I had the pleasure of being invited to speak at the cloud 9 conference in Leitrim Ireland in September and Ruth was one of the amazing people I had the opportunity of meeting during this conference. Although we did not have a lot of chances to get to know each other during the busy three days that I stayed in Leitrim I added her to social media and began following her adventures through her blog. Ruth doesn’t just write another travel blog, she is interested in people and personal stories and her focus is on refugees. Ruth is very modest, humbling mentioning that she started the blog as a personal challenge to write more and does not really have anything of interest to write about. Turns out she was completely wrong. Her blog is actually extremely interesting and useful. Her blog absolutely needs a larger audience and I hope her interview inspires you to start something you’ve been thinking about for a while.
Tell Us A Little Bit About Yourself And What You Do?
I’m a 30-something newbie blogger from Ireland. I was a bit late to the blogging party because I spent a long time chasing a career in the Film Industry that ultimately made me very unhappy. So I’ve stepped away from all of that to recharge and spend some time doing things I care about. I’m currently in Greece as I’ve been travelling through Europe for the past three months, volunteering with refugees. I’m an aspiring writer and have recently finished a book. I’m doing some research as I travel because I have plans for a second.
Why did you choose to start Rambling Ruth?
I’ve always loved writing and spent my childhood writing stories. I had neglected it for so long because I never had enough time. I was working in London and living a hectic lifestyle and I was trying to finish a book I’d been writing for years. I wasn’t getting very far. After I left London and moved back to Ireland, I started Rambling Ruth as a way of getting myself back into the habit of writing regularly and I suppose to get a lot off my chest too. My brother is a blogger and he really encouraged me and help me to get started.
What inspires you?
Fortresses! And lots of other random things, but since I’ve been travelling through the Balkans, I have been especially drawn to spending time at the amazing fortresses dotted throughout the region. Sometimes I bring a book to sit and read on the battlements. Sometimes I bring a notebook and I get pretty buzzed and write for hours.
What is your personal mantra or mission statement?
“Love many, trust few and always paddle your own canoe” – My mother always told me that and I think she got it from her mother. We’re pretty independent women in our family.
What does happiness mean to you?
Good question, I think it’s all about freedom. Having the right to make my own choices and being free to speak my mind is very important to me. I’m learning a lot about personal freedoms since I’ve been working with refugees and really learning to appreciate the liberties I have that I often take for granted.
What are your hobbies?
I love to read and I’m a huge film fan. I also really love taking photographs and have recently found myself going to great lengths to get a nice picture. I’ve climbed mountains and hiked through canyons – things that my London self would not have done in a million years. I’ve also started an Instagram account a few months ago and I think it’s my favourite hobby recently. I like looking at amazing pictures and they are my number one source of travel inspiration.
What are a few things you do every single day to keep yourself on track?
I am the worst person in the world for self discipline. There are very few things I do every day aside from breathing, eating and sleeping. I am trying very hard at the moment to write every day and to do some physical activity. But I allow myself a day off from each of those every now and then because sometimes having a lazy day is just as important as being productive. I do make sure to leave the house, or hostel, or wherever I happen to be, even on the worst of days. Getting outdoors is good for the soul.
If you could give advice to someone looking to get into your field what would it be and why?
I’m not even sure what my field is any more, but my advice for anyone trying to get into any field is to look after yourself and value your well-being. It’s very easy to let career and money and lifestyle cloud what’s really important. You won’t survive very long like that without some self care.
What has been your most rewarding experience so far? Work or personal
I used to teach young people how to make films. It was a little business I had in Ireland a few years ago and it was such a fun environment. Every group I worked with was different, but there were moments when I was blown away by the creativity and the joy of some of the kids. I don’t think I’ve ever known another work environment to have so much laughter. We also won a lot of awards for the films that we made, which was an added bonus. We had a contract with Ireland’s Health Service Executive to provide filmmaking courses for kids on the autism spectrum and they were possibly my favourite courses because the kids came with no expectations. They just did their thing and we all got on with the fun.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your life thus far? What did you learn? Are you thankful for what it taught you?
The biggest challenge was leaving a job that, on paper, appeared to be a career highlight but in reality was a cut-throat environment where I was badly mistreated and I was miserable. It changed me into a person I hardly recognised and I didn’t like what I saw. I spent a long time arguing with myself over leaving. I drafted my letter of resignation many times over the space of a year. In the end, though, I realised that I had to get out. I couldn’t justify staying because that’s what I was ‘supposed’ to do. I learned that there’s more to life than a career and a salary and that you don’t ever have to feel trapped. There are so many other choices, they can just be hard to see when you’re so consumed by your environment. I’m so glad now that I left and I’ll never allow myself to get into a situation like that again.
Who is your role model/who has been the most influential person in your life?
In all sorts of different ways, each member of my family has been very influencial in my life and recently, my brother has been a great support to me. He was once in a similar headspace and he did something about it by making a lot of changes in his life, so he’s imparted a few nuggets of wisdom. Most importantly, he taught me that there’s always another path.
When do you feel most inspired?
Usually at 2am when there’s no pen and paper around!