Photography workshops, seminars and summits are having a moment as everyone clambers to discover The Secret To Being Their Most Creative Self. After attending a few (overpriced) duds early in my career, you’d need to have something extraordinary going on at your workshop to entice me there. I’m talking free hugs from Leonardo DiCaprio levels of extraordinary. Let’s be honest folks - your success or failure at being creative and seeing things in a unique way can only come from one place. And that’s from within you.
Nope. You don’t need to pay £2k and travel to a remote mountain in the Alps via donkey to listen to some bearded 20-year-old tell you how to expose for sunset or write poetic words to match your sneak peeks or style everything with wild flowers and chalk boards for maximum respect in the Artistic Community. I’ll never be respected in the Artistic Community and for that I’ll be forever thankful. Not being revered by those who think they’ve nailed creativity allows me to listen to my own voice, see my own truth and make my own rules.
Everything you need to learn can be found on the internet. For free.
That was the long (and admittedly somewhat surprising as I didn’t really know I felt that strongly about workshops!) way of saying, last week Lindsay and I went to Portugal on a workshop we made up by ourselves, for free. We called it The Mentorship because we are fools like that. On Thursday we were sitting chatting about how we are halfway through the year now, things have been hectic at home and at RAD HQ and we still had a fully booked last two days of PopUp to shoot. Then and there we decided to go to a hotel for a couple of nights, quiet our minds, talk about creative things or happy things or learning things and see if any of it could be applied to the RinkaDink customer experience to make it better. Or even just our own lives because, you know, it’s always nice to find new ways to be.
Turns out - three nights in Portugal is cheaper than two nights in a hotel in Northern Ireland. And Portugal has sunshine. And great seafood. I already knew the hotel we would go to had a good strong wifi connection and an excellent breakfast buffet (two essentials when traveling with Lindsay). We booked it then and there for Sunday to Wednesday and we began queuing some of the Ted Talks we’ve never had time to watch, Creative Live interviews, Tim Ferriss Podcasts and more. The overall theme had to be of happiness, gratitude or ‘flow’ to make the cut.
We would get up early in the morning and watch interviews or Ted Talks and line up Podcasts in the afternoon to listen to on the beach. Over lunch, pre-dinner drinks and dinner we talked about everything we had read or watched or listened to that day. We made notes and recommendations to each other. We came up with new ideas, new ways of seeing things. Some of our favourite teachers included Simon Sinek, Blake Mycoskie, Brene Brown, Gary V, Vince Vaughn, Debbie Millman, Steven Kotler, Jason Silva and Yossi Ghinsberg. These people gave us many laughs, WOW moments, notes upon notes UPON notes and so much inspiration. For free.
We are home feeling recharged, relit and fired up for the next 6 months of 2017. There are many many changes coming to RinkaDink, from small processes to studio makeovers, we have lots of ideas on how we can make the RinkaDink experience even RADDER!
Here’s a few Portugal takeaways from each of us:
- RAD is better and more exciting when J & I are in sync (this means we need to come back to Portugal ALOT lol!)
- Positivity is THE most important thing. Always making an effort to see the good. Reinforce the good. Focus on the good.
- The importance of being true to your brand. Just be YOU! Everyone else is already taken ;)
- Janine can sunbathe like no one else in the world. I kid you not - I have never seen anything like it. It is an actual phenomenon.
- We gotta support our little RAD community. We are like a small gang & we gotta have each others backs.
- Don’t stare at people who look like Paul Hollywood! Their wives *WILL NOT LIKE IT* and will give you ‘fight club’ eyes.
- Stopping and being still - just as important as the hustle.
- How f*&king lucky are we? Seriously beyond grateful that we get to take such an incredibly awesome trip that actually helps us make RAD even better.
- Cheetos in a glass are classier than from the bag.
- Stop taking everything so bloody seriously. It’s not that serious.
- Janine suffers from *sunbed anxiety* this is a real condition that needs more awareness. She will literally have mini panic attacks from the moment she wakes - until that perfect unicorn sun spot has been reserved. She can’t even enjoy her morning coffee pre-sunbed-reservation. It’s a genuine affliction.
- There’s no goddam reason on this earth that a woman shouldn’t leave her kids with her husband for three days to reconnect with her spirit.
- Lindsay loves pre-dinner cheetos. Lindsay is also deeply ashamed of her dirty cheeto habit. HOWEVER, if you put the cheetos in a small yet fancy glass and call them amuse-bouche she will enjoy with abandon.
- There is no sound like the sound of the sea.
- Injecting joy and gratitude into yourself automatically injects it into everything else you touch or do. Sprinkling the world with joyful energy is the most creative and rewarding thing you can do with your life.
- If you wee wee yourself whilst lost in the jungle, no good will come of it.
- You want to make your work better? Go away. Connect with yourself. Make notes. Visualise. Listen to inspiring people who aren’t working in the same field as you. Nuggets of gold out there.
- If you are wearing a playsuit and you need to go to the toilet in a public place, like a restaurant, for example, always make sure the door is locked.
- My future reads list is now longer than the hours I have left in my life, if I am lucky to live to old age.
- Never, ever be Cereal Girl (you’ll have to watch a Simon Sinek lecture for that one!)
- I'm going to have more coffees and more gins with more people...adventures with people - text me if you are in!
And so that was our first ever international RadRetreat. So successful that it will be repeated at least twice a year. We will miss our holiday family - those people who were part of our Portugal story but never knew it. Angry Yet Loveable Barman, BumBag (our beach attendant), Lindsay’s Spirit Animal Future Kid (a tiny girl who looked exactly like Lindsay and amused us every morning at breakfast by ignoring the world and ravenously chowing down everything in sight), Magda (a fierce old lady with a penchant for eye boggling mesh swimwear) and Fake Johnny Depp with his Bare Tits Half His Age Girlfriend dry humping their way up and down the beach.