One of the biggest tests of my life is almost over but was it worth it?

in job •  22 days ago 


I moved to Yorkshire in April to put my drone based time-lapse skills to the test with the construction of the UK's most advanced solar farm. They told me it would take 3 or 4 months but when combined with the month it took me to become a legal drone operator and various delays to the construction I have been here over half a year now and in all this time have only been able to go home once to my family in the South of France.

No such thing as weekends around here. Only deadlines & bad weather.

The biggest test of all

Shortly after arriving in the UK one of my oldest and dearest friends suddenly died of cancer, just a few days after being diagnosed.


This man was more of a father to me in many ways than the person I used to call dad. So it was a mega shock to my system and I didn't feel like doing the job any more. I almost turned around and went home.

But the most effective way to NOT deal with grief is to keep busy! So I chose to stay in the UK and push forward as planned with the job.

Even taking it one step further.


I have found many beautiful reasons since writing this post-it note, but I must still grieve for him properly once the madness of this job is behind me.

The Solstice funeral weekend

Had I not been alone in the UK at this time, I wouldn't have followed the flow from JP's funeral to a near-by Summer Solstice party on Whitstable beach where I was reminded of the love I have for so many of my old friends and for the simple adventure of the open road.

I danced high as a kite on this beach until sunrise the following day. And the pain of his death was temporarily released.

I felt hope again and returned to my job with a powerful energy.


There was only one house offering a room for rent which was within walking distance of my solar site.

This house turned out to be more of a test than the impossible sounding goal "to make a construction time-lapse film unlike anything the world has ever seen".

Here it is at sunset.
gary home.jpg

Looks lovely I know, but there was something wrong here, like a constant heavy energy hanging over it. I tried smudging the place with sage but this only worked temporarily.

I made it my own, but it still felt like a prison.


Isolated & silent

There are more rules in this house than I care to mention and everyone lives behind closed doors, minimum communication mandatory. My experience here has been reminiscent of my days at boarding school. Not a very happy time in my life.

I am far from civilisation and without a car or direct bus route to get me to town I have been completely isolated.

It's funny. In France I sometimes felt isolated because no one speaks English in our village and I would fantasise about how fun it was going to be here in England. But now that I'm here, I still have the same problem!

No one to talk to.

Except the cleaner who comes on Fridays.

The film

For the most part I am happy with the film I have produced. The impossible sounding goal has been achieved & all the right people are clapping their hands.

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However, while the site may appear complete from the air, the truth is that it is not yet active and I cannot go home till I get my money shot, showing the panels moving in sync with the sun over the course of a day. This is what makes the site unlike any other in the UK.

The shitty weather conditions however have made it very hard for engineers to finish up.


So I must remain. Despite the rain, the cold and the short dark days. Sunset is at 4.30pm now which seems to make a big difference to the amount of daylight I am getting into my body.

Was not fully conscious of how much I am motivated by sunlight and depressed by darkness till now. It doesn't feel this intense back home in the Pyrenees Mountains.

Stuck in limbo

Annoyingly my contract does not clearly state what I should be paid in this situation and I am struggling to get a figure out the company. So, not knowing if I am being paid for this period has dampened my spirits and without the bottle of wine by my side in this moment I would likely not be writing this post!

Ironically I now have all the time in the world to do anything I choose, but my enthusiasm seems to have drained away completely and I am struggling to find comfort in the things which once brought me pleasure.

In the arms of my family these feelings will of course melt away.

What is the real price which has been paid?

My father never lived in the same country as me and I vowed to never be like him in this respect, yet here i am, little more than a memory to my children today.

Sabrina has lost weight and seems drained after six months without my help. She needs me back now. I feel this strongly.

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Communication barrier

I have been away so long Esteban & Luna don't want to speak English any more. They are French children now.

This wouldn't be a problem if my own understanding of the language was better but now I must look to Sabrina for the translation. Which is a difficult feeling for me to address. I suddenly feel distanced from them.

