This project has made me think a lot about my relationship to where I live. Moving here from London, to one of the most remote places in Britain, was an extreme decision to make. Deciding not to leave for a year is arguably even more extreme and has challenged me to examine why it is I have chosen to be here and to stay for as long as I have.
I remember very clearly standing on a beach on the west coast of the peninsular watching the sunset and having the sudden conviction that my life was going to change forever as a result of that moment. I think I knew I would move here then. I made a deal with myself to leave it for a year and if I still wanted to come back I would. That was six years ago.
I came originally because I needed a holiday. I wasn’t very happy at the time. I’d just finished an MA and returned to London after spending a few years living in the Pennines studying and writing. There was a lot of pressure and expectation. My MA was in screenwriting and lots of people thought my final year piece had potential and wanted to read the next draft. Everyone else was telling me how well things were going, but I felt lost and unable to write. I had no money and had just split up with my boyfriend after finding out he was having an affair.
I spent the trip working on organic gardens as a cheap way of travelling Knoydart was my first stop and what was meant to be two weeks became six. Both the holiday and moving here felt like a big adventure, everyone kept commenting on how brave I was moving here on my own, but like all big adventures there was a large element of running away.
Ultimately the place has challenged me to face many of the things I was running from, not all, but many. Issues I might never have resolved had I stayed. It has been an incredible. I’ve had experiences I would never have had in London and made a connection to the place and the people here that I will have for life. I’ve spent a lot of time walking in the mountains and swimming in the sea and rivers, dancing, laughing and learning some basic lessons in life. I live on a beach and as I write now I am looking at the view you see in the film.
But, since being here I’ve come to value some of the things I left behind quite profoundly particularly friendships, and there are people I need to apologise to. I don’t think I realised at the time that I was important to anyone and that can make you behave quite selfishly.
People always ask me why and how I came to live here and I understand why. They sense that there is a story, the problem is that it is not one that is fully resolved. Many people share the fantasy of moving somewhere beautiful away from the pressures of modern life and there is nothing wrong with doing this. There are just different pressures living in a small close knit community being constantly faced with the one thing you haven’t left behind, which is you.
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