locations of the courses haven’t been right, but if it comes together, and I can find a way to finance it, then hopefully I can do this. This work is particularly used with young people who are in care and are ready to understand more about their history and to work through it. It was really good to hear the impact this work can have, too, on the relationships around them – improving the relationship with carers and adoptive parents with their child, for instance. The other thing that was really powerful was hearing stories of how children came to learn of the truth of how they had come to be in care, sometimes undoing untruths they had believed about themselves or the situation which could be more harmful than the truth. It’s not a quick fix by any means, but I can see it being part of the path to healing for many young people. I also wonder if, in the long term, I could bring in my own flavour of nature ‘therapy’ and hold my sessions in an outdoor space for added layers of benefits!
- Running my own youth group as part of a team
This might be me in a few years’ time, not for just yet. But when I was working as a social work assistant, I found I was working with a lot of girls (age 9-12) who were a bit ‘quieter’, or at least due to their current circumstances, and would have found a traditional youth group a bit overwhelming – you know, table tennis table, games, mingling, etc. I wondered if I could offer something nature-based, sit round the fire, play card games, have a creative corner, etc. And it would be a chance for them to meet other young people in a gentle way. I don’t think I would have capacity for this for a while now, but I just wanted to capture it as something that has been on my heart. This, or perhaps doing short camps or days in the woods for a group of girls like this.
If you’ve read this, thanks for being interested – or curious at least 😀 Feel free to come and say hi and comment on any of these over on Instagram – send me a message or leave a comment in my latest Instagram post about this.[Photo by Emma Croman]