As human beings in a world saturated with messages - outdoor advertising, newspapers, Twitter (and the rest) - we go about our daily lives with a filter in place to block what isn't relevant to us. If we didn't, we'd go mad (more on that later...)
You may or may not know that, as of the end of this month, I will be on sabbatical. Yep, I'm taking a career break. And just for the record, it's not because I hate my workplace, my job, my colleagues, or my clients. It's because, as this classic Instagram #inspiration quote states, it's only when we stop rushing through life that we realise how much more time we have for it.
If you read my last post - We're so connected. Or are we? (also on Huffington Post) - you'll probably understand what I mean. The modern, digital world is very fast paced, particularly in London. There are so many channels of communication open now, and smart technology in all our hands, that we have precious few excuses for not being contactable at every hour of the day. The Head of US Equity Research at Morgan Stanley recently deemed that an Out of Office reply claiming 'limited access to email' was unacceptable and that there was virtually nowhere left on earth unreachable by email.
You know what? That's why I'm going on sabbatical. That attitude, right there.
Now getting to the point of this blog post... The 'relevance filter'. Well, as soon as I made the decision to take a break, all sorts of offers started to come my way. Interesting people crawled out of the woodwork and I made brand new friends who, funnily enough, were going through something very similar themselves.
One of these people was Cat. Cat left her job in April this year and decided that she was going to devote her creative energies to setting up her own baking business: Cat Food Cakes ("cakes by Cat, not for cats"...) We met at my local artisan food market, Giffin Square Food Fair, which I'd popped along to so I could say 'hi' to my friends In A Pikkle (and buy copious amounts of Bajan fare to sort me out for the week). Cat was taking a stall there for the first time and, as I'd rediscovered my own love of baking - I'm a cookie and soda bread specialist. YES that's a thing - we got to chatting.
Now, the likelihood of me stopping to chat if I wasn't devoting time once more to The Feral Baker, as a result of taking a step back from work, is slim. I was with a friend and I wasn't in the market for any brownies or cupcakes, which is what she had on offer. With the relevance filter up, I probably would have bypassed her stall completely. But suddenly, what she was doing was of interest to me. And as a result, exactly one month later, I am sharing her stall at three Christmas food fairs. Find us at Giffin Square Food Fair this Saturday 11-4, Pexmas the following Saturday 11-7 and Bite Street Food Market in Poplar on 19th Dec 11-7.
And it's not just Cat. An eco-champion artist that I met at Secret Garden Party, a charity for which my Dad is Treasurer and a friend who freelances from the Swiss Alpes have all approached me with opportunities. Of course, now I plan to ship out to Madeira in January, followed by India and Thailand a little later in the year, so I can't really commit... And thus, the relevance filter returns.
Yes, Feral Beryl Travels once more! Keep your eyes peeled for all the adventures, shenanigans and bushy tailed frolicking.