About Eat Sleep Wild
A little background…
I (Monica) have been an outdoorsy tomboy all of my life, as well as a massive foodie. Over the last 10+ years I’ve discovered a major sense of belonging in outdoor wild places, while also honing a knack for making badass backpacking food. I started the Eat Sleep Wild website in 2019 as a place to write about my miriad adventures hiking and wild camping across the UK. During COVID I started selling some of my dehydrated trail meals via a shopify website. Though the dream has always been to open up my own “wild” venue where I could host wild camps and outdoor cooking events for other people looking for a closer connection with nature. Along the way I got my Mountain Leader award and started thinking about how to take the next step.
Then, in January 2022, I met Mark in Scotland. He had the same ideas! About a bazillion things happened between that day and May 2022 – I first wrote it about it on Substack in June which I’ve pasted below for your reading pleasure. The party line is: in May 2022 we together moved to the west coast of Scotland to make the dream a reality! We now live in a remote cottage near Inveraray in Argyll and Bute with our dog Lucky and together are working on making Eat Sleep Wild more than just a website but a whole experience!
Here’s a few things we’ve got up our sleeve… and if you feel like following along, sign up to our Substack newsletter to keep up with all the updates as they happen.
6 June 2022: Something mega happened!
This was originally published in my Substack newsletter but am posting it here because it’s too good to not share!
I’ve been a bit quiet lately. And for good reason.
I’ve previously written about my last days in Wiltshire and Eat Sleep Wild’s new HQ in Scotland. But I haven’t really explained how all this came to be. I’m not sure why I’ve side-stepped the story so far, because it’s absolutely epic! But it’s also a big change and I’ve never been one to be very vocal about my personal life. But as I’m sure you’re aware, life isn’t all hiking, camping, and cooking – even though it may sometimes look that way on social media! This time, however, the stuff that’s happened behind the scenes has had a direct impact on the future of Eat Sleep Wild, and if I don’t mention it, what happens next might not make a lot of sense!
This is perhaps best expressed in timeline form, so here goes…
- Last January I went to Scotland, a bit of an increasingly frequent tradition to visit friends at Pinewood Steading, get lost in nature, and get inspired. I’d been in a rut for a while, ready for a change, but lacking the chutzpah to do anything about it! Still, I persisted! Scotland has always been inspiring, and even from Wiltshire there was always something up north that was tugging at me. But what was it?
- Then in late January my friends invited me to a Burns Night supper at their neighbour’s house – a rural croft and a house they built themselves. From my perspective, living the dream! “This is the kind of thing I want to be doing,” was my first thought when I walked in the door. That’s when I met Mark. There was an instant familiarity with him (impressive as he was vacuuming at the time) augmented by his possession of an impressive Meade reflector telescope and Lia Leendertz’s 2022 Seasonal Almanac which I also had in my possession.
- The Burns Night Party was awesome – I found my inner extrovert! Mark and I talked about a bazillion things. Mark said he wanted to put in tee-pees and fire pits at the bottom of the croft with an observatory. And I was like, “hang on, I need to tell you about my campsite dream!” We had the same ideas! Almost identical – it was uncanny!
- In mid-February I had to go back to Wales to train for my Mountain Leader award. But the day before I left, I went to Mark’s birthday party. We talked. It got later and later. Everyone left. Then it was just the two of us – we stayed up until after 6am!
- It was an interesting drive back to Wiltshire. I should have been exhausted. But I was buzzing. Mark and I kept in touch. It turned out we had the same ideas about pretty much everything!
- Back in Wales in early March, I was living #vanlife mode while training up for the ML. Mark and I had the opportunity to visit for a few days in Bath. More talking ensued, and it was obvious we didn’t just share the same ideas – we were madly in love with each other!
- In late March, I passed my Mountain Leader Award!
- Mark and I decided we needed to be together. This required sorting out a whole bunch of life stuff – and also finding a place to live! The only rental property we could find in a rural location happened to be this most idyllic spot in Glen Shira near Inveraray. I’d never been to this part of Scotland, but we’ve struck gold!
- On May 11th, we moved in, and life has only gotten better and better. Finally we have the space and time to explore and progress all of our ideas – there are soooo many ideas on the table!
Mark is going to join me in helping take Eat Sleep Wild to the next level. We’ve bought a bell tent and are planning to begin hosting Airbnb style overnights with optional mountain guiding and gourmet feasts. We’ll also be producing more premium content – we’ve got a stockpile now of printable route cards and recipes for both on the trail and at basecamp. I’ll be releasing these in the coming weeks via substack. The website is going to become less of a blog and more about great content and advertising our experiences. The Substack newsletter will become a more personal tale of our journey, alongside the aforementioned premium content that we will eventually charge a small fee for but for the moment I’ll keep it all free as we build momentum. (Though feel free to show your support by signing up as a paid subscriber now!)
So that’s the story so far in a nutshell. My 2022 summarised into 10 easy steps! We’re both super excited. The future looks bright and I’m over the moon to have Mark here sharing it with me.