I know in time their English will return. It's more an observation than a complaint and a heads up to the reality that communication is going to be limited for a while.

Thankfully language is unimportant when it comes to simple pleasures like playing cache-cache (hide & seek).

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What about the money?

Yep, I put money in Sabrina's bank and I put crypto in my crypto wallet. She was able to buy a much needed new family wagon and we still have a little bit spare for a holiday in Morocco.

All in all I have around $10,000 in a total of 40 different crypto investments now and if the market does what we are all dreaming of, I sincerely believe this will be enough to ensure I never need to work again.

So, financially speaking I can't complain, but energetically speaking I am drained.

And I will never do this again!

Ten more days to go. It sounds so close yet feels so far...

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What will I do when I get home?

There is nothing more important at this time in our human history than learning how to grow our own food & share important information.

As we go deeper into the Grand Solar Minimum our growing seasons are getting shorter. Crops around the world are failing and the price of food is fast increasing. The tipping point will be reached when the average person can no longer afford to eat. After which there is no telling what will happen.

So, learning the land is my priority number one now.


Beyond that we are on the look-out for a new place to live.

We have been in this village long enough.

Screen Shot 20190812 at 20.35.51.jpg

While it is very lovely, it does not tick our 'off the beaten track' box and the village is full of people who think very differently to us.

I cannot say for sure where we will end up but I can say that we are still open to all options. In recent months I have been feeling the call of Portugal. It has been noted that many of the advanced minded community leaders on Steem & Whaleshares are gravitating there. No reason why we can't gravitate there too ;)

Who is @samstonehill?

He was a London based filmmaker until he sold everything and set out on a barefoot journey around the world, currently based in the south of France.

He is travelling with his partner & two children and with no bank account he has been living on STEEM & crypto for over two years.

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Sam supports @naturalmedicine because they are seeking to help us in ways which go far beyond money. Please come and join us on Discord

All content created for this account is 100% original (unless otherwise stated), produced by @samstonehill who invites you to use & share freely as you wish.


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I hope the final 10 waiting days don't play out too heavily.

And good luck with your journey to find a new home.

I guess you have read about the Steem ecoVillage in Portugal that @eco-alex and @orlev are working on.

Michael (@orlev) came on my show on Monday to talk about the project. It is going to be very interesting to follow how that develops.

One week today my bum will be on that plane!

I can smell that mountain air already ;)

Yes, I was conscious of the eco village project but hadn't looked too much into it yet. Seems like the time to check it out is now. What a perfect twist to this story it would be if we were to end up there....

I will be following with interest to see where your journey takes you...

Having followed your adventures / life story on here, it sure feels like you've been heavily tested. Then again, life is a continuous test and it's up to us what we do with these lessons. I feel you will only grow stronger from this. Hope you can wrap things up quickly to reconcile with your family.

P.S. I have about the same amount invested in ( a couple of dozen of ) cryptocurrencies.

P.P.S. Cool to hear you mentioning Portugal. Would be nice to have some like minded people / friends around. It can be pretty lonely up here on the mountain ( ideal circumstances to write my first novel though ;>)

Um abraço amigo

You are right of course. It has made me stronger in many ways and much more appreciative of the life I have waiting for me back in France.

Excellent to know that when I hit my first million dollars from this little crypto investment, you will be in the same boat ;)

Portugal sounds good for so many reasons. I realise after all this isolation I crave community so much. I crave interesting people to communicate with. And as cool as our home village is, most people are over the age of 60 and no one speaks english! Meaning... I am still isolated.

Let's see what happens.

Big love bro :)

Really interesting, thought provoking post. We are also thinking about Portugal. We live in a beautiful part of Wales but are also craving to be around similar people to ourselves. Hoping to travel around Portugal and a few other bits of Europe next summer with the kids in a motorhome. Time to explore and see what else is out there! (or WHO else)

My mum was from Wales.. 😊
When you get to Portugal Wed love to meet up in person. Let us know when you're here, we're in Central Portugal, near the boarder with Spain.

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I love your motorhome idea. Perhaps we will do the same and see you there! A part of me doesn't want to put down roots yet, but I do want to keep practicing growing food. This is essential.

As much as I would love to just hide away in the solitude of the hills, I feel as if community is super important for our future. Together we are stronger.

So why not, let's check out Portugal!

My heart truly goes out to you..
I have a 7 month old baby, and my wife and I both couldn't agree who should go out and work, and who gets to stay home with him, of course neither one of us would back down.. So we decided the only fair thing to do is to build an self sustainable Ecovillage where we could both be around our so as he grows up. My biggest wish is for every parent who wants to spend time with their family, that they should be allowed to do so, and be forced to work just because of financial constraints... I will do my best to work to this goal. If you are interested and haven't read @eco-alex 's post, I highly recommend it.
You're more than welcome to message me for more info.
All the best and I wish you a quick and happy reunion with your family.

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Hello there brother! I love the way you are thinking & feel sure we have plenty to talk about.

This crazy impossible job was important for me not just because of the money but it was a way for me to proudly take my final bow and say goodbye to the corporate world. It has been a ten year love affair with time-lapse, culminating in this and the impossible sounding goal really has been achieved, releasing me from this industry.

I can't show you the full film for a month yet, but if you're interested, I show a sneak peak in this one.

As I said in my post, goal number one is learn how to grow food. We are beginners still. We have some land in our village which we started growing on last year, so will likely set up there for one more season with a view to finding somewhere better for the next grow season.

I will read Alex's post now. And we shall keep in touch :)

So wonderful to hear! Sorry for my presumptions, but I'm glad to hear your 'love' affair with the corporate world is ending..
I'm an aspiring filmmaker, would be unbelievable if we could someday collaborate somehow.. I intend to document the process of establishing the Ecovillage, as best I can... If you're in France that's close enough for a visit sometime.. Maybe we could collaborate on some filming project..

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Hmmmm... now that sounds like a project which I might rather enjoy!

Collaboration always the best way. This film I have just made was too much like solitude.

If an Ecovillage film could educate & inspire others... well that would truly be a worthy cause.

I look forward to continuing this conversation seriously with you. When it's time, message me so we can talk.

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Are you on Discord?

Yup. Orlev#9883

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Yup, orlev#9883

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However, while the site may appear complete from the air, the truth is that it is not yet active and I cannot go home till I get my money shot, showing the panels moving in sync with the sun over the course of a day. This is what makes the site unlike any other in the UK.

This is a major bummer. Consider writing a new post-it note asking yourself the question of what opportunities this is presenting you.

I cannot say for sure where we will end up but I can say that we are still open to all options. In recent months I have been feeling the call of Portugal. It has been noted that many of the advanced minded community leaders on Steem & Whaleshares are gravitating there. No reason why we can't gravitate there too ;)

I'm guessing you've seen the ecoVillage update regarding land in Portugal. Coincidence? LOL!

Excellent suggestion with the new post-it note to guide me! In the end I figured it out.

I was just avoiding it, coz it's a pain in the arse! The REAL money shot is the google earth perspective showing the whole site looking finished. Trouble is, it takes 1000s of pics to create this and all the panels needs to be horizontal for the best shot. Fraught with potential problems basically! Especially now the forecast predicts rain for the next five days ;)

Somehow I will get it done and it will be an awesome closing shot :)

Once I am back in France I would like to get back to the previous idea we were working on. Will just need a little break to re-charge...

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A huge hug from @amico! 🤗

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Hello @samstonehill, thank you for sharing this creative work! We just stopped by to say that you've been upvoted by the @creativecrypto magazine. The Creative Crypto is all about art on the blockchain and learning from creatives like you. Looking forward to crossing paths again soon. Steem on!

Awesome! Thank you :)