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Emma Lawton and the F--k It List

...and how I ended up as part of it

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Throughout 2019, Emma Lawton was working on her F--k It List – 365 days of new experiences with other people. A positively-framed alternative to the traditional bucket list ("Why reserve bucket lists for when you know you are dying?"), Emma's activities have included everything from staying in a Hobbit House to soap making. I'd heard about her project several times through the year, including when she ran a create-your-own F--K It list session at the Love Her Wild weekend. But at Camp Yestival, I made it onto the list and received a coveted yellow arrow. It was a highlight of my year.

Emma talking at Camp Yestival about her F--k It list

Talking at Camp Yestival

Way back in July, I attended Camp Yestival. I was invited by a friend, Dave Cornthwaite, who I met in 2016 when I joined him and a group of strangers on a canoeing trip down the Mississippi river. He founded the YesTribe – a community which encourages people to say 'Yes' to all the things that they want to do and achieve. This can be anything, big or small, but often includes an outdoor or adventure element. Dave asked me if I'd like to talk / run a workshop during the weekend, after seeing me on a panel in January. I was a bit nervous, as I've been so inspired by Yestival speakers in the past it seemed like a very high bar. I'd also recognised that I'd lost some confidence in myself over the preceding months, but Dave was supportive and encouraging, and I'm not really one to shy away from a challenge. I often perform best when out of my comfort zone.

Every year since 2015, 'Yestival' has been held in October, so 2019 was a break in tradition. The summer event was a revelation for those of us who had been used to either freezing or soaking conditions (the notorious Storm Brian year led to many of us going barefoot to save our socks). The number of attendees was also limited to just 150, rather than the usual 500. Mother nature (and a dash of climate change?) provided us with absolutely stunning sunshine.

Beautiful days turned into stunning sunsets

My talk slot was on Saturday morning – I nervously did my pitch beforehand. At Yestival, attendees don't choose who they want to see talk in advance. Instead speakers pitch their talk alongside the others talking at the same time. You then walk to your talk location and pray that some people head in the same direction.

My subject: "How adventurers can change the world" was based in the main tent. I designed it as part talk, mostly workshop. The session saw me lead the group in working out what their priorities were (remember: you don't have to do everything – what are you particularly passionate about?), and focusing on applying their own skills and adventure ideas to create change. I got my buzz by walking around and hearing what everyone was passionate about – such amazing positive energy in the tent. If everyone in that space took active steps to create change, how much good could we create?!

Running my workshop at Camp Yestival
Photo credit: Paws for Photos

One of my favourite things about Yestival is that the speakers stay for the rest of the weekend, too. This is how Emma ended up coming to my session on Saturday morning. Later on, she approached me and told me that she'd decided that my workshop was going to be her F--k It list experience for the day because it had helped her work through where she could use her skills to create change. I don't have words to explain a) how unexpected this was and b) how honoured I felt to have been able to help someone I respect greatly. This was the whole point of putting myself out there – to help others who wanted to create positive change.

Proudly sporting my F*ck It List Arrow!

This is also a great opportunity to thank the other people who approached me during the rest of the weekend to give me feedback on the session (THANK YOU). I left Camp Yestival both humbled and on a high. The rest of 2019 was challenging for me, but I keep referring back to this session as an example of what I can personally do moving forward to help others create positive change.

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