Time to myself
It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post. Not because I ran out of illustration topics to talk about, there are plenty! I took a break because I needed some time to think about what I need.
In 2010 I switched from being a graphic designer to being an illustrator. It was a great leap to be honest because my freelance career as a designer was going really well. Stepping into the world of illustration was unknown territory to me. I hadn’t studied illustration in art school, I knew nothing about this world.
Not making illustrations is denying who I am.
It’s been eight years since I started professionally in illustration and although I love it with all my heart, it’s incredibly hard work. I’ve had many jobs (including life guard, art director, photographer and grave digger) but I can honestly say this is the toughest job I ever had. I have never worked so many hours and put in so much love. It’s like I give away my heart every time. I do it out of sheer passion and the urge to create stories. For me, there isn’t an other reason: this is why I’m here.
“I wish I enjoyed it more.”
So much has happened in my years of being an illustrator. I can hardly understand what has happened in those past years. I was so busy working I didn’t hold still for a moment and look at where I’m at. And I regret that a little bit.
Neil Gaiman said: “There wasn’t a moment for the next fourteen or fifteen years that I wasn’t writing something in my head, or wondering about it. And I didn’t stop and look around and go, this is really fun. I wish I’d enjoyed it more. It’s been an amazing ride. But there were parts of the ride I missed, because I was too worried about things going wrong, about what came next, to enjoy the bit I was on.”
Even though I have listened to his commencement speech a dozen times, I still forgot to enjoy the ride.
It’s time to hold still. Look back at what I did and enjoy the ride.
I read many, many books in the hopes to find an answer. I took social media breaks. I took days off from work. Talked to friends. It didn’t clear up everything but it did give me perspective. I’ve taken on some really nice assignments for clients that give me energy and make me happy. Choosing quality over quantity!
Taking time to gather my thoughts
And then, a few months ago, I granted myself one of my biggest wishes: renting a little cottage in de Peak District in the UK for a few weeks. If you follow me or my blogs for a while you know I love the UK. I’m slightly obsessed. I love the landscape, the language, the people (maybe not all), the way of living in the countryside…
I’m going to be all alone for three whole weeks and I am looking forward to it. In two weeks I will be in that little cottage near the lake, with just some basic tools.
I hope I get bored out of my mind so I will be confronted with my own thoughts.
I hope to relax, take hikes, enjoy the nature.
I hope to get back to me. Understand my own dreams and wishes a bit more.
I hope to follow my gut feeling more after this trip but at the same time I don’t want to put too much pressure on it.
Allowing myself to have three weeks to take every day as it comes without a plan sounds like the best plan.
I will update you on my trip through Instagram, so if you don’t follow me there but are curious what I’m doing there, please give me a follow!
I will write about everything I have discovered and saw when I get back of course 🙂
Have you ever done something like this? Or would you like to do something like this? I would love to hear your thoughts!
Photos by Hanke Arkenbout
All text and images © Marloes De Vries
Ahhh the dream… I often feel like this. I’ve taken a few trips away by myself before I had a baby and found them so helpful and refreshing. I find it harder to do now. I try to take days here and there, but it’s not the same, although I have gotten a lot better at enjoying little mini breaks every day — like taking a moment on the bus to really sit and watch the world, instead of looking at my phone. Grabbing a cup of tea and sit for 15 minutes in the morning before the craziness starts. That helps.
Enjoy, Marloes. Your journey has been incredibly inspiring to me, and I can’t wait to see where you take it next.
That is such a heartfelt comment, A-D! Thank you!
I’ve been talking with people about mindfulness and I never really thought about it because I basically ‘grew up’ with mindfulness and took it for granted. But now I think it is something that suits me well.
I don’t take my phone with me when I go to the grocery store, to an appointment (when I’m sure I know the way and don’t have to make calls I’m going to be late), I take bike rides without my phone. Just so I know I take it all in.
In the train I take a book in case I get bored, but staring out of the window is always the most interesting thing to me.
Just taking everything down a notch is really nice 🙂
Hope you can take mini-breaks and gather your thoughts, an reload the battery! x
This is such a wonderful idea! For a few years I have known that I’d love to do this in the future. Hope you get to relax and sort out your thoughts
Thank you Radvilé!
You are doing exactly what I will want be doing at some point in the future. I applaud you. Fellow anglophile here.
It has been on my wish list since I was young! I can hardly believe I’m actually doing it now. Hope you get to do it too!
Nice post! I would love doing the same: an escape to the UK it Irish country side. Have nice moments there!
I am in the planning stages for something similar. I am researching sabbaticals and how to best get back to my basics in life and figure out what I want to do with the rest of life. I will be taking three months away from my day job and travelling to the UK too 🙂 I wish you all the best for your break. I hope it gives you everything you need.
If you are so inclined this book helped immensely: Reboot your Life – Energise your life and Career by taking a break … by Catherine Allen (and others)
Sounds exciting! I would really love to go longer but financially that would be a problem for me. Thanks for the book recs, I love that!
I did this once, and I loved it! I am a natural loner. When I was planning the trip I wasn’t sure whether to book a week or ten days. My mum suggested that a week would be more than enough time – that I would probably start to feel a little lonely after a week by myself. As it turned out, I had such a great time that I wished I had booked ten days! I was really sad when the week ended. I hope you have a really lovely trip… I stayed with some friends in the peak district last year and I loved it! Can’t wait to see how you find it and see if you draw any comics about it! 🙂
Oh also – I feel the same was about your country as you do about the UK – I love it there!
That sounds really good Kat! I have been to Manchester many times but never made the trip to the Peak District. I am pretty sure it will be amazing there, I have a friend living there too. I’ll probably be renting a car, driving a bit to see even more.
That’s wonderful to hear, you like my country! If you ever come here, in the Rotterdam area, please let me know. Maybe we can meet! We’ve known each other so long from online, would be great to meet you in real life.
I love your honesty and your work
Thank you Monica!
I love the post and the idea of taking a break, I’m now leaving in UK and planing a short five day break in the end of this month in Italy, just because I wanted to be sure that I would have sun during this break, after this long winter. I truly believe that it will be amazing, and that is the absolutely necessary for artists or creative people, is creating a white space in our mind to refresh our ideas. I hope you enjoy your time there and I’ll definitely will follow on Instagram 😀 I love this book: Creative Idleness By Domenic De Masi
Oh, I love Italy! I haven’t been there in years. I think it’s underestimated how much good a break can do. We tend to work-work-work without reflecting and resting.
Thanks for the tip!
Have a lovely break!