Ahoy shipmates, new and old! It’s been a wee while since we caught up with each other. Why don’t you come away in and I’ll put the kettle on? There’s biscuits in the barrel, so jist you fill yer boots and make yersel’ at home. What’s my chat? Why don’t you read on and I’ll tell you all about it …
It was whilst sitting in a coffee shop the other week that a flash of inspiration took hold of me and my pen went into hyper mode all over a page of my notepad. I had been brainstorming ideas for the blog and thinking of better ways to engage my readers. As much as I still want it to be an alternative, off-the-beaten-track guide to Scotland, the areas of self-improvement, mental health and wellbeing have always appealed to me. Looking for ways in which to weave these strands into the blog alongside tales of my travels has been a goal of mine for some time now. And so, I sat with myself and listened, and The 21 Day Challenge started to form.
The 21 Day Challenge
Ok, so here’s the idea. I have filled a jar with 21 Day Challenges which are creative, mental, intellectual, physical or spiritual. Every Monday I will pull one of these ideas out of the jar and post the challenge on my blog and Instagram. After 21 days the challenge ends and I will blog about it. Simples. Here’s where you come in though because I would LOVE to see as many of you out there joining me! It’s going to be a fun self-development journey of learning about what makes us tick. I truly do believe that ‘Change Is Possible’ and that in order to show up in the world as our best self, we need to be constantly evolving and challenging ourselves. So, are you up for this?
If so, here’s Challenge #1
21 days all about following your curiosity and letting it nudge you towards things that you really want to know about. I’m excited! My Day 1 stop is definitely going to be researching all about the stunning Patagonia region of South America.
Where will your curiosity take you today and what incredible things will you learn? Keep me posted! I’d be delighted to hear from you!
Love Gill x
So, it’s been 21 days since I wrote the first part of this blog entry and my first 21 Day Challenge is done and dusted. But how did I get on?
Follow Your Curiosity
When I began this first challenge, I was buzzing with ideas for things I wanted to learn more about such as where in the world Patagonia was, literary icons that I wanted to discover and cool, natural phenomenon such as Brocken spectres. Initially, my mind was firing off curiosity sparks left, right and centre, and I was happily sharing my findings in my Instagram Stories. Then I started to hit a bit of a lull. It’s not that I suddenly became any less interested in our fascinating world, but I did start to feel that I was putting myself under pressure to come up with interesting topics to find out about.
Normally, if something taps me on the shoulder and beckons me to find out more about it, I am eager and hooked from the word go. Hours pass and chores round the house fall to the wayside as I become ensconced with my latest obsession. During this knowledge challenge, reading about then assembling Instagram Stories became more like a chore. I felt my focus shift from a place where I simply followed my curiosity to what would make an interesting Instagram Story and then, the associated curating that went with this.
I guess the lesson I learned with this challenge was that you can’t force learning if the will to learn isn’t there. The learning mojo needs to be activated in order to get the most out of the subject/ area of interest. You also need energy to learn and expound on things, and I think that I was running out of mental steam, trying to convey what I had learnt via Instagram. It didn’t help that I started this challenge during the penultimate week of school term, when all my tired brain wanted to do was to hang up my educator’s hat and brain fart for a while.
That’s not to say that the topics I learnt about weren’t interesting or intriguing (check out my Instagram Stories if you want to know more) and I did genuinely discover a new-found passion for old Roman roads! I truly do feel way more enlightened and informed than I did 21 days ago. One thing’s for sure, I would pick me for any pub quiz team now! All things considered, there are few things in life more indulgent and pleasurable than delving deep into a subject matter you really want to know about. Therefore, I’m all for continuing my learning journey and following my curiosity when the instinct takes me. Perhaps just not every day on Instagram!
The Topics Covered
Here’s every topic I researched over the course of the 21 days:
Day 2 – Colette, the French writer.
Day 3 – The Scottish National Trail (I am still buzzing about this one. Watch this space …)
Day 4 – Felt, the cult, 80’s indie band.
Day 5 – Scotland vs England International football games (it is the Euros after all!)
Day 6 – La Belle Epoque era of France (1880 – 1914).
Day 7 – Brocken Spectres.
Day 8 – Midsummer and summer solstice traditions from different European countries.
Day 9 – Pine Martens (god, they’re CUTE!)
Day 10 – The Gotthard Tunnel in Switzerland which is the longest tunnel in the world at 35 miles long!
Day 11 – Powderhall Stables here in Edinburgh. I drive past this stunning building daily and have always been curious about what it formerly was.
Day 12 – The world’s tallest statue of Jesus Christ (108ft tall) which dominates the wee town of Świebodzin in western Poland.
Day 14 – Culzie Lodge, the Instagram-famous, wee, pink hoose on the shores of Loch Glass in the highlands.
Day 15 – Newhailes Estate in East Lothian.
Day 16 – The Brahan Seer aka Scotland’s Nostradamus.
Day 17 – Sir Geoff Palmer, human rights activist, scientist, academic and all-round dude.
Day 18 – Anais Nin, the writer and diarist, of whom I am now determined to read all of her works!
Day 19 – Dere Street, the old Roman road that ran between York, England and the Antonine Wall near Falkirk, Scotland.
Day 20 – The German word, ‘Sprechgesang‘ which means spoken singing.
Day 21 – The confluence of the Rhone and Arve rivers in Geneva, Switzerland which has to be seen to be believed